A new study has revealed that more than 330 people were able to access more than $1 million thanks to free income tax programs being offered in five Grey-Bruce municipalities.
On Tuesday, the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force, along with the United Way of Bruce Grey and the Grey Bruce Community Foundation, released its Grey Bruce Community Volunteer Income Tax Program Case Study.
The document was presented on the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and focused on the free income tax programs offered at The Meeting Place in Tobermory and the South East Grey Community Health Centre.
The study found that the two CVITPs helped 332 residents access just over $1.165 million in income benefits, tax credits and refunds across five municipalities. On average, each beneficiary received about $3,100.
“There are too many people across Grey Bruce facing poverty and in need of support,” Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff said in a news release. “The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program has been instrumental in assisting many constituents file their taxes to ensure they have access to important government benefits and entitlements.”
Being able to file an income tax return and receiving additional financial benefits has a significant impact on local people enduring poverty, it said in the release.
“For local people, filing their taxes is a significant opportunity to gain further income and supports for their household,” it said.
The study shows that The Meeting Place in Tobermory helped 62 people in Northern Bruce Peninsula access almost $282,000 in income benefits, tax credits and refunds after filing 76 returns, with some individuals filing more than one year. On average, each beneficiary received $3,710.
The South East Grey Community Health Centre helped 270 individuals in Southgate, Grey Highlands, West Grey and Chatsworth access more than $883,000 after filing 300 returns. On average each beneficiary received $2,945.
Overall, there are 14 organizations throughout grey-Bruce registered with the CRA to provide free income tax services. In 2022, there were 3,550 returns filed by 3,050 people in Grey, Bruce and Huron counties. Based on the findings of the case study, the overall volunteer income tax program contributed a potential return of $11 million to households in those counties.
“This latest study shows just how impactful this program along with our dedicated community volunteers are in helping those in need,” Ruff said. “My thanks to all those involved for making a difference.”
People interested in volunteering with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program can connect with local Grey Bruce organizations listed at www.freetaxclinics.ca