Tax Clinic FAQs

You should come equipped with office supplies that you require (pencils, paper, calculator, envelopes, stapler, stapler remover, and whiteout) as well as the income tax guideline provided in your volunteer package.

If you are planning on using a laptop and tax software, please confirm with your clinic ahead of time to discuss the set-up. Some clinics might not have printers available for use and/or you may need to bring cables to connect to the Internet, etc. The clinic should have extra tax forms on hand, but to be safe you may want to bring extra copies as well.

In late February, we will send you a volunteer information package for you to review prior to your clinic. The package includes abbreviated tax guidelines for completing taxes. You may also wish to review the CRA General Income Tax and Benefit Guide, available online and at your local post office.

We recommend confirming your appointment with the clinic ahead of time to go over parking and the materials you need to bring. You should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the clinic in order to have time to set up before your first appointment.

We advise organizations holding tax clinics that if there isn't a photocopier available on-site, volunteers will not be able to complete a second copy of the return due to time constraints. If you have extra time available and are able to complete a second copy by hand, you may do so. In instances where there isn’t enough time, the best thing you can do is to instruct the client that they need to get a copy of the return made before filing their return (post-it notes or reminders attached to the return are useful).
We do not recommend e-filing. Internet should not be a concern (unless you are trying to access the online help function in ProFile tax software).

Prior to attending the clinic, familiarize yourself with completing a paper return and bring a few with you to the clinic. An electronic copy is also located on the USB stick that you will be provided.

You can always seek an answer in the Help tab in the ProFile software, or call the ProFile help line at 1.800.452.9970 from Monday to Friday 10 am - 7 pm (EST). If you have access to a phone support volunteer, you may call them as well.

Volunteers reserve the right to complete a return that does not meet the gross earnings guideline. Best practice is to complete the return if it is still fairly simple and does not significantly go over the guideline. Upon completion of the return, you should kindly remind the clinic organizer how many clients exceeded the guidelines and by how much.

Volunteers are not required to complete returns for individuals who have self-employment income, rental income or real estate holdings, regardless of the amount of income. Also, volunteers are unable to complete returns for clients who have passed away, as these returns are too time consuming to be completed in the time allotted.

Please notify us and the organization as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, an alternate date can be arranged for you and the organization or we can try and find a substitute volunteer.

Some organizations are unable to make alternate arrangements for their clinics as they may have clients who have arranged transportation and face cancellation fees. Therefore, the earlier we know about your cancellation, the better chances there are for finding a replacement.

You can work with the organization and client to come back on a different date to complete the returns, or if the organization is holding additional clinics, the client might be able to attend on an alternate date.
To get experience with the software before your clinic, you can download a trial version of the software at www.profile.intuit.ca. Intuit has also created free online self-paced training modules rel="noopener noreferrer" for ProFile available at www.profiletraining.ca.

Under no circumstances are you permitted to use the tax software outside the tax clinic program. If you wish to use the software for personal use, you can purchase a copy at www.profile.intuit.ca.

Violation of the signed agreement could result in fines and/or the discontinued use of the software at future tax clinics. Failure to respect these guidelines could result in being dismissed from current and future volunteer programs.

In order to volunteer, you will need to be paired with a CPA mentor who will attend the clinic with you to provide assistance and answer any questions you may have on-site. If you do not know a CPA, we will try our best to pair you with a tax clinic mentor.

Only university students need a mentor, however candidates can request one if they wish.

To fix installation errors in French, follow these directions:

  1. Select Control Panel
  2. Select 'Regional and Language Options'
  3. Select the "Advanced" tab
  4. Select 'English (United States)' in the drop down box
  5. Restart computer
  6. Install ProFile
  7. Repeat steps 1-3 and return language to original setting
  8. Restart computer

We strongly advise volunteers to avoid bringing any returns home to complete or print. If you must bring a return home due to unusual circumstances, you must get permission from the client and advise the organization that you are doing so, as well as leave your contact information with both the client and organization. Returns should be completed and mailed promptly upon taking the return home (within 2 days).

Thanks to Intuit, our corporate partner for our tax clinic program, volunteers will receive access to a copy of ProFile tax software for use at the tax clinics.

In late February, we will send out an email asking individuals who wish to use the tax software to sign a confidentiality agreement. Once we receive your signed agreement, you will receive a link and access code to download the software.

If you have already installed the trial software, go to Help > License and enter the access code provided to you to launch the program.

No, you do not need a laptop to volunteer in the tax clinic program. Completing returns using a pencil, calculator and hardcopy tax forms is more than acceptable.

Clinic organizers will be provided with extra copies of the tax forms to assist those who have forgotten their return. In addition, most locations have a photocopier on-site.

If the clinic runs out of forms, you can download extra copies from the CRA website, provided you have access to the Internet. Additional copies can also be picked up at the post office. An electronic copy is also on the USB stick that you will be provided.

It is always a good idea to call the clinic prior to arriving to check if there are any additional resources they need you to bring.

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