- Shivam Sadana
Income Tax Clinic Brought to CBU for the First Time
The community volunteer Income Tax Program is an initiative of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that organizes tax clinics all over the country, beginning late February and ending near in April, the period of which is referred to as ‘tax season’.
Shannon Garnier, who currently hold the position of Student Placement Officer, brought together volunteers from the Bachelor of Business Administration program to facilitate a tax clinic on the CBU campus. Shannon told us about these tax clinics that are setup to help people file their income tax returns. She tells that Caper Times that “All CBU students are eligible to file their income tax return at this clinic.” The credit for hosting this program at CBU goes to the volunteers, who put in the work – on their own time – to complete the training required to become certified with the CRA.
This is a great learning experience for students, as most have never prepared income tax returns before and have the opportunity to learn by volunteering for this program. When it came to light that CBU was the only University in Nova Scotia not to have a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, they wanted to host one as soon as possible; in doing so, students would have the opportunity file income tax returns on campus for free.
At CBU, this program is a “students helping students” initiative, engineered to allow students to file their returns easily, and without paying high professional fees that some individuals or businesses may charge. The first tax clinic was setup on 8th of March and they accepted tax return forms from around 60 students.
Once the volunteers were able to gauge how much time it would take to process the documents, they decided to increase their capacity in the second week. In their second week, the tax clinic accepted about 125 forms. Garnier said, “I cannot take any credit for this as we have 12 student volunteers, and without their efforts the tax clinic would not have happened. The CBU tax clinics were sponsored in various ways by Students’ Union, Shannon School of business, CBU Students’ Affairs Office and Presidents’ Office to carry it for three Fridays on the CBU campus. I was just one of the facilitators to get things going. The volunteers spent a long time training and learning about the software of the CRA and put in a lot time and effort to make this program work.”
Any student who was in Canada during 2018 should file income tax return, regardless of whether or not they were working at the time. In the event that a student was unemployed, they would have received their T2202A receipt from the University. Students can easily get that from their CBU account under the ‘Financial’ tab, which does require a copy of their social insurance number (SIN). Students who were employed need an additional document to attach called a T4 form, which they should receive/have received from their employer. The final tax clinic on campus will be held on Friday, March 22nd.
The tax clinic at CBU plans to accept documents from as many as 140 students. Documents will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis in the CBU Cafeteria starting at 1:00pm. If you are unable to make to the last CBU clinic, there are other tax clinics setup in Cape Breton, and are all free of charge.
Other Community Income Tax Clinics in the CBRM
North Sydney Seniors Club – March 6th, March 20th, April 3rd and April 17th from 9am-11am. No appointments. First come first serve basis. If cancelled due to weather or no power, then follow the schedule and clinic will be open on the next advertised day.
Sydney Mines Seniors Club – March 13th, March 27th, April 10th and April 24th from 9am-11am. No appointments. First come first serve basis. If cancelled due to weather or no power, then follow the schedule and clinic will be open on the next advertised day.
Membertou CAP Site (Sydney Clinic) – Every Thursday from March 7th until April 25th from 9am-12pm. Two clinic dates will also be an “Enhanced” Clinic. An Enhanced Clinic is when Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada join together to provide services at one clinic location. March 7th and April 11th are the dates for this.
Whitney Pier Legion– Dates will be March 14th and 28th, and April 4th and 25th from 5- 8pm.
This will be a “Super Clinic” Location. A Super Clinic is when Canada Revenue Agency, Service Canada, and the Province of Nova Scotia join together to provide services at one clinic location. Doors at 4pm for services, but income tax preparation will begin at 5pm.
Bras d’Or & District Senior Citizens and Pensioners – Tuesdays in March and April from 9am-11am. Walk in clinic.
New Waterford Seniors and Pensioners Hall – Clinic to be held on March 15th and April 12th from 10am-2pm. Walk in clinics.
Glace Bay Seniors and Pensioners Club – Monday and Fridays 10am-2pm in March and April. No clinic on Good Friday or Easter Monday. They also will not have clinics on Friday March 15th and April 12th. On those days they are in New Waterford. Walk in clinic.
Eskasoni Economic Development Office – March 13th, April 10th and April 24th from 10am-3pm. Walk-in Clinic. This will also be an “Enhanced” Location. An Enhanced Clinic is when Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada join together to provide services at the clinic location.
Loaves & Fishes – These clinics will be on Mondays in March and April from 9am until 12pm.