Feel confident in filing your own taxes.
I turned on my computer, excited to get my 2020 taxes filed. As many do I subscribed to an at home tax filing system so that I can file my own taxes. I work as a Financial Empowerment Manager and much of my job involves developing and then training tax filing volunteers that help low income Calgarians file their taxes. I felt confident in my own tax filing abilities. So, imagine my surprise when I became overwhelmed with the process. Admittedly, my taxes are not simple this year, but only one thing changed in my life. One thing. That’s it. And, with that, my whole tax filing experience changed and I needed help.
Over the years tax filing has become more and more complicated. I recently read an article about a gentleman who had been filing his taxes on his own since 1953. Now 98 years old, he stated he gave up filing his own taxes by the time he turned 80 years old because tax filing had become too complicated. “It got to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore.” (Golombek, 2021)
I felt his pain. Tax filing for anything beyond a single income, no expenses, no deductions, no anything else, can get complicated fast. Filing becomes complicated if you are nearing retirement age, are newly married, have a new baby, are recently divorced or separated or have lost a loved one. Each life event means a new form or box to fill in on your taxes and if you miss it, it can mean months of waiting for it to be corrected.
The Canada Revenue Agency is pretty good about assisting us when we need it, although the wait times to talk to an agent can be lengthy. And if you don’t have the correct answers to their security questions, help can take longer to reach you.
The good news is you are not alone. There are multiple, sixteen to be exact, non-profit agencies that are a part of the Aspire Network that would be glad to help you with your taxes, even those that are more complex like Sole Proprietor (Self Employment) tax filings.
So, if you are a low income Calgarian, looking to file your taxes, look no further. We are glad to help. Well, not me clearly, but our wonderful volunteers that have multiple years of volunteer training and experience behind them. Give them a call, they are happy to help.