Become a Volunteer

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Help people in your community by completing income tax returns free of charge.

What is expected of a program volunteer?

Volunteers prepare (or help prepare) federal and Québec income tax returns for eligible taxpayers with low incomes and simple tax situations. They thus ensure that the taxpayers claim the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to.

Volunteers benefit from:

  • tax preparation software provided by the income tax assistance program;
  • training on their responsibilities, the basics of completing personal income tax returns and using the software provided;
  • year-round access to a dedicated help line;
  • a certificate of appreciation from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec.

How to register as a program volunteer

Step 1 – Complete the online registration form

To become a volunteer in the income tax assistance program, you must register using the online form and enter the name of the participating community organization with which you are affiliated. If you are not currently affiliated with an organization, enter no affiliation and a program coordinator will contact you to help you find a participating organization in your area. 

  • Your registration is valid for one year only. You have to renew your registration each year you wish to participate as a program volunteer.
  • Although you can register online at any time of the year, we suggest that you register or renew your registration between the last week of October and the beginning of February to be ready for the filing season.
  • If you register at any other time of the year, you may not get the EFILE and NetFile Québec numbers on time and you may miss training sessions. Note that income tax return preparation sessions are held year round, so some volunteers are needed outside the busy tax season. If this interests you, a coordinator can put you in touch with an organization in your area that offers year-round service

Step 2 – Obtain certifications required for online filing

The online filing service allows certified suppliers to file income tax returns with the CRA and Revenu Québec using return preparation software. Volunteers who want to use this type of service must be certified by the CRA and Revenu Québec.

Under the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program, returns prepared using software are usually filed online with the CRA and Revenu Québec.

If you wish to file returns online with the CRA and Revenu Québec, as soon as possible:

Important
  • If you do not intend to file income tax returns online, you should not request an EFILE number simply to meet the security requirements. If you apply for an EFILE number and do not intend to file returns online, the application may not be accepted.
  • Once the CRA has granted an EFILE number the application for a NetFile Québec number will be approved. It can take up to 30 days to receive an EFILE number.

Step 3 – Meet the security requirements

In order to participate as a volunteer in the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program, you must meet one of the following security requirements:

  • If you intend to file income tax returns online, you must have the necessary authorization from the CRA. This is a security measure.
  • If you do not intend to file income tax returns online, but you do intend to use the tax preparation software provided and file paper returns or you foresee having to handle or having to access taxpayers' personal tax information, you must provide your organization with the results of a valid police background check performed within the last three years.

Auto-fill my return

Auto-fill my return is an optional and secure Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) service that allows income tax assistance program volunteers to automatically fill in parts of a taxpayer's federal income tax return with information from the person's CRA file. This service gives the volunteer access to taxpayers' CRA files for the purpose of completing income tax returns. Note that this service cannot be used to complete Québec income tax returns.

All volunteers can use this service. To use this service, you must:

  • be registered for the CRA's EFILE;
  • be registered for the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program;
  • enter your RepID when registering as a program volunteer or give it to your program coordinator;
  • provide your organization with the results of a valid police background check performed within the last three years;
  • use the software provided by the income tax assistance program.

To get a RepID, you must open a session in Represent a Client, a secure service available on the CRA website.

Accountants and tax experts

If you are an accountant or tax professional and you wish to participate in the income tax assistance program, you must make a clear distinction between your own clients and the taxpayers taking advantage of the program. Therefore, as a volunteer, you cannot use the EFILE and NetFile Québec numbers used for your business when preparing returns under the program. You must obtain separate numbers for use under the program. 

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