CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped
The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
OTTAWA - A federal program designed to help low-income Canadians file their taxes has boosted the number of returns it's handled in the year since the government increased its funding.
The extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics run by more than 3,000 groups to operate year-round.
Now, the agency is looking to improve the program to help more low-income Canadians qualify for supports administered through the tax system, including the Canada Child Benefit that goes up in value this weekend.
Figures provided by the Canada Revenue Agency show a six-per-cent increase in the number of tax returns filed through the program this year compared to last year.
In raw numbers, the CRA says more than 835,000 returns were filed by people who are homeless, Indigenous, newcomers, seniors or disabled.
The boost is double those seen in previous years, before the Liberals increased annual spending on the "community volunteer income-tax program" to $13 million in the 2018 budget.