The University of Manitoba Students’ Union will be holding a “Super Clinic” on March 16 in the UMSU Flex Space to help students with their tax returns and other documents.
The UMSU Super Clinic is being organized together with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Service Canada. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., students will be able to have their tax returns done for free, and will also be able to ask business-related questions if they have a small business or are self-employed.
UMSU vice-president finance and operations Brook Rivard explained that shortly after the Flex Space area was redeveloped following a fire in 2020, the union was eager to provide programming in the space that would be beneficial for students. UMSU chose to hold a tax clinic in the space, as the CRA had reached out to the union and expressed interest in holding a workshop on campus to help students.
“It’s basically just a simple tax clinic, where students are going to be able to come in, get their taxes looked at and assistance on actually completing it,” Rivard said.
He added that students could also obtain SIN numbers and access other tax services, such as updating their address or reviewing any filings or mail from the CRA with a professional.
Students seeking a SIN number should bring one of the following documents: a study permit that grants the holder permission to work, a work permit or documentation confirming permanent residency or Canadian citizenship. Additionally, students should bring one form of government-issued ID.
Rivard explained that a lack of tax information resources near campus was one of the main motivations behind the clinic. He said that these kinds of workshops on campus allow students to conveniently get all of their taxes done in one place, rather than trying to track down resources on their own.
Rivard hopes that UMSU partnering with the CRA and promoting the event will help make more students aware of the resources available to them through the clinic, and that students in need of assistance will take advantage of the available support.
“Taxes can certainly be a really confusing thing, and not everyone has the luxury of just sending it off to their parents and having their parents pay an accountant for it,” he said.
Rivard thinks that students may need assistance with filing taxes as they are not often taught the necessary skills in high school.
“It’s just a constant thing, year on year, where students are coming out and they’re not quite fully understanding how to do these things that they’re needing to do now that they’re 18,” he said.
“They’ve moved beyond high school, they’ve got proper incomes, proper tax statements to be dealing with.”
This is the first year that UMSU is organizing a clinic for taxes, but Rivard said that UMSU has discussed plans to continue to offer and expand upon these types of workshops in the future. The clinic was originally planned to be a week-long event, which would have allowed students with different class schedules to have more opportunities to stop by.
“Only having one day, there’s a bottleneck,” Rivard said. “There’s only so many students that we would be able to have actually get assistance.”
However, CRA was unable to accommodate more than one day this year.
Rivard said that UMSU will look to plan future tax workshops that last for a longer period of time.
Rivard hopes that many students go to the clinic and take advantage of the resources offered by UMSU, Service Canada and CRA.
“Hopefully it leads to a better understanding of how to do your taxes as a whole,” he said.