Calgary agency helps low-income residents file their taxes
Tax deadline day is still over two months away, but some of the first free tax clinics will be open this week to help those with financial difficulties.
Marricel and Sam Concepcion didn’t know anything about filing taxes and making a budget before they moved to Canada from the Philippines.
“Coming from a low-income family, it’s not that easy to stretch your budget.”
Seeking help for their financial troubles, the couple sat down for a free workshop on financial literacy put on by Momentum, a Calgary credit counseling agency.
The couple then learned about a special grant program that’s been offered for the past few years.
The ATB Tax Time Savings Program is offering 300 people the opportunity to earn a massive 50 percent interest rate after just one year of saving their refund.
When they put away between $200 and $1,000 of their return, ATB will pay out half of the money they save for a period of one year. Organizers hope it will teach families and individuals about good financial health.
Carolyn Davis, the community engagement director at Momentum, says that right now is the perfect time to start to think about your finances because you’ll need to files your taxes too.
“One of the big reasons that tax filing is important if you have more of a modest income, is that tax time is the way that you get access to grants and credits and programs that can help families make ends meet.”
Davis says the main goal of putting away the money in the program is to emphasize the importance of having an emergency fund for your family.
“Over 50 percent of Canadians do not have an emergency fund and that’s a really big deal for all of us. Without $500 in the bank, we are way more susceptible to eviction and other crises that can come, so we really want every Canadian to have an emergency fund.”
The Concepcions are very happy about the program too.
“They are teaching you how to save which is great. It’s a great program I think,” Marricel says.
Free tax clinics at 40 locations are being offered across Calgary including at the Centre for Newcomers and Sunrise Community Link.
The organization also offers a variety of resources to help families get a hold on their finances and further their careers. For more information, you can dial 211 or go to Momentum’s website.
(With files from Bill Macfarlane)