#FinancialFridays: Free Income Tax Filing Services are available to those who meet income guidelines. Learn more here.

Free Income Tax Filing Services Still Operating Under COVID-19 Conditions in Bruce and Grey Counties.

This year, under COVID-19 conditions, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is changing how it provides free services. Most local organizations in Grey Bruce will be offering drop-off/pickup, virtual or phone services. Across both counties, there are over 14 listings in 19 cities/towns that offer free tax services in 2021. The organizations and volunteers providing this service have been very creative about how to make sure these services stay available and diligently follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Alex Ruff, MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, is encouraging eligible residents of Grey and Bruce Counties to still take advantage of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. “This program is a valuable resource that helps individuals and families file their taxes to ensure they are getting the benefits and supports they qualify for, putting more money back in their pockets. Thank you to everyone who is working hard to make all the Community Volunteer Income Tax Programs possible despite the challenges the pandemic has presented.”

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is a volunteer program that offers tax preparation services to residents in Bruce and Grey Counties that meet specific income guidelines. The program is free and helps those who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

The income guidelines for the program are:
• Individual: $35,000 or less
• Married or Common law couple: $45,000 or less
• Single Parent with 1 child: $40,000 or less (Add $2,500 per additional child)
• Interest income limited to under $1,000

The government is using taxes to make sure people are receiving benefits and credits that they are eligible for; getting more money to those who need it. The best way to make sure you get the benefits you are eligible for is to file your income taxes each year. And the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is an excellent service to help you.

• Some of these benefits include the Canada Child Benefit, Trillium Benefit, GST/HST Credit, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
• Seniors living on a low income may qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS; Federal) and the Guaranteed Annual Income Systems (GAINS; Provincial).
• Entitlement to GAINS is assessed at the same time as GIS. This is not automatic; seniors have to apply to see if they are eligible. You can do this when you first apply for your Old Age Security (OAS) in Section C of the Application for the Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (ISP-3550).
• If you already receive OAS and want to apply for the GIS, you can apply on your My Service Canada Account or use the Application for the Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (ISP-3550). You need to file your taxes each year to reapply for these benefits.

There has been a lot of confusion and fear around filing taxes this year. For people who received any one of the five COVID-19 related benefits, filing your taxes is very important. It is the best way to keep receiving the benefits and credits you are entitled to. The government is going to make sure those who are eligible still get these benefits for the near future.

• If you do owe on your taxes and made less than $75,000 in 2020, the government is extending the time you have to pay to April 30th, 2022 and providing 0% interest for the first year. Completing your taxes this tax season is a good way to make sure you get benefits and credits you are eligible for and gives more flexibility and time to pay outstanding taxes.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force works with 211 each year to list all free tax services in Grey Bruce; to identify local barriers, and to engage with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), community organizations, and volunteers to address those barriers.

How to access services:
Visit Ontario.ca/TaxReturn to learn how to get Ontario tax credits and benefits.
Call 2-1-1 for help finding a free tax service close to you.

Access the Free Community Income Tax Service Listing online at:

If you need help improving your financial situation or need helpful budgeting advice, our Financial Literacy Program can help. Contact Caroline, our Program Coordinator at 519-378-4773 or email her at advice@unitedwaybg.com