This spring, Steinbach Community Outreach is helping a lot more people file their income tax.
Charlene Kroeker is one of the staff that meets with people who qualify to have their taxes filed at no cost.
“We have people who come from all walks of life,” she says. “We've got newcomers to Canada, we've got of course your low-income families that are accessing our other services, various agencies will refer to our free income tax clinic for their clients.”
Kroeker says so far, they have helped around 300 people file their taxes.
That's an increase of approximately 80 from last year.
She believes the increase is the result of helping more people access various benefits and then finding out they have to first file their taxes before they can receive those benefits.
This increased traffic at Steinbach Community Outreach also provides an opportunity to connect more people to various resources.
“They might come in just to have their taxes done, but then we can also say, ‘here's a piece of information that might be useful to you’ or ‘here's something else you can be accessing’ and ‘ I noticed you have this piece of paper, that means you also qualify for this,’” Kroeker explains. “So, we sit down and get into a little bit of a discussion about how we can help them further with that.”
While waiting to meet with someone to file their taxes, Kroeker says people hang out and meet with other people at the centre.
“They'll connect with other people here, so it's been a big community building tool in a way,” she adds.