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.