The Trent Accounting Society (TAS) has operated for many years, offering events and most recently student-focused income tax return preparation. The program is overseen by the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA’s), Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), offering timely educational training, resources complemented by organizations who maintain passionate volunteers. These volunteers are passionate about assisting people obtain the many benefits offered by the CRA. As a non-profit organization, TAS has strived to operate in-person. Despite the pandemic, TAS was able to transition to a virtual preparation, thereby offering timely service and support to the student population.
The student population benefits from this free service, as well as the volunteers – who are eligible to apply for a co-curricular record entry. Due to the value this program has provided, since initiated in 2019 at Trent, the Trent Community Research Centre (TCRC), in collaboration with TAS is offering a 2023 Community-Based Research Project (CBR). This project is designed to provide the student undertaking this project with an opportunity to conduct a grey literature review to identify best practices for user engagement, barriers to access, and pandemic-related impacts in similar programs. The research themes are economics and social.
The CRA is aware of the project, and is open to hearing the research results, to possibly improve the program’s future operation funding. This project is designed to be a single/discreet – single year project, as a great opportunity for undergraduate students.
The opportunity for undergraduate students involves the various demographics in society who rely on volunteer tax return preparation services and tax clinics during annual tax seasons. This project will help to expose potential barriers to access of these services and provide an improved understanding of how the program may reach community partners, patrons, and groups to utilize the CVITP program. The program will not be reaching out to the community members who use the service.
The research question focus will be volunteer recruitment/retention; status of program funding; training delivery. These findings will culminate in a dissemination of the survey and analysis of the results, particularly in comparison to findings from the grey literature review. A report and presentation will serve as the means to disseminate the research to the broader community.
This research will strengthen the program to provide greater service to the Trent community in years to come. The program will provide resilience, independence, and confidence to continue learning about individual tax return preparation. Additionally, greater understanding of the tax rules will provide a pathway to tax planning.
TAS has provided/completed two hundred tax returns since 2019. This research hopes to expand the service to the greater Trent and Peterborough communities offering CVITP.
For more information – please contact Brittany Finigan email@example.com; Ryan Sisson firstname.lastname@example.org; or email@example.com
TAS offers ongoing tax return preparation service to the Trent community, under adherence to the rules of the CVITP.