By Tammy Schneider
Members of the Ontario CPA (Certified Professional Accountants) Association are doing their part to help front line healthcare workers during the pandemic.
The association has launched an initiative, Accounting for Bravery: Tax Help for the Frontline, connecting volunteer CPAs with healthcare workers. The CPAs will prepare 2019 tax returns for these workers, free of charge. To respect physical distancing recommendations, all information will be shared electronically, without face-to-face meetings.
After completing a simple online form, eligible healthcare workers will be connected to a CPA who can receive their documentation electronically.
In an effort to help as many frontline workers as possible, the program will cover simple individual, spousal and dependent children’s tax returns for any frontline healthcare workers in hospitals or nursing homes. This includes, but is not limited to, nurses, paramedics, doctors, cleaning staff, PSWs, lab technicians or other health care professionals who are dealing directly with COVID-19.
John Wonfor, the national tax office leader at BDO head office, works for one of companies approached by the Ontario CPA to see if they would participate, and the company immediately jumped on board. BDO has participated in free tax preparation programs in the past, usually with seniors and lower income individuals, and always in a face-to-face fashion. This time, all preparations will be done virtually. He expects the company may handle between 500 and 1,000 returns.
“These are challenging times for everybody across the country,” said Wonfor.
He said this is one, small way they can help people out who are on the front lines of this pandemic.
“They are leading the fight against this.”
To participate, applicants must pre-register online to confirm they meet the criteria for the program. The intake form can be found at https://www.cpaontario.ca/accounting-for-bravery.
By Tammy Schneider