The Volunteer Program

The purpose of the Volunteer Program is to provide assistance to people who are unable to complete their income tax returns by themselves and who cannot afford the services of a professional.

The program is jointly administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec. However, it is the collaboration of hundreds of community organizations and thousands of volunteers that makes the program possible.

Each year, the program's volunteers provide tens of thousands of people with assistance in completing their income tax returns. Thanks to this assistance, these people can claim the benefits and credits to which they are entitled.

Community organizations and volunteers hold free income tax return preparation sessions to help eligible individuals with their federal and Québec returns.

Are you eligible for the program?

You may be eligible for the Volunteer Program if your income is modest and your tax situation is simple.

Modest income

Your family income must not exceed the limits in the table below. Check with your community organization to make sure you meet program requirements.

Suggested income limits
Person living alone $25,000
Couple $30,000
Each dependant $2,000
One adult with one child $30,000
Each dependant $2,000

Simple tax situation

Generally speaking, your tax situation is considered simple if you do not have any income or if the source of your income is:

  • employment;
  • a pension;
  • benefits from the Québec Pension Plan, a disability insurance plan or employment insurance, or social assistance payments;
  • income or an annuity from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP);
  • support;
  • a scholarship;
  • interest (less than $1,000).

Your situation is not considered simple if: 

  • you are self-employed or have employment expenses;
  • you have rental or business income and expenses;
  • you have capital gains or losses;
  • you declared bankruptcy; or
  • you are completing the return of a deceased person.

Income tax return preparation sessions

Income tax return preparation sessions are held from February to April in many places across Québec. To find out where, refer to the list of Tax Preparation Clinics (compiled by the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)) or contact Revenu Québec's client services.

Note that the list of sessions is updated regularly.

Required documents

Remember to bring your RL slips and information slips, your receipts and any other relevant document. Volunteers will need these documents to complete your federal and Québec income tax returns.

Become a participating community organization
Annual registration
As a community organization, your registration with the Volunteer Program is valid for the rest of the year. To keep participating in the program, you must renew your registration every year.
New grant—Are you eligible?

A new grant is now available to community organizations participating in the Volunteer Program—organizations can claim $1 for every Québec income tax return prepared under the Program.

To be eligible, your organization must:

  • be registered under the Volunteer Program in Québec; and
  • prepare Québec income tax returns during the grant period.

The 12-month grant period for a given year runs from May 1 of the previous year to April 30 of the year. Exceptionally, the 2018 grant period runs from January 1 to April 30, 2018.

In addition, you must submit your application to Revenu Québec by June 30 (that is, no later than 60 days after the end of tax season).

Note

You must keep track of how many Québec income tax returns were prepared throughout the tax season and sort them into:

  • returns prepared using software (regardless of whether they were filed online or mailed); and
  • paper returns.

The grant will only be awarded once for each return prepared during tax season. Do not submit more than one application per tax season.

Applying for the grant

You can apply using form LM-94.9.PB-V, Grant for Community Organizations Participating in the Volunteer Program.

If this is your first time applying for a grant, you must register for direct deposit. File form FIN-101.PB-V, Direct Deposit Registration or Information Update (Participating organizations – Volunteer Program), to register or to change the information we have on file, such as the organization's address, email, financial institution or account number. Ask your program coordinator for the form.

Important

Returns prepared using the software provided under the program are labelled as having been prepared by volunteers. For paper returns, please remind volunteers that they should enter "1" in the box at the top of the first page (to the left of the box for the identification label) of the return, as mentioned in the Reference Manual (COM-305-V).

The RL-27 slip (government payments) may be issued if the organization operates a business or property, unless the organization is exempt from tax or is a public body.

What is expected of a participating community organization?

As a participating community organization, you:

  • help taxpayers meet their tax obligations and claim the benefits and credits they are entitled to;
  • plan and hold income tax return preparation sessions;
  • coordinate volunteer efforts and make sure volunteers complete returns for eligible taxpayers;
  • process taxpayer information confidentially and securely;
  • make sure that volunteers register for the program and that they either obtain confirmation of eligibility for electronic filing (EFILE) or pass a police background check, in keeping with the program's security requirements.

The CRA and Revenu Québec accompany community organizations by providing them with:

  • support;
  • volunteer training sessions;
  • income tax return preparation software;
  • dedicated telephone numbers for volunteers;
  • a volunteer-recruitment kit;
  • used computers (for eligible organizations).
Important

Volunteers who transmit returns electronically must obtain EFILE certification from the CRA. Each organization with which volunteers are affiliated must register for NetFile Québec using form TP-223.PB, Demande d'inscription de bénévoles à ImpôtNet Québec dans le cadre du Programme des bénévoles (available in French only). In addition, volunteers who prepare paper returns or who have access to personal taxpayer information may be required to submit to a police background check.

How to register an organization for the program

To register an organization, you must complete online form Organization registration created by the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

Need more information?

If so, contact a Volunteer Program coordinator (created by the CVITP).

Taxpayer information security

You must ensure the security and confidentiality of taxpayer information at all times.

Become a volunteer
Annual registration
As a volunteer, your registration with the Volunteer Program is valid for the rest of the year. To keep participating in the program, you must renew your registration every year.

What is expected of a program volunteer?

As a program volunteer, you prepare federal and Québec income tax returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

You can always count on CRA and Revenu Québec personnel to assist you if you need additional information to prepare returns.

How to become a volunteer

To become a volunteer, you must volunteer through a community organization, have a general understanding of the tax system and either:

  1. Complete the online registration form

    You can complete the online Volunteer registration form (created by the CVITP) from mid-October to February 28. Be sure to mention which community organization you are volunteering through. If you are not currently volunteering through any particular organization, please mention it on the form as well. A program coordinator will contact you to find an organization in your area.

  2. Meet the security requirements

    You must obtain confirmation of eligibility for EFILE from the CRA or submit the results of a police background check to your organization. However, if you file income tax returns electronically, you must register for EFILE for electronic filers with the CRA.

    EFILE is an automated service that allows approved tax preparation service providers to transmit income tax return information to the CRA directly from tax preparation software. Processing of applications for EFILE registration may take up to 30 days. If your application is approved, you can participate in the program and file federal income tax returns.

    Important

    Note that, if you transmit returns electronically, the organization through which you are volunteering must register you for NetFile Québec so that you can transmit the Québec return.

    If you prepare paper returns or perform any other tasks giving you access to personal taxpayer information, you may be required to submit to a police background check.

Security of taxpayer information

You must ensure the security and confidentiality of taxpayer information at all times.

For more information about the Volunteer Program, see document COM-301-V, The Volunteer Program.

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