Accounting Student Association helps SFU students file taxes for free

Application deadline for the tax program is March 31

a phone calculator with tax forms next to it
Clients will meet remotely with volunteer student accountants. PHOTO: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

By: Karissa Ketter, News Writer

SFU’s Accounting Student Association (ASA) is offering a program to help SFU students file their taxes this April — the community volunteer income tax program (CVITP). SFU students can apply to become CVITP volunteer accountants and undergo training and certification from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

The program currently has 220 clients. Applications for clients to have their taxes done ends on March 31, 2022. Taxes will be filed from March 15–April 22.  

SFU students are eligible to apply for the program if they’re a single person with an annual income of less than $30,000. 

ASA director of finance, Adrian Wong, spoke with The Peak about the benefits of the program. 

“There’s that saying in high school, where they never actually teach you anything you’re gonna need [in] life. And really, we have never learned how to file taxes in high school,” said Wong. “It’s pretty awesome that the CRA and other students that have experience will literally just teach you for free.”

As the director of finance, Wong oversees the CVITP and the team of tax project managers who run the program. “I don’t actually do any of the tax filing. I do wish I could, but for some reason the CRA only lets people with Windows software file taxes,” said Wong. 

Any SFU student can apply to be a volunteer accountant for this program. Volunteer accountants first go through a rigorous screening process from the ASA before they are hired. This includes a test of financial literacy, client interaction skills, and a mock email process to clients. Then they attend a CRA workshop held in partnership with the ASA to become certified. 

Wong noted sometimes clients who use the program are interested in becoming volunteer accountants the following year. “After seeing how they’re helping people and how much they’re learning, maybe you want to learn to be able to independently do it yourself.” 

Once clients apply into the program, they have a virtual meeting session with their assigned volunteer accountant. “They’ll file the taxes, they’ll go over everything and they’ll be done,” said Wong. 

The program currently has around 40 volunteer accountants who passed the screening tests. “We were aiming for 400 clients but obviously the more the better,” said Wong. This is so they can provide each volunteer with 10 clients. 

For more information on eligibility and client applications, visit the ASA website.

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