The Benefits to Filing Taxes on Low Incomes

When you’re struggling financially to make ends meet, filing taxes can bring in extra income.

Filing taxes can open up a lot of possibilities for financially challenged families.  Access to government benefits such as the Canada Child Tax benefit or subsidies such as the Alberta Child Care subsidy are available once you file your taxes.

It is proven that government benefits and tax credits can help boost a family’s income significantly.

The “More than Minimum” report released by the Edmonton Social Planning Council in 2015, shows the implications of enhancing employment income with government benefits. Let’s take a look at this scenario: A lone parent with one three-year old child making $19.33/hour working 35hours/week will have a total annual employment income of $30,000/year after taxes, plus $12,823/year from government transfers such as Canada Child Tax Benefit, Universal Child Care Benefit, Child Care Subsidy, GST rebate and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit.  This case shows that over 40% of this family’s income is supplemented by government benefits.

You could be eligible for free tax preparation through the Make Tax Time Pay program.

We are proud to say that Edmonton has one of the strongest Community Volunteers Income Tax Preparation (CVITP) programs in Canada.  The Make Tax Time Pay (MTTP) program, is a volunteer run initiative that operates free tax preparation sites across the City of Edmonton and Strathcona County.

This program, which has been around for more than 10 years, not only provides free income tax preparation services, but more importantly assists families and individuals living in low income to access available government benefits and subsidies.

Last year’s MTTP Campaign, from March to April, 2015, operated 22 tax clinics with over 200 volunteers who put in more than 1,000 volunteer hours.  The program filed 4,367 personal income tax returns during tax season, with 700 people applying for government benefits.  All in all, the MTTP program put over $1.7 million in tax refunds back in families’ pockets.

United Way, in its effort to help families move out of poverty, has made a three-year commitment to the Make Tax Time Pay program.

United Way donated 30 laptops and has also committed to provide $50,000 additional funding, per year, for three years.  This investment will considerably help bring financial stability to the program for the next three years and will increase the program’s capacity to extend its services to more families in need throughout the Alberta Capital Region.