In the midst of tax season, low-income residents are encouraged to take advantage of Woolwich Community Services’ free income tax program.
Wendell Prime is one of three trained volunteers who run the program at WCS.
Individuals who make $30,000 or less annually are eligible, as are couples who make $40,000 or less combined.
Eligible residents can call to book 45-minute appointments with the volunteers.
Prime says the program is well-used for most of March and April, but they have room for more.
“We have been basically full from the start. And I know the last couple of years it was the same thing, through March it was really, really full and maybe slowed down a little bit the first half of April and then it got full again as you get to the deadline.”
He advises everyone to file annually because if you owe money Canada Revenue Agency will find out, and if you have low-income you’re eligible for GST and Trillium rebates, which can provide some much needed funds.
“It can certainly be $1,000 over the year that they would get back. So it is important that they get it and when you have an income of $10,000, $1,000 non-taxable is really important.”
Prime has done his own taxes since he was 18 and enjoys being able to provide the same service for others. He enjoys numbers so much he even generated some Excel spreadsheets a decade ago to forecast his own retirement to budget based on his and his wife’s income.
This is his third year volunteering with the income tax program. He’s also helped out with their volunteer driving program for six years.
“On a personal level I’m very busy once the weather clears up. We have an acre of property, lots of gardens, a yard to take care of and I do a lot of outside activities. So I’m looking at it and saying this fills in the last two months of winter that I have time.”
He also volunteered at The Working Centre’s income tax program in Kitchener for two years after reading in their newsletter they were looking for volunteers.
But for the Woolwich resident, volunteering with WCS in their new building with an office for privacy, is a perfect fit.
He says he plans to keep coming back because it’s of interest to him, but also because he particularly enjoys helping two demographics – firstly, senior citizens.
“They’re so grateful,” he said.
He’s also interested in helping young adults who are just starting out on their own, so he can help teach them how it’s done.
“I just figure it’s a little thing I can do.”
The program started Mar. 1 and finishes on Apr. 30, the deadline for filing 2016 taxes. Volunteers are available at WCS’ office on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. To book an appointment call WCS at 519-669-5139.