your path to accessing financial resources
You may find that some of the programs and services you need to access for financial help require current information about your income. This is to help them determine if you qualify for their program. Some programs are only available to persons at a lower income, while other programs use income to help them determine the amount of assistance or help they can provide to you. Many financial assistance programs are in high demand, and income is one factor that is used to ensure resources get to those who need it.
For this reason, many government and charitable programs will ask for a recent Notice of Assessment. That is the assessment form you receive BACK from the Canada Revenue Agency after you file your tax return every year. It is the official statement of your reported annual income.
If you don’t have a copy of your most recent Notice of Assessment, you can obtain it from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by: (1) going on-line to the “My Account” section of the CRA website and registering for an account; once registered, you can print any Notices of Assessments issued since February 9, 2015; (2) calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 and request a copy be mailed to you.
What if you haven’t filed a tax return recently, you are new to Canada, or your income has changed significantly since that time? Most organizations will accept additional forms of income statements to show what your CURRENT income situation is, such as pay stubs, EI statements, a letter from your employer or benefits administrator, etc. They may still want a copy of your Notice of Assessment, however, for comparison to show your income has changed.
It is important to clarify what personal information is required by an organization and what will be done with this information when applying for financial assistance. You do not have to reveal your Social Insurance Number (SIN), account numbers, or government program online login details to any charitable organization. You also do not have to go into personal details of your situation. If financial proof is required as part of your application to a charitable organization’s financial assistance program, all that is typically required on the document(s) is your name and your gross or net income information. You may also need to include your partner’s income information as well.
If you feel it is in your best interest to update your taxes, but don’t know where to start, there are options for assistance. The first place to start would be to check out tax filing companies in your area and see what they might charge for assistance in completing your return. If the fees are beyond your budget, AND your tax return(s) are straightforward, look to your local library or cancer patient organization for options. During tax filing season and, in some case, throughout the year, there are volunteer programs that help you complete the paperwork.