The Canada Revenue stations are closed now until the middle of February, but once they open up again it's officially Tax Season!

For those who have an individual income below $35,000 may benefit from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). 

The CVITP is a free service to help low-income individuals and families with simple tax situations complete and file their income tax and benefit return.  It is sponsored by the Canada Revenue Agency through organizations across Canada. 

In the Westman Region the CVITP is facilitated by a number of organizations, including Prairie Mountain Health and is a free service to those who qualify.

Completing an income tax return can improve income by providing access to federal, provincial and local benefits and programs, says program facilitator Brett Turner. 

Clients' annual income must be below a certain amount in order to participate in the CVITP as a client. 

"For a single individual your income has to be lower than $35,000, and for a couple it's $45,000, and then for each additional child it's another $2500," explains Turner. "Also, this is only for simple tax returns.  You do not qualify if you're self-employed, if you're farming, renting or in bankruptcy or if you have capital gains, or if you're dealing with the return of a person who has deceased.  Those are reasons why we wouldn't be able to do your taxes."

Prairie Mountain Health is still calling out for volunteers to assist them with their Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).  

Turner says they did have a few new volunteers come on board to assist in the collecting and implementing of the tax returns, however they could still use more, specifically in Boissevain, Deloraine, Souris and Virden.

"We do have mechanisms in place to get the tax returns to a volunteer even if they're not in that community and get their tax return completed," he says.

Boissevain, Deloraine and Virden are the three communities that are most pressing for volunteers.  Souris has one volunteer already in place, however they would like to see an additional volunteer join the effort in that community.

Please listen to more with Brett Turner as he explains what volunteering for CVITP looks like!

For more information, visit the Prairie Mountain Health CVITP page HERE!

"I think the biggest thing for people to know is that it's important for them to get their income tax completed, even if they don't owe anything, and even if they're not getting a refund from their income tax," notes Turner. "It still gives them access to lots of different programs where they could be getting money back from the government."

"There are numerous programs, both federal and provincial, that people may not know they have access to, but the key is getting their income tax filed," he adds.

The CVITP program will be receiving income tax returns in Brandon starting February 26th, and in participating rural communities starting March 6th.