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Calgarians risk losing out on thousands in benefits by not filing their taxes

For families living on low incomes, tax filing offers access to tax credits, grants, bonds and subsidies that can ease their financial strains—for example, a family of four with an income of $31,000 could be eligible for up to $16,000 in benefits.

Many people living on low incomes mistakenly believe that because they don’t owe taxes back, they don’t need to file. Others face barriers with changing technology or knowledge of the documentation needed. Many financial companies have tax advisors that can offer assistance, however, the cost for these services can be too high for people with limited incomes. Free tax clinics are available to help people living on low incomes to file their taxes. Sixteen agencies across the city are offering clinics between now and April 30th.

In addition to assisting people with accessing the benefits, this year’s tax clinics program includes a new partnership between Momentum and ATB Financial called Tax Time Savings presented by ATB. To facilitate the habit of savings, Momentum and ATB are offering Calgarians living on low incomes up to $500 if they pledge to save their refund for one year.

“Tax season may be the only time of year when someone living on a low income might be expecting a lump sum of money,” said Donna McBride, Director of Operations at Momentum. “By capitalizing on that opportunity and offering participants a 50% boost on their tax return if they save it for a year, Tax Time Savings presented by ATB incentivizes short-term savings goals in the hopes of building long-term saving behaviors. Increasing savings, reducing debt and building assets are foundational to all of us moving forward. By offering opportunities at key moments in life, where the rewards far outweigh the risks, we help people living on low incomes set themselves up for success.”

Signing up is as easy as attending a Tax Time Savings presented by ATB workshop. You can access workshop details by calling 211. Or contact one of the participating agencies:

Sunrise Community Link

First Lutheran Church
403-242-4544 ext 203

Centre for Newcomers

“Momentum is thrilled to be partnering with ATB Financial on Tax Time Savings,” Donna said. “Each partner will play a distinct role in creating opportunities for participants to learn money management skills, develop strong relationships with a mainstream financial institution and begin to look at their future with confidence and hope.” As a part of the Calgary’s Enough for All strategy, Financial Empowerment was established in 2015 by the United Way, the City of Calgary, and several community partners to offer opportunities that empower low income individuals to reduce their debt, increase their savings and build their assets. Tax Time Savings presented by ATB is the newest addition to the Financial Empowerment suite of programs.

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