Expanding Support for Tenant Tax Clinics

Expanding Support for Tenant Tax Clinics

Calgary Housing Company (CHC) is expanding support offered to help tenants’ complete tax returns this year.

CHC has partnered with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPAA) and other providers for more than a decade to offer free tax filing support to hundreds of tenants. In 2017, registration is available to 48 tenants at Baker House, a CHC downtown high-rise. That’s double what could be offered a few years ago. Four separate clinics are being held in partnership with the CPAA, with each clinic assisting 12 tenants per session.

Baker House Tax Clinics

March 23, 2017
March 30, 2017
April 6, 2017
April 13, 2017

“The demand for tax service is high so we are very pleased to offer support to more people with their tax returns this year,” says Tenant Liaison Claire Jackson, who receives a package from CPAA at the end of November and signs up interested Baker House tenants. “It ensures tenants have access to the financial assistance that they deserve, such as GST credits and other government programs.”

A condominium property in the northwest community of Dalhousie is offering a tax clinic this year for the first time. Three volunteers with the family services not-for-profit Aspen will provide tax advice to 18 tenants on April 4. The appointments are free based on the following criteria:
• Earning $30,000 or less annually with no dependants
• Earning $50,000 or less annually with dependants
• Not self-employed

“We are constantly working with partners like Aspen to identify ways to improve tenant outcomes and well-being,” says Tenant Liaison Tara Naclia, who coordinates the Dalhousie clinic with Aspen staff. “This is something that tenants have told us is important and that is the main reason why this year we are working with partners to provide it to more people than ever.”

Participants must have filed their taxes up to the 2016 tax year to qualify. For those who qualify, registration is on a first-come first-serve basis. The service is not offered in cases where the return is considered high income, unusually complex or small business. Volunteers usually bring their own laptops with the tax software and a USB so that the tax returns can be printed and provided to the tenant.

Tenants who do not receive support because of volunteer capacity or they do not qualify are referred to volunteer programs offered by Salvation Army and the Calgary Public Library.

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