The clinic run by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - typically known as ACORN - will offer free tax services again this year for low-and moderate-income individuals and recent immigrants in Ottawa starting on Feb. 20.
Financial Literacy and Justice
Tax time is here and Ottawa ACORN (Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is once again providing one of the largest free income tax preparation service in the city.
Social justice group Ottawa ACORN is gearing up to once again offer its free tax service for low income residents.
A social justice group that advocates for low income Canadians is offering one of the largest free income tax preparation services in the city.
Ottawa ACORN spokesperson Basmah Osman told CFRA they will help people receive all the benefits they can from their income taxes and connect them to benefits they may not have known about.
This is the fifth year of the program. People who make less than $30,001 per year can book an appointment between February 27th and May 11th.
Last year they helped more than 780 people file their income taxes.
Our New 2nd floor office in Metro Vancouver has been busy ever since we moved in in early February of this year. That is because, for the 5th year straight, ACORN Canada’s Free Income Tax Site has been busy doing hundreds of tax returns for members and people in our communities. So far, this year we have done more than 800 tax returns which is an increase of over 30% over our 2010 tax site.
In the 5 years ACORN Canada has done Free Income Taxes in Metro Vancouver we have returned over 6 Million Dollars in tax returns, rebates, and benefits! Add to this that we have saved people $400,000 in tax preparation costs and it is clear that ACORN Canada is a major stimulus to the neighbourhoods where we work!
But that is just the beginning. Our free income tax site gives our members a great opportunity to share their campaigns with people who come to get their taxes done. Our new campaign for Remittance Justice is becoming a very popular topic of serious discussion in the office. Many new people coming in to get their taxes done feel the pain of the exorbitant costs of sending money transfers back to their families and friends. And better still, they are getting involved with ACORN Canada’s campaign for regulatory changes to the Money Transfer Industry.
Regulations that will hold banks and companies like Western Union to account for the predatory business practices here in BC.
We like doing your taxes and if you know anyone who has a simple tax return in need of filing just call 604 5221
Low-income families throughout Ottawa won't have to worry about losing a portion of their tax return to processing fees this tax season.
The Ottawa chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now [Canada] (ACORN Canada) is providing free tax return service for the less privileged in the community.
The program is made possible through the efforts of volunteers like Keisha Lim, a fourth-year economics student at the University of Ottawa who is also serving as the tax clinic coordinator.
"On average, we save people around $80 by doing their taxes here," said Lim. "This is the third year that ACORN has been running the tax service. We have done 1,266 tax returns the last two years, and 244 for back taxes. We've put back $1.6 million into the neighbourhood through those savings."
This is the third year the program has been serving the community, and has done roughly 600 returns per year.
"We're here to help people," said Lim. "Instead of putting money in the pockets of corporations, we're letting people keep that money themselves."
The program has helped people from all over the Ottawa area, from places as far away as North Grenville, Kanata, and Orleans.
ACORN [Canada] and other antipoverty organizations offer those in need affordable tax-filing alternatives to paying hefty fees for instant cash refunds, Don Butler writes.
Last year, Wayne Mahoney paid a company $130 to prepare his income-tax return and issue him an instant tax refund. The fee was painful, but he urgently needed the money to pay some bills. "It's a big hole in my pocket," says Mahoney, 55, who lives with his wife in subsidized housing in Ottawa's west end on a $1,500-a-month disability pension. "I basically came out on the short end of the stick." Mahoney needs help with his taxes because, he admits, "I don't understand the tax system. And if you can't understand the tax system, you can't win."
This year, though, he's getting his tax return done at no charge by volunteers at Ottawa ACORN, the local chapter of a national anti-poverty organization. It's the third year that Ottawa ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has offered the free tax-preparation service. In the past two years, it has filed 1,266 tax returns for low-and moderate-income Ottawans.
A bicycle, new clothes, a trip to the museum -- these are some of the things Andrea Thomas can buy for her children with her income tax refund.
And thanks to a free clinic for low-income earners, the Ottawa mother of three gets to keep even more of her cash.
For a second year, the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is offering to complete and file basic income tax claims for free.
Organizers say the service helps give people autonomy over their financial affairs and lets them contribute to society, but saves them the costly fees storefront tax-filing services levy. The going rate for such a service is around $80.
The clinic also ensures people get all the benefits they deserve, from GST rebates to credits for taking the bus and paying rent.
Last year, ACORN helped more than 600 people file their income taxes.
"It's a great program because it caters to all walks of life," said Matthew Bullock, the tax clinic co-ordinator.
Households earning less than $30,000 per year -- be they recent immigrants, seniors, students, single-parent families or people on income assistance and disability -- are the priority, he added.
In terms of filing your taxes, that is.
For the second year in a row, the Vanier-based activist group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) will be hosting a free tax clinic through the tax season. The office fully opened up at ACORN HQ at 81 Montréal Road, Unit F, on Tuesday, March 2, and runs until Saturday, May 15. Tax filing day is Friday, April 30.
While Acorn offered a satellite tax filing office in Hintonburg in the west end last year, the operations have been centralized in Vanier for this year.
"It's better to have it concentrated in one location. All of our information is here," said Centretown resident Matthew Bullock is the group's tax site coordinator, during the media launch for the program on the morning of Friday, February 19.
ACORN Canada is launching a major drive next month to reduce poverty and build community wealth in low income neighbourhoods across Toronto, Ottawa and Metro Vancouver.
This project is focused around using free tax preparation to ensure that low and moderate income Canadians receive all the benefits that exist in the tax system as well as connect them to other unrealized benefits and services.
This has the outcome of reducing poverty, improving participation in available services and has an economic multiplier effect that creates jobs and stimulates local economies.
Last year this project prepared taxes for over 1000 people in Toronto in Metro Vancouver connecting low income families to over $2,000,000.00 in tax returns.