Virtual self-assisted tax filing: Learnings from a program pilot

During 2020, alternative approaches to the traditional community tax clinic model have become even more valuable as COVID-19 lockdown measures prevented in-person program delivery. In response to the growing demand for alternative ways to deliver tax-filing supportProsper Canada partnered with Intuit Canada and three community organizations in Ontario to pilot a virtual tax-filing model that empowers individuals to complete their tax return themselves. The pilot was supported by tax experts and volunteers who helped guide individuals through the TurboTax for Tax Clinics Canada software.  

The webinar speakers are:

  • Ana Fremont (Prosper Canada)
  • Guy Labelle, (Intuit/TurboTax)
  • Ansley Dawson (Woodgreen Community Services, Toronto)
  • Marc D’Orgeville, (EBO, Ottawa) 

This webinar is ideally suited for frontline practitioners exploring alternate ways to deliver tax-filing support to vulnerable Canadians. 

Click 'Get it' below to access the video link, and scroll down to access handouts, slides, and video timestamps for this webinar.



Read the presentation slides for this webinar.

Download the handout for this webinar: Process map: Virtual Self-File model overview

Time-stamps for the video recording:
4:01 – Agenda and introductions
5:59 – Audience polls
10:27 – Project introduction (Speaker: Ana Fremont, Prosper Canada)
14:31 – Tour of TurboTax for Tax Clinics (Speaker: Guy Labelle, Intuit)
17:59 – Woodgreen project pilot (Speaker: Ansley Dawson, Woodgreen Community Services)
27:35 – EBO 2-step process (Speaker: Marc D’Orgeville, EBO)
39:26 – Woodgreen program modifications (Speaker: Ansley Dawson, Woodgreen)
46:03 – Q&A


Meeting the Emergency Moment: Key Takeaways from Delivering Remote Municipal Financial Counseling Services

Local governments across the United States are working to help their residents weather the health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cities and counties, that means deploying their Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs), which provide professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service. Local leaders were able to offer FEC financial counseling as a critical component of their emergency response infrastructure; the fact that this service already existed, and was embedded into the fabric of municipal anti-poverty efforts, meant that it could quickly pivot to meet new COVID-19 needs, including through offering remote financial counseling.

This brief describes how FEC partners identified the right technology; developed skills to deliver counseling remotely; messaged the availability of FEC services as part of their localities’ COVID-19 response; and shared lessons learned with their FEC counterparts around the country.



Youth Reconnect Program Guide: An Early Intervention Approach to Preventing Youth Homelessness

Since 2017, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada have been implementing and evaluating three program models that are situated across the continuum of prevention, in 10 communities and 12 sites in Ontario and Alberta. Among these is an early intervention called Youth Reconnect.

This document describes the key elements of the YR program model, including program elements and objectives, case examples of YR in practice, and necessary conditions for implementation. It is intended for communities who are interested in pursuing similar early intervention strategies. The key to success, regardless of the approaches taken, lies in building and nurturing community partnerships with service providers, educators, policy professionals, and young people.



Providing one-on-one financial coaching to newcomers: Insights for frontline service providers

One-on-one financial help is a key financial empowerment (FE) intervention that Prosper Canada is working to pilot, scale and integrate into other social services, in collaboration with FE partners across the country. FE is increasingly gaining traction as an effective poverty reduction measure. FE interventions include financial coaching and supports that assist people to build money management skills, access income benefits, tackle debt, learn about safe financial products and services and find ways to save for emergencies.

This report shares insights on providing one-on-one financial coaching to newcomers captured through two financial coaching pilot projects that Prosper Canada conducted in collaboration with several frontline community partners.



Virtual tax filing: Piloting a new way to file taxes for homebound seniors

WoodGreen Community Services, a large multi-service frontline social service agency in Toronto, provides free tax preparation services year-round to people living on low incomes. WoodGreen was interested in designing a novel solution to address the tax filing needs of homebound seniors who are unable to access WoodGreen’s free in-person tax-preparation services due to physical or mental health challenges. Specifically, WoodGreen wanted to know… How might we provide high-quality professional tax preparation services to all clients whether or not they are onsite? Prosper Canada and a leading commercial tax preparation software company partnered with WoodGreen Community Services in order to answer this design question.



Supported Self-File: Piloting a new way to empower individuals to file taxes independently

Many frontline community organizations provide free tax preparation services to people living on low incomes across Canada using a variety of methods. However, when COVID-19 struck, a large majority of agencies offering free tax-filing supports were forced to close their doors and halt in-person services. Non-profit organizations, EBO (Ottawa) and WoodGreen Community Services (Toronto) with a long-standing history of delivering tax-filing supports, needed to explore alternative models that catered to the different needs of their clientele.

Prosper Canada and Intuit, a leading commercial tax preparation software company, partnered with WoodGreen and EBO, in order to answer this design question.

These journey maps describe the process of this service flow, from intake to client sessions and post-session activities.