Welcome to Concordia’s first free, student-run tax clinic
For low-income households or individuals, there’s one less reason to be nervous about doing their taxes this year: a free walk-in tax clinic debuting at Concordia.
The John Molson Accounting Society (JMAS) Tax Clinic will be open to the public on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The student-run clinic will provide tax support on a first-come, first-served basis at the John Molson School of Business Building (MB), on floors S1 and S2.
Who will do your taxes?
The JMAS is a non-profit, student-run association operating as a subsidiary of the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA).
“We implemented a rigorous process to select the right students for the job,” says Nicholas Chin, co-president of JMAS. “They had to be accounting students who’ve already taken the mandatory personal income tax class (ACCO 340).”
Applicants took a quiz and were given a case they had to solve, after downloading software, watching tutorials and PowerPoints. “We corrected their tests, gave feedback and selected 70 tax preparers, plus 30 reviewers. They sign confidentiality agreements and have to register with the Canada Revenue Agency.”
After talking to people who run tax clinics at other schools, the team expects around 500 people to avail themselves of the free drop-in service.
What to expect
Because Chin’s team aims to help low-income people, there is a maximum annual income requirement of $25,000 individually, or $30,000 per couple or single parent. You must also be a Quebec resident to access the clinic.
Those who are bankrupt, self-employed, or have capital gains or losses, rental income or foreign income are ineligible. View the website for more details.
Chin also notes how important it is to arrive with all the necessary documents.
“Read our website for a checklist of all the important things to bring, including your SIN number and expense receipts.”
Chin says the outreach initiative represents a unique opportunity for students wishing to pursue a career in accountancy to gain professional experience. “It can be hard for people in accounting to be philanthropists, so this is our way of giving back.”
Mark your calendars — the JMAS Tax Clinic takes place March 19 and 20, 2016.
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