Tax Credit Outreach Resources

The Get It Back Campaign helps eligible workers in the United States claim tax credits and use free tax filing assistance to maximize tax time. A project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Campaign partners with community organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions to conduct outreach nationally. For 30 years, these partnerships have connected lower and moderate-income workers to tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).

Their website contain a variety of outreach materials that can be adapted for your organization, including:



Disability Tax Credit Tool

The Canadian Disability Tax Credit (DTC) can help reduce the taxes you or someone who supports you owe. It also offers a lot of other great benefits.

To apply for the DTC, your healthcare provider will need to fill out the Disability Tax Credit Certificate (form T2201). This tool is designed to give them the information they need to fill out that form



Tax Prep Dispatch: Alternative Service Delivery Tips!

Tips and considerations for providing alternative tax filing service delivery.



Tax Prep Dispatch: The Drop-Off Process

Considerations and best practices for drop-off and virtual tax filing services.



Virtual VITA Toolkit: Program Strategies

Program strategies grounded in an understanding of your community can increase the likelihood of engagement and follow-through. The following resources are intended to support VITA programs with implementation strategies at key program stages, like outreach and intake, and offer examples of how other virtual VITA programs have addressed critical challenges.



Financial Relief Navigator

The Financial Relief Navigator is an online tool that can help you find support to raise your income or lower your expenses in these challenging times.

The tool will suggest income benefits or other support programs you may be eligible for in your province/territory in Canada. 

Roadblocks and Resilience

This report, Roadblocks and Resilience Insights from the Access to Benefits for Persons with Disabilities project, provides insights on the barriers people with disabilities in British Columbia face in accessing key income benefits. These insights, and the accompanying service principles that participants identified, were obtained by reviewing existing research, directly engaging 16 B.C. residents with disabilities and interviewing 18 researchers and service providers across Canada. We will use these insights to inform development and testing of a pilot service to support people with disabilities to access disability benefits.

The related journey map Common steps to get disability benefits also illustrates the complexities of this benefits application process. 

This journey map illustrates the process of applying for the Disability Tax Credit.

The journey map Persons with Disability (PWD) status illustrates the process of preparing for and applying for and maintaining Persons with Disabilities Status and disability assistance in B.C.



2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada – Report 4 – Canada Child Benefit

A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan concludes that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) managed the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program so that millions of eligible families received accurate and timely payments. The audit also reviewed the one-time additional payment of up to $300 per child issued in May 2020 to help eligible families during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The audit noted areas where the agency could improve the administration of the program by changing how it manages information it uses to assess eligibility to the CCB. For example, better use of information received from other federal organizations would help ensure that the agency is informed when a beneficiary has left the country. This would avoid cases where payments are issued on the basis of outdated information. To enhance the integrity of the program, the agency should request that all applicants provide a valid proof of birth when they apply for the benefit.

The audit also raised the concept of female presumption and noted that given the diversity of families in Canada today, this presumption has had an impact on the administration of the Canada Child Benefit program.



** Virtual self-filing tax filing toolkit **


This toolkit has been created to support the Virtual Self Filing tax filing model piloted in 2020 by community agencies in Ontario. In this model, individuals file their own tax return but receive support from community agency staff or volunteers to do so. 

This resource was made possible through funding from Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation and Intuit Canada.

We are grateful to Woodgreen Community Services and EBO Financial Education Centre for their contributions to this resource.

If you are interested in adopting the Virtual Self Filing tax filing model in your own agency using the TurboTax for Tax Clinics software, please contact Ana Fremont (Program Delivery & Integration Manager) at afremont@prospercanada.org. 




Questions and answers about filing your taxes

Questions and answers released by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about filing your taxes, including information on:

  • Prior to filing your tax return
    • changing your address
    • getting someone else permission to access your tax information
    • getting free tax help
  • Filing your tax return
    • deadline to file your taxes
    • common mistakes people make on their taxes
    • what is a non-refundable tax credit
  • Digital services available to file your tax return
  • After filing your tax return
    • when you can expect a refund
    • how long you should keep receipts or records
    • what to do if you cannot pay your balance owing



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


Delivering virtual tax clinics: How to prepare and steps to consider 

This tax season, community tax clinics across Canada will be preparing to support clients virtually rather than in person amidst physical distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adapting to a virtual tax clinic model means preparing for different ways of volunteer preparation, client outreach, and delivering one-on-one tax-filing help.

In this one-hour webinar, speakers from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will share key considerations for Canadian practitioners operating tax clinics in 2021, as well as how to access CVITP program training and support.

This webinar is designed to support practitioners delivering community tax clinics in Canada.

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.

Time-stamps for the video recording:
3:46 – Agenda and introductions
6:21 – Audience polls
11:08 – CVITP program and recent changes
16:58 – CVITP volunteer training
26:58 – What’s new for 2021 and Virtual clinics
36:37 – Q&A

Helping financial empowerment champions deliver critical services to low-income Canadians

Service design consultancy Bridgeable provides an overview of the project partnership with Prosper Canada in April 2020 to take a design sprint approach in providing remote tax-filing and benefits application service solution.

Over the course of four consecutive days, Bridgeable worked with eighteen financial empowerment champion (FEC) partners to generate solutions to four key aspects for remote service delivery:

  1. Communicating with clients
  2. Verifying client ID
  3. Obtaining consent or signatures
  4. Obtaining or accessing client information



Helping Consumers Claim their Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a guide to assist intermediaries in serving individuals to access their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). The guide, Helping Consumers Claim the Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations , provides step-by-step instructions for frontline staff on how to:

  • Discuss the EIP with their clients
  • Determine if clients need to take action
  • Support clients with what to expect and how to troubleshoot common issues



Building household financial security during COVID-19 and beyond

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians were having difficulty making ends meet, and the pandemic has further impacted the financial well-being of financially vulnerable Canadians. 

In this webinar, we present research on how COVID-19 has impacted the financial security of Canadians and how additional financial challenges are likely to arise over the next year. The research was conducted in partnership with Prosper Canada by BCG’s Social Impact Ambassador program. The speakers are Common Good Founder Steven Ayer, BCG interns Abhijit Bhamidipati, Ada Kwong, and Brian Page, and Prosper Canada CEO Liz Mulholland.

This one-hour webinar is relevant for practitioners across all sectors who want to learn how Canadians are being financially impacted by COVID-19, and to share and learn what can be done in response. 

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.

Time-stamps for the video recording:
3:26 – Agenda and introductions
6:18 – Audience polls
10:39 – Research presentation begins (BCG and Steven Ayer)
36:18 – What Prosper Canada is doing (Liz Mulholland)
42:31 – Q&A


Your rights at work

This publication explains a worker’s legal rights under the Employment Standards Act regarding hours of work and pay, overtime, breaks, holidays and vacations, and leave from your job. It also has information about how to make a claim against an employer.



Workers’ Compensation: Making a claim

This resource explains what a worker should do if they have a job-related injury or disease, how they can apply for benefits from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and what happens when the Board gets a report of their injury. It also has sections about what their employer must do, and where injured workers can get legal help.



Legal Resources Catalogue: Free legal information

This resource provides a list of free legal information resources produced by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).



Taxpayer Rights in the Digital Age

This paper explores the intersection of digital innovation, digital services, access, and taxpayer rights in the Canadian context, in light of the experiences of vulnerable populations in Canada, from the perspective of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman. Many aspects of the CRA’s digitalization can further marginalize vulnerable populations but there are also opportunities for digital services to help vulnerable persons in accessing the CRA’s services.

Reaching Out: Improving the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

The CVITP provides people, who may otherwise have dif culty accessing income tax and bene t return (return) ling services, with an opportunity to meet their ling obligations. Often, ling a return is required to gain access to, or continue to receive, the government credits and bene ts designed to support them.

This report illustrates that the CRA needs to take a broad, country-wide perspective of the CVITP, while also taking into consideration regional and other differences. Services offered and training provided to volunteers need to re ect the realities of the diverse regional, geographic, socio-economic, workforce, and vulnerable, sectors throughout Canada. Different areas of the country will have different primary needs from the CVITP. The CRA needs to address those needs, both in its actions through the CVITP, as well as in the training provided to CVITP volunteers and the support given to partner organizations.



Transformation through disruption: Taxpayers’ Ombudsman Annual Report 2019-20

The mandate of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is to assist, advise, and inform the Minister about any matter relating to services provided by the CRA.

The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman fulfills this mandate by raising awareness, upholding taxpayer service rights, and facilitating the resolution of CRA service complaints issues. Through independent and objective reviews of service complaints and systemic issues, the Ombudsman and her Office work to enhance the CRA’s accountability and improve its service to, and treatment of, people. and systemic issues.

This is the Annual Report of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman for 2019-20.



Low Income Retirement Planning

This booklet contains information on retirement planning on a low income. Topics include four things to think about for low income retirement planning, a background paper on maximizing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and determining Old Age Security (OAS) and GIS eligibility for people who come to Canada as adults.



Reaching Out: Improving the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

The position of Taxpayers’ Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) was created to support the government priorities of stronger democratic institutions, increased transparency within institutions, and fair treatment. As an independent and impartial officer, the Ombudsman handles complaints about the service of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman hears first-hand the concerns of individuals, tax practitioners, and community support organizations. The Ombudsman visited with Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) partner organizations, volunteers, and the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) CVITP coordinators to learn more about the program and to understand the success stories and challenges they all experience. This report gives voice to what they have heard and provides recommendations on how to address the issues raised.



Defining disability for social assistance in Ontario: Options for moving forward

Narrowing the definition of disability used by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) could have serious implications. Improving the program’s assessment process would yield better results for applicants, Ontario's social safety net, and the government.

This report explores the role of ODSP, the risks of narrowing the definition of disability, models of disability assessment from other jurisdictions, and alternative ways that the government could reform the program. Most importantly, the paper recommends that the Ministry focus on improving ODSP’s initial application process. A simplified assessment system would save time and money for applicants, medical professionals, legal clinics, adjudicators, and the Social Benefits Tribunal. These savings should be reinvested back into social assistance.



Présentation de l’Explorateur d’allègements financiers (EAF)

L’Explorateur d’allègements financiers : un outil pour connaître les mesures d’aide et d’allègement liées à la COVID-19 dont vos clients pourraient bénéficier

En réponse à la pandémie de COVID-19 et en raison de la complexité des mesures d’aide et d’allègement offertes à la population canadienne, nous avons créé l’Explorateur d’allègements financiers (EAF), un outil en ligne qui aide les gens vulnérables au Canada et ceux qui les accompagnent à accéder aux mesures d’aide d’urgence et d’allègement financier proposées par les gouvernements, les établissements financiers, les fournisseurs de services de télécommunication, de services publics et de services Internet.

Soyez des nôtres pour assister à notre webinaire d’une heure animé par Elodie Young, de Prospérité Canada, qui vous présentera l’EAF et vous donnera des conseils sur la manière d’aider vos clients à accéder aux mesures d’aide et d’allègement financier. Que vous travailliez dans le secteur de la salubrité des aliments, de la santé mentale, de l'autonomisation financière, de l’établissement ou encore dans le secteur privé, venez apprendre comment aider vos clients à augmenter leur revenu et à réduire leurs dépenses pendant la crise.

Ce webinaire concerne tous les fournisseurs de services de première ligne qui gagnent un faible revenu et les populations vulnérables du Canada.

Lisez les diapositives de ce webinaire.

Utilisez l'outil en ligne.

Lisez le document de ce webinaire.



Introducing the Financial Relief Navigator

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the complexities of the benefits and financial relief measures available to Canadians, we developed the Financial Relief Navigator (FRN), an online resource that helps vulnerable Canadians and those that work with them access critical emergency benefits and financial relief from governments, financial institutions, telecoms, utility and internet providers.

In this one-hour webinar you'll hear from Galen MacLusky and Janet Flynn of Prosper Canada who will give you an overview of the FRN and provide tips on how to support your clients to access critical benefits and financial relief. 

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

Access the Financial Relief Navigator here.



Presentation slides for this webinar

Handouts for this webinar
Introducing the Financial Relief Navigator (FRN)
Access the Financial Relief Navigator here.

Time-stamps for the video recording:
3:22 – Agenda and Introductions
6:00 – Audience poll
9:00 – Why we created the Financial Relief Navigator (Speaker: Janet Flynn)
11:55 – What’s in the Financial Relief Navigator (Speaker: Janet Flynn)
16:35 – FRN Walkthrough using a Persona (Speaker: Galen McLusky)
33:15 – Tips for using the FRN (Speaker: Galen McLusky)
36:00 – The Working Centre experience using the FRN (Speaker: Sue Collison)
41:15 – Q&A

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.