Reference material for CVITP volunteers

Thank you for joining the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) team.

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Volunteer guidelines

  • Secure taxpayer information always

    You must keep all taxpayer information secure and confidential. Follow these measures always:

    • Do not use or divulge the taxpayer's information for any reason other than to complete their return.
    • Handle the taxpayer's information securely and store it in a locked drawer or cabinet.
    • Return all personal documents to the taxpayer.
    • Do not complete Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative. As a volunteer, you cannot act as an authorized representative for any CVITP client.
    • Do not save copies of a taxpayer’s return on the hard drive of a computer. Encrypt returns using the tax software and save the files on a USB flash drive only. If the tax software does not encrypt returns, use an encrypted USB flash drive.
    • Use EFILE to transmit the taxpayer’s return within 48 hours of preparation. Verify the return was successfully transmitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
    • Erase files from your USB drive using the drive format option. You must do this no later than 48 hours after a return is accepted by the CRA.
    • Do not keep any copies of a taxpayer’s return (paper or electronic).
    • If you complete a paper return, give it to the taxpayer. Tell them to mail it to the CRA.
    • If you have any type of security breach, advise your community organization and your CRA coordinator immediately (this could include lost, stolen or compromised data).
  • Get proof of identity from the taxpayer

    You must get proof of identity from the taxpayer before you complete their return. Proof of identity should:

    • be valid
    • be government issued
    • include a photo

    Examples of identification include:

    • provincial or territorial (or equivalent abroad) driver's license or photo identification
    • Canadian or foreign passport
    • Certificate of Indian Status
    • military or other government employee identification card
  • Determine if the taxpayer is eligible for help

    Individuals must have a modest income and a simple tax situation to be eligible for the CVITP. Community organizations may also establish additional criteria.

    To determine modest income, use the following chart.

    Suggested income levels

    Family size Total Family income
    One person $30,000
    One person with one dependant $35,000 (add $2,500 for each additional dependant)
    Couple $40,000 (add $2,500 for each dependant)

    You should not complete returns for individuals who:

    • are self-employed or have employment expenses
    • have business income and expenses (unless income is in box 048 on a T4A slip and less than $1,000 with no related expenses)
    • have rental income and expenses
    • have interest income over $1,000
    • have capital gains or losses
    • file for bankruptcy
    • are completing a tax return for a deceased person

    You are not expected to answer complex tax questions. If a taxpayer needs information beyond your expertise, refer them to cra.gc.ca/individuals or 1-800-959-8281.

  • Identify yourself as a volunteer

    Identify yourself as a volunteer. Do not represent yourself as an employee or representative of the Canada Revenue Agency.

  • Complete Form TIS60, Taxpayer Authorization

    The taxpayer must sign Form TIS60, Taxpayer Authorization, to allow a volunteer to complete their return.

    • Always get the taxpayer to sign Section I. If you use the Form TIS60 generated by the UFile software, print the form.
    • Always get the taxpayer to sign Section II before you EFILE a return.
    • Always give the completed form to the taxpayer to keep with their records. Do not tell them to send it to the Canada Revenue Agency.
    • Never keep a copy of a taxpayer's Form TIS60 or send it to the Canada Revenue Agency coordinator.
  • What to do if you suspect you were given false information

    If you know or suspect that the information the taxpayer gave you is not accurate, or contains omissions, withdraw your services.

  • Count yourself in!

    Enter "1" in box 487 to show the return was prepared by a volunteer. This is done automatically if you are using the tax software. Box 487 can be found on the bottom-left of page 4 of the paper return.

    Box 487 with a 1 entered in it

  • Print the tax return summary

    Print the tax return summary and give it to the taxpayer for their records. If you can’t print it, copy the information on to Form T1260, Income Tax and Benefit Return Summary.

  • Do not charge for your services

    CVITP services are free of charge. You cannot charge for services and must decline any offers of monetary reward. Anyone found charging a fee will be removed from the program. Their CVITP EFILE account will also be suspended.

  • Avoid a conflict of interest

    Do not create a conflict of interest between your work as a CVITP volunteer and your private or business activities. Never promote your private or business activities to CVITP clients. You must get a separate EFILE number to use for the CVITP.

  • Use the UFile software for the CVITP only
    • Do not copy or allow copies to be made of the UFile software.
    • Only use UFile to complete returns for eligible CVITP clients.
    • Do not use the UFile software for monetary gain.

CVITP dedicated help line for volunteers

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a help line for community organizations and volunteers participating in the CVITP. This help line is open from February to April. CRA agents will answer questions about:

  • individual income tax
  • EFILE
  • EFILE error code messages
  • the tax preparation software

The tax preparation software and EFILE

Go to tax software and EFILE for CVITP to find out how to:

  • set up and use the tax preparation software
  • follow EFILE procedures
  • get UFile and EFILE help

CVITP forms and useful resources

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