Islanders encouraged to consider the Volunteer Income Tax Program

Colin MacLean
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Free service for low-income families helps thousands every year

SUMMERSIDE – Whether they realize it or not, Prince County residents have free help available to them during tax season.

Tracey Callbeck, left, P.E.I. co-ordinator for the Community Income Tax Volunteer Program and Ashley Clarke, regional outreach partnership officer for the Canada Revenue Agency recently sat down to talk taxes. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

The Community Income Tax Volunteer Program has been operating on P.E.I. for 40 years and has helped tens of thousands of Islanders.

Its goal is to pair up trained volunteers up with clients who need a bit of help to file their returns.

Tracey Callbeck is the program co-ordinator for P.E.I. and this tax season she’s trying to spread the word about its existence in the hope of helping as many as people as possible.

This is her first year organizing the program on the Island and she’s been overwhelmed by how well it’s been run.

“It’s been such a great program on P.E.I. over the years that there is not a whole lot I need to change. It’s been in place since, I think it started in the 1970s, and we’ve had volunteers in place right since the get-go. They’re experts and they’re really great from an organizer’s standpoint,” she said.

The program is a way for people who are unsure about their taxes to get a helping hand, she said, especially seniors and young people.

“A lot of people are a little nervous about filling their tax returns. So they would come to the volunteers – feel a little more secure, talk it through with someone and file that way.”

The provincial program had 140 volunteers in 2013 who help more than 8,000 Islanders file tax returns.

The program holds several clinics across the province during tax season, so anyone who can attend one of those is encouraged to do so. Special arrangements can be made for people who are unable to travel.

The service is completely free, however there is a maximum allowable income level to participate.

The program is open to a single person who makes up to $30,000 a year, a couple who make up to $40,000 and a single parent family that makes up to $35,000.

For a complete list of clinics by Island community, go online to http://ow.ly/uc3Hm.

To volunteer with the program, residents can contact Callbeck at 1-855-516-4405 or by email at cvitp.alt.charlottetown@cra-arc.gc.ca

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