Understanding and accessing tax benefits can make a big difference
BRAMPTON, ON (Mar. 1, 2017) – The Region of Peel is launching an awareness campaign today: File Your Taxes, Get Your Benefits. The campaign encourages low-income residents to use the Region’s free tax preparation services, or those offered by non-profit organizations across the region, to access all of the benefits they are eligible to receive by filing their taxes.
“Reducing poverty is a key part of the Region’s Strategic Plan to create a healthy, safe and connected community in Peel,” said Nancy Polsinelli, Commissioner of the Region’s Health Services Department and the Commissioner accountable for the Region’s Reducing Poverty Term of Council Priority. “Many individuals and families in low-income situations can quickly boost their financial health this time of year if they have the information and tools they need to claim all the government benefits they’re entitled to receive.”
“Our campaign’s goal is to extend the reach of our message to residents and health and human services professionals across the Region in support of our most vulnerable populations,” said Janice Sheehy, Commissioner of Human Services whose department is responsible for administering the tax preparation services for the Region. “We encourage all individuals and families who qualify to participate and raise their incomes in a sustained way.”
File Your Taxes. Get Your Benefits. includes newspaper advertising, broad distribution of postcards promoting tax filing, posters in four languages, and digital and social media, as well as an online video and tool kit for health and human services professionals to assist them in supporting their clients.
Prosper Canada, a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty, estimates that every year over $1 billion of income benefits and tax credits targeted to the needs of the most vulnerable people in Canada never make it into their pockets. It has recommended the federal government invest $2 million in the 2017 budget to support outreach to get more of that money to the intended targets.
Tax clinics enable low income earners to file
Tax preparation clinics supported by the Canada Revenue Agency, enable people experiencing low income a free effective means to complete their taxes on time. Sessions hosted by the Region of Peel will be held Saturdays from Mar. 4 to April 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other community organizations across Peel are hosting similar programs, and these are listed on the Canada Revenue Agency web site. The service is offered to individuals with incomes of $30,000 or less and households with combined income of $40,000 or less. Advance registration is required.
The reasons some people fail to complete their annual tax returns include cost, not understanding the benefits of filing, and fear of the tax system. The Region of Peel’s Human Services Department is partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, to offer free tax preparation assistance for low-income individuals and families. The program, which has been offered for 13 years, facilitated more than 2,000 returns in 2016.
The Region of Peel works with residents and partners to create a healthy, safe and connected community for life for more than 1.4 million people and approximately 143,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. Peel’s services touch the lives of residents every day. For more information about the Region of Peel, explore peelregion.ca and follow us on Twitter at @regionofpeel.