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Calgary's Ukrainian Women in Business Foundation offering free tax services


A group of Ukrainians who fled the country after the Russian invasion have found a way to give back to the community. 

Seventy Ukrainians are now working together to offer free tax services to Calgarians through the Ukrainian Women in Business Foundation.

Founder Olga Vozna arrived in Canada less than a year ago, escaping Kyiv with her husband and young daughter.

"Life is not safe there now," said Vozna."It's not easy to continue with life and work."

Within months of arriving, Vozna put her experience as a business owner and event planner to work and started the Ukrainian Women Business Foundation.

"We try to support each other and create something special in this new world for all of us," she said.

Vozna says the idea for a free tax clinic came from a guest speaker.

"Ukrainians love to help others," said Olga Chykaliuk, co-organizer of the clinic.

Chykaliuk is an accountant who moved to Canada from Ukraine ten years ago.

"When I said, 'Maybe we would help others file their tax returns,' they said, 'Yes, of course, if you teach us.'"

Some of the volunteers have done taxes before, in Ukraine, others have no experience, so they took part in a training session to prepare them.

The volunteers will be filling Canadian tax returns for low-income families, many of whom are newcomers just like them.

"When war started, after two weeks, I left there with my son," said Yullia Riznychenko. "I want to help how I can."

Nearly 1,000 people have already booked appointments to have their taxes filed for free by the volunteers, but the Ukrainian Women in Business Foundation says they can accommodate 6,000 because of the time the volunteers are dedicating.

"All of them work," said Chykaliuk. "Some have a full-time job, some of part-time jobs and they have to find the time for volunteering."

Russia invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago, on February 24, 2022.

The war has killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people, including many civilians.

"The war is still going and we're losing lives, our families," said Valentyna Cherniak, who moved to Calgary in 2023. "Being able to help others is making a difference."

"It just makes you feel like warm inside and just more comfortable."

The program runs from March 1 to April 30, which each tax clinic generally taking 45-60 minutes in person at the office.

Anyone who wants to get their taxes done for free, or check if they are eligible for the service, can visit the Ukrainian Women in Business Foundation's website.

To book an appointment you can email or call 403-614-4815. Top Stories

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