Free tax clinic now available for low-income earners in Edmonton
'Our aim is to make it easier and remove barriers'
Tax season can be a stressful time but a new tax clinic in Edmonton is hoping to make the process easier for low-income earners.
"The idea behind the clinic is to have as many people as possible in the community to file their taxes on time so they may access government benefits," project manager Tayo Elnathan told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.
It's the first clinic of its kind by the Ladies Corner Canada Media Foundation and was started in partnership with the Africa Centre and the Edmonton Community Foundation. A Calgary-based accounting firm, Dexteritas Inc, will be providing their services for free.
The clinic, located at the Africa Centre, aims to curb the barriers many new immigrants, students and others with an income of $40,000 or less face when filing their taxes.
"It is for the community who do not know or understand the tax-filing system here in Canada," Elnathan said.
"We thought the best way to do this is to get to know people — let them come in, get access — and see that it is done by professionals who look just like them, who understand them and the challenges of being an immigrant or being Black or BIPOC member."
Many people in the community have a general fear when it comes to taxes compounded by language barriers, she said. The clinic offers translation services for many common languages spoken by immigrant communities around Edmonton, including Swahili, French and Arabic.
"It's always important to have a hub where people can go get financial advice," Elnathan said. "Some people don't even understand what this is, so that's some of the barriers I find in language."
The clinic is available for walk-ins and appointments but also offers services virtually. It also helps people apply for any benefits they may be eligible for.
"Our aim is to make it easier and remove barriers," Elnathan said.
Before the free, low-income tax clinic, LCC worked on various programs for the community, including financial literacy and mental health sessions for youth as well as a vaccine literacy program.
The clinic is available from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It plans to extend its hours on weekdays and open up on weekends in the lead up to its planned closure on May 15.