Volunteers to do the taxes of the poor

News 11 February, 2018
  • Photo Annie T. Roussel
    Denis Bernatchez and Jean-Marc Vaillancourt are volunteers long-standing Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Québec. Each year, they offer their time to help low-income people to do their income tax return.

    Sophie Side

    Sunday, 11 February, 2018 00:00

    Sunday, 11 February, 2018 00:00

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    It is a little known, but which, however, during the past 30 years : every year in Quebec, thousands of volunteers are mobilizing to help the most needy to fulfil free of charge their income tax returns, including hundreds in the region of Quebec.

    “It must be said that, even if it is people on social assistance and that the statements are simple, it is daunting to be faced with the software when it is not known. So we guide it, but it is not tax experts, we are volunteers who perform a task helpful to people disadvantaged financially, ” said Denis Bernatchez, who participates in the volunteer Program from Revenu Québec (RQ) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over the past fifteen years, through the Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Québec.

    Fifty organizations

    This last is part of the fifty community-based organizations in the greater Quebec city region that offer these “tax clinics” free of charge.

    The beneficiaries must meet certain criteria to be eligible, or have a modest income (of which the thresholds are detailed on the web site of Revenu Québec) and have a ” simple tax “.

    “I welcome them always with a smile, and it makes it comfortable because, wants, wants not, we are still some way in their intimacy, raised by Mr. Bernatchez, a retired Charlesbourg, 72 years of age. People reveal things that even the members of their family do not know. “

    Also, each volunteer must show a white paw, and is subject to criminal checks before a training online for the effective discharge of its duties. Only in the Quebec city region, between 400 and 500 volunteers participated in the program in 2016 and 2017, to fill some 42 000 statements of income annually.


    “It’s a lot of relief for them. There are several that come back every year. It establishes a kind of relationship, there is a trust that develops, ” adds Jean-Marc Vaillancourt, 78 years of age, who participates in the program for 20 years.

    Geneviève Laurier, spokeswoman for Revenu Québec, raises that some low-income people tend to believe that it is not necessary to make their statements, given their financial situation.

    False belief

    “It is necessary to break this belief because that, on the contrary, there are advantages to do so,” she says. By not making the annual tax report, you deprive yourself of the benefits or credits to which you may be entitled to. The program is there to help, ” says the spokesperson. Volunteers are still being sought in preparation for the beginning of the period tax, which would begin in march.



    (Revenue Quebec and canada revenue agency)

    In Quebec, in 2017 :

    • 164 000 low-income people are assisted to make their statement
    • 341 000 declarations (federal and provincial) were completed, an increase of 15 000 compared to 2016
    • More than 3500 volunteers
    • More than 500 participating organizations