Free Tax Services
The Futures Forward program offers free taxes all year through Community Financial Counselling Services (opens in a new window).
Fill out an intake form to get started!
What are Taxes?
Canadians are primarily taxed on purchases, earnings, property and wealth by all levels of government. The purpose of paying taxes is to fund a variety of government facilities, services and programs. These could include: police, ambulance and fire services; schools; roads and bridges; hospitals; parks and libraries; garbage and recycling collection; and safety inspection of food, prescriptions and other products
The Government of Canada requires an income tax return to be filed to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) each year that you earn taxable income.
Learn more by taking this course (opens in new window) that will teach you about income taxes from the Canada Government
Why File Your Taxes
You could receive a refund or a variety of benefits depending on your financial situation.
People who are low-income are eligible for several reimbursements and grants from the government. Not sure if you are low-income? Check out the income chart (opens in a new window) provided by SEED Winnipeg (opens in a new window).
Filing your taxes is also a door that allows you to access other services. If you didn’t earn any income last year, you can still file your taxes and become eligible for benefits like a GST credit.
What Forms do I Need?
There are a variety of forms or tax slips that you will need to file your taxes. These are unique depending on your financial situation.
Begin by gathering your documents to report income and claim deductions. Some of the documents you will be asked to provide are employment income statements (T4 slip), employment and income assistance (T5007 slip), CERB income, scholarships/bursaries, or school funding (T4A slips).
For more information about what forms you need check out the Government of Canada’s website.
If you are unsure of what forms you need, contact a Futures Forward Financial Counsellor for free service to discuss your situation and determine what slips/information you may need to collect to file your income tax return.
What Benefits Am I Eligible For?
Even if you did not have taxable income to claim, there are other reasons why you should still file a return. Depending on income and personal situation, just by filing an income tax return, you might be eligible to receive refundable credits. These credits include:
- GST Credit
- Canada Workers Benefit*
- Canada Workers Benefit – Disability supplement*
- Refundable Medical Expense Supplement*
- Manitoba Personal Tax Credit (formerly cost of living rebate)
- Manitoba Education and Property Tax Credit (formerly rent rebate)
- Primary Caregiver Tax Credit
*must have some employment income to qualify
Technically some of the common tax benefits are really money refunds, and you receive the money throughout the year. Here are a few refunds you might be eligible for:
- GST/HST credit, a payment intended to offset all or part of the GST or HST paid. This is paid four times a year.
- Climate Action Incentive Payment (CAIP) – for qualifying provinces, until the tax year 2021 this had been included as part of the refund, but from 2021 forward is paid quarterly. Known often as the ‘carbon tax rebate’.
- Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a monthly payment that is determined based on the family’s net income, marital status, and number and age of the children in the family.
- Child Disability Benefit (CDB)– with the basic CCB if a dependent child in the family is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if you make no money, receive Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) or have a low income, you should file a tax return every year. Unfiled taxes could mean missing out on additional income & benefits programs that could improve a household’s financial situation.
Filing your income tax return also opens the door to being eligible to receive additional benefits or programs such as:
- Rent Assist
- Manitoba Pharmacare Deductible
- Subsidized Housing (Income-based rents)
- Child Tax Benefit/National Child Benefit Supplement
- Canada Learning Bond/Canada Education Savings Grant (in an RESP)
- Canada Disability Savings Bonds/Grants (in an RDSP)
The resource ‘Get Your Benefits’ – It’s a Fact: Better Income Can Lead to Better Health gives you some of the basic information about these programs and the program/resources contact details where a volunteer can find out more information or download applications. This publication can be very helpful and print versions can be ordered for free or viewed online and downloaded at www.getyourbenefits.ca
Free Help Filing Your Taxes
Your taxes can be filed by paper, phone or electronically with tax software. You can complete one of these methods on your own, and receive assistance for free or at a cost.
Free simple tax services are provided all year by the Futures Forward program unless:
- Are filing a Pre/Post Bankruptcy Return
- Are filing a Deceased Return
- Are Self-Employed
- Have employment expenses
- Have income sources that include Capital Gains, Farming Income, Commission Income, Investment Income over $1,000, Professional/Business Income, Rental Income
- Other complex returns
If you do not qualify for Futures Forward services check out the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website:
- Certified tax software (electronic filing) *Cost: free or can vary
- Authorize a representative *Cost: free or can vary
- Community volunteer tax clinic *Cost: free
- Discounter (tax preparer) *Cost: yes, can vary
- Paper tax return *Cost: free
If you owe money to the CRA you will be charged a late fee and any applicable interest until you file your return and pay back your balance owing.