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Volunteers prepare taxes for free

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Whether it’s navigating an endless stream of numbers or rifling through piles of receipts, no one looks forward to tax time.

A team at Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau is offering to help low income families, the disabled and elderly prepare the dreaded income tax form again this year.

“Our program is based on net income of $28,000 or less,” said volunteer coordinator Vanessa Hebert. “For the disabled, elderly, and new Canadians [meeting the income restrictions], we will do their income tax for free.”

Herbert said there are currently 30 volunteers working to file returns for those who qualify for their program.

For the past six years the Volunteer Bureau has been organizing this assistance. Herbert said that last year the program handled more than 400 tax returns.

“We’re easily going to hit that mark again this year,” she said.

“I think it’ s important because low income families, a lot of them don’t know how to prepare their own Income taxes,” Herbert explained. “It also costs quite a lot to have a professional do it for them and a lot of people can’t afford that.”

The fact that volunteers can also come pick up information from someone’s home is a huge benefit.

“It’s also important for elderly people and the disabled because we will come to the home and pick up the stuff so they don’t have to worry how to get their taxes done,” she said.

Volunteers take a day long workshop to learn the in’s and out’s of filing tax returns. They are also given preparation disks from the government to assist them in their efforts. And if they get stuck, volunteers have a secret help line from Revenue Canada so that they can have their questions asked without having to wait on the line for hours.

Anyone interested in taking part in the program can stop by the Volunteer Bureau (the old CN station) between now and April 30.

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