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55 Plus Centre offering income tax clinics for seniors

The program, which has been at the centre for over two decades, runs until April 26.
Volunteers help seniors with filling out their income tax returns at clinics offered by the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre.

THUNDER BAY – For the last two decades, the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre has been offering senior income tax clinics.

According to Tessa Hettrick, program volunteer coordinator, the free springtime service is extremely important, especially as the centre does 1,200 returns every March and April.

“A lot of them have been coming to us for years,” Hettrick said.

“You can’t get a paper copy of the income tax booklet anymore and some of the people that we work with have English as their second language, so it can be a lot more difficult for some people to do since everything is now online.

“Income tax time is not something that people enjoy and it’s not something that people want to do on their own . . . so it’s nice that we are able to offer that service.”

The program is also appreciated by those who use it.

“One of our volunteers received a cake as a thank you gift earlier this week and we’ve gotten flowers dropped off here in the past,” Hettrick said.

“They’re just so happy to have it done. As everyone knows, income tax time stresses people out, so if we can offer them a service to have it done and we have volunteers who are doing the work for them and are passionate about it . . . it’s a huge benefit on so many levels.

“We definitely hear from a lot of people on just how much something like this is needed.”

The clinic, which is offered through the Canadian Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, is for those who are 55 years of age or over.

For an individual to be eligible, their income level has to be less than $40,000. For a couple, the income level has to be less than $75,000.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants also must have no income from small business or capital gains, their interest level income needs to be less than $1,000, they can’t have filed for bankruptcy in the last two years and they can’t have any dependent children or grandchildren that they can claim.

“Our volunteers fill everything out and then file the returns electronically, so they are done once that’s sent,” Hettrick said.

“There is no paper filing and nothing that anyone has to mail in. We give them a printout of what they can expect and our volunteer will be there to write down for them what they are getting for a refund, what they have to pay and what their payments are, and what they will be getting from GST or carbon tax cheques.”

The clinics have in-person appointments from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays until April 26, and they also offer drop-off services at their location on 700 River St.

Anyone who would like to book an appointment or learn more about the income tax clinics, including how to become a volunteer for the 2025 tax season, can do so by calling the 55 Plus Centre at 807-684-3066.

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