Become a Volunteer
Help people in your community by completing income tax returns free of charge, so they get the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to.
What is expected of a program volunteer?
Volunteers who participate in the income tax assistance program play a very important role: they prepare income tax returns for individuals with modest incomes and simple tax situations. However, the community organization a volunteer is affiliated with can assign them other roles, such as having them schedule appointments, check the eligibility of individuals, act as a resource person for other volunteers, or help organize income tax return preparation sessions.
Some community organizations may hold virtual income tax return preparation sessions. Their volunteers can complete tax returns for free:
- by video;
- by phone;
- by an adapted envelope system.
All volunteers must register to participate in the program. In addition, most volunteers must meet one or more specific requirements in order for their participation to be approved.
If you want to become a volunteer, make sure you meet the requirements for the role you take on with the participating organization. See a description of the roles below, under How to register as a program volunteer.
Regardless of your role, as a tax assistance program volunteer, you undertake to:
- participate in the program through a participating community organization;
- work within the program's operational framework;
- safeguard and respect the confidentiality of the information of the taxpayers you help;
- complete basic training on your responsibilities as a volunteer and on how to complete income tax returns;
- provide your services at no charge and decline any offer of a monetary reward;
- always identify yourself as a tax assistance program volunteer and not as a representative of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Revenu Québec.
Note that you must be physically located in Canada to participate as a volunteer in the tax assistance program and prepare income tax returns for eligible individuals.
What are the benefits of being a program volunteer?
As a program volunteer, you will:
- have access to tax preparation software provided under the income tax assistance program;
- receive online training (Web pages to read) and case scenarios to learn about your responsibilities and acquire basic knowledge about personal income tax;
- develop new knowledge and earn experience completing the federal and provincial income tax returns;
- have year-round access to toll-free phone lines reserved for you;
- receive certificates of appreciation from the CRA and Revenu Québec.
How to register as a program volunteer
Step 1 – Complete the online registration form
To register for the income tax assistance program, click Register as a Volunteer.
Step 2 – Register for the CRA and Revenu Québec online filing services
The online filing service allows authorized suppliers to file income tax returns with the CRA and Revenu Québec online, using return preparation software.
Under the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program, returns prepared using software are usually filed online with the CRA and Revenu Québec. Volunteers who want to use this type of service must be authorized by the CRA and Revenu Québec.
If you intend to file returns online with the CRA and Revenu Québec, do the following as soon as possible:
- Register for the EFILE service and get authorization from the CRA.
Note that changes have been made to the EFILE registration/renewal forms to improve the systems' safety and security. As a result of these changes, all EFILE registrations and renewals now require a RepID.
Volunteers who already have a RepID must provide it when they register/renew their accounts. Volunteers who do not have a RepID can get one by registering with the Represent a Client service.
- Ask the organization you are affiliated with to register you with Revenu Québec's NetFile Québec service to get the necessary authorization to file returns (you cannot register yourself).
- If you do not intend to file income tax returns online, you should not request an EFILE number simply to meet the security requirements.
- Once the CRA has confirmed your authorization for EFILE, the application for a NetFile Québec number will be approved. The EFILE verification process can take up to 30 days.
Step 3 – Meet the security requirements
In order to participate as a volunteer in the income tax assistance program, you must meet one of the following security requirements, depending on what role you take on:
- If you intend to file income tax returns online, you must have the necessary authorization from the CRA. The authorization is considered to be 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 or file paper returns or you foresee having to handle or having to access personal and tax information, you must provide the results of a background check done within the last three years to the organization you are affiliated with. The organization can also directly request to have the results of a background check.
A background check can be done by any police service, including municipal and regional police forces, or by a private company that provides personal background checks. There is usually a cost associated with obtaining a background check.
A background check done using a court ledger (a register kept by the Ministère de la Justice) is not considered a valid background check under the tax assistance program.
A background check done within the last three years is considered valid under the program. You will not need to have a new one done.
The CRA's Auto-fill my return
Auto-fill my return is an optional and secure CRA service that allows you, as a program volunteer, to automatically fill in parts of a taxpayer's federal income tax return using software provided under the program.
The service gives you access to taxpayers' CRA files when completing their returns.
If you want to use the Auto-fill my return service, you must:
- register for the Represent a Client service and get a representative identifier (RepID);
- register as a volunteer for the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program (when registering, enter your RepID on the registration form or give it to your program coordinator after your registration);
- register for the CRA's electronic filing service (EFILE) and receive confirmation of your authorization for the service after verification of your eligibility;
- provide the results of a valid background check done within the last three years to the organization you are affiliated with (the organization can also directly request to have the results);
- use the software provided under the income tax assistance program: UFile CVITP;
- use UFile CVITP to submit the Authorization request – Signature page for each taxpayer for whom you are using the Auto-fill my return service.
The Auto-fill my return service lets you download tax data for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Revenu Québec's Tax Data Download service – New
The Tax Data Download (TDD) service is a secure Revenu Québec service that lets program volunteers who have been authorized by the CRA and Revenu Québec to automatically complete parts of a taxpayer's Québec income tax return using software provided under the program. The TDD service allows volunteers to access taxpayer information held by Revenu Québec when filing the taxpayer's Québec income tax return.
If you want to use the TDD service, you must:
- be a volunteer whose registration for the income tax assistance program has been approved;
- register for the CRA's electronic filing service (EFILE) and get an EFILE number;
Changes have been made to the EFILE registration and renewal forms to improve security. As a result, volunteers need a representative identifier (RepID) to register for EFILE or renew their registration.
You can get a RepID by registering for the Represent a Client service. If you already have one, you will have to provide it when renewing your registration.
- be registered by your organization with NetFile Québec and have an access code (the NetFile Québec access code and the EFILE number are required to download tax data held by Revenu Québec);
- use the tax software provided under the program;
- get the taxpayer's consent by:
- having them sign an Authorization to Download Tax Data: Income Tax Assistance — Volunteer Program (COM-1076.TD.A-V); or
- having them give you their download code.
The TDD service is only available through UFile CVITP, and the download code can only be used for the current year.
Accountants and tax professionals
If you are an accountant or tax professional and you want 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. 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.