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Tax Support Spring of 2020

I want to share something fantastic that I got to do last spring and the incredible opportunity that it has opened up for me in the new year.

Clarity NPO is teaming up with The Lookout Society! 

A number of years ago, I reached out to the MS Society, Lower Mainland Chapter to offer some assistance for those suffering with MS and finding the disease a barrier to filing their taxes. We looked at putting a program in place, but it ultimately failed, as some of my colleagues felt that it was a drain on profitability. 

This spring, free of the barriers, I reached back to MS and we put a program in place. I was able to support about 20 people, for whom the complexity of filing was burdensome. While doing it I became more conscious of the challenges that tax filing creates and the limits it imposes on those who are disadvantaged.


First story

I was struck by scale this year. I prepared three returns in a row:

  • The first, a successful entrepreneur owed over $10,000.  For them this was a frustration
  • The next was another financially successful person, whose refund was also greater than $10,000.  For this person, the refund was a pleasant surprise and they quickly considered how to spend this bounty.
  • The third person had taxable income that was less than either the extra taxes of the first or the refund of the second. 

The disparity of the circumstance left me gobsmacked.  

Second story

Every year I talk to clients about their tax credits. You also get them, and some examples are:

  • Child tax credits
  • Medical credits
  • Charitable donations

For those in poverty a couple of other ones are the BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit, which is designed to cover the cost of the carbon tax for people with lower incomes, and the GST tax credit designed to offset some or all of the GST/HST paid by lower income parties.

Now here is the deal, if you do not file, or do not get these important credits.  You do not get this cash.

Struggling with poverty restricts the ability to file a return, sometimes simply due to a lack of an address.  Those of us who are privileged find taxes frustrating and a nuisance, but to many in our society they can be a lifeline.

Next spring Clarity NPO will be working jointly with The Lookout Society to assist disadvantaged people in filing taxes.  Details are still pending but watch this place for updates. 

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