In-depth understanding of the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program
The Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program is under the responsibility of the Makivik Treasurer.
Since its creation in 1993, the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program has always had one main objective: Assist beneficiaries to receive the benefits of filing their personal income tax return. Filing yearly tax returns, allows beneficiaries to benefit from very particular situations. The Makivik Volunteer Income Tax program plays an integral part in helping beneficiaries receive credits such as the Northern Resident’s Deduction, which is a credit specifically offered to people living in remote areas. Depending on individual situations, this credit can be upwards of $8,000 per tax payor. Another important reason to file income taxes is that it allows beneficiaries to receive Government payments such as Solidarity Tax Credits, GST Tax Credits and Family Allowances. The following is a brief explanation that outlines the challenges, achievements and future goals of the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program.
Taxation is not a commonly known subject, it requires a certain degree of understanding of all the applicable rules that apply to the proper filling of a tax return. Makivik prides itself on being able to offer the service of filling tax returns by hiring and training local beneficiaries from every community. Despite the challenges of teaching a complex subject such as taxation to sometimes first-time agents, Makivik invests well over $600,000 every year in the Tax program in order to provide agents with adequate training, supplies and support which enables them to offer the best level of service possible.
Unlike other Volunteer Tax Programs, the Makivik Volunteer Tax Program has the additional challenge of geographical distance of its beneficiaries. Given that most of the beneficiaries are spread across 14 communities in Nunavik, there is certainly a logistical challenge when it comes to filling tax returns. Through its 3 filling centers situated in Montreal, Inukjuaq and Puvirnituq the Program can meet the needs of many beneficiaries who sometimes do not even have access to internet.
Unlike many other projects, the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program must deal with a fixed filling deadline of April 30th for almost all beneficiaries (June 15th for self employed) with strict penalties for late fillers. Given that all Corporations must issue income tax slips no later then February 28, this leaves a small timeframe of 2 months to meet the filling deadline for all beneficiarie. Another challenge being that, at times our tax agents are not provided with the required documentation to properly complete a tax return. Knowing that time is of the essence in ensuring the deadline is met, Makivik agents are consistently able to file the vast majority of beneficiary tax returns on or before the April 30th deadline.
One of the Program’s biggest challenges, which is a small known fact is that the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program is one of the largest volunteer programs in Canada. Every year, over 6,000 tax returns are filled through the Program. It is through careful planning and consistent hard work that the Program is able to offer such a personalized service to every beneficiary while maintaining logistical control over so many files. The Program prides itself on satisfying the vast majority of its over 6,000 customers.
Since its beginnings, the program has achieved many different milestones along the way. The most significant achievements have been the financial benefits to beneficiaries and the knowledge transferred to beneficiaries through the hiring of beneficiary tax agents.
Through continuous efforts, the program communicates information on how to be entitled to certain credits offered by both governments while also encouraging beneficiaries to file their tax returns. In certain years, total refunds going back to Nunavik beneficiaries have been in the millions.
In the past year, Makivik has been able to collaborate more closely with the Federal and Provincial Governments. Revenue Canada participated during the 2018 Income Tax training providing Agents with additional support and information. Currently, Revenue Quebec is working on solutions to help Nunavik beneficiaries receive credits.
Achievements are not only financial, agents that participate in the Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program receive training and education allowing them to gain a better understanding of the personal tax system. In turn, they can then educate members of their community allowing beneficiaries to appreciate the value of filling a tax return in order to receive all the benefits they are entitled.
The Makivik Volunteer Income Tax Program will continuously look at ways in can improve in providing the best possible service to beneficiaries. Efforts are being made to improve the logistics behind managing such a challenging program. Additional efforts are also being put towards communicating the magnitude and importance of this Program.
In conclusion, the Makivik Income Tax Volunteer program is a valuable program to Nunavik beneficiaries. The Program will continuously focus on trying to provide the best possible service to beneficiaries. The Program has 2 full time staff, Mary Inukpuk in Inukjuak and Lisa Uqaituk in Puvirnituq who are available through out the year to answer your tax questions.
Income Tax Coordinator
Phone: (819) 988-2736
Toll Free: 1-866-988-2736
Income Tax Coordinator
Phone: (819) 254-8021
Toll Free: 1-888-254-8021