2024 Tax Clinic: Giving back to the NorQuest community

April 10, 2024

2024 Tax Clinic: Giving back to the NorQuest community

This year's clinic saw an unprecedented level of participation from students, alumni, and guest volunteers, along with invaluable support from NorQuesters to make a significant impact on both students' professional development and the greater community.  

This year's Tax Clinic was unique in several ways. Firstly, the clinic was extended to three weeks and opened to the public, embracing a hybrid model of both in-person and virtual services. This expansion catered to a wider audience and provided essential tax services to those in need, including newcomers, seniors, and those with mobility challenges. 

Students were provided with hands-on experience using professional tax software, aligning curriculum with real-world practices. Additionally, services were extended to include previous years' tax filings, virtual tax filing to vulnerable community members, and assisting clients with diverse needs, including foreign income, disabilities, completing child tax benefits forms, and Canada carbon rebates and GST/HST benefits forms. 

72.65% of filers were first-timers, demonstrating the college’s commitment to assisting newcomers, international students, vulnerable populations, and the Edmonton community at large.  

The economic benefits of the extended clinic were substantial. 1,532 individuals were served, compared to 696 in the previous year. The numbers speak volumes:  

• Total refunds to clients: $462,597.05  

• Total GST rebates: $302,269.51  

• Total Child Tax Benefit: $1,294,504.65  

• Total Canada Carbon Rebate: $282,056.32  

• Total minimum benefits to our clients, including refunds: $2,341,427.53  

The NorQuest tax clinic is a unique clinic under the umbrella of the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program due to the extensive student participation. Students who volunteered say they are proud of the work they did and expressed a sense of belonging. 

“There’s a great sense of community and fulfillment derived from helping others file their taxes,” shared Jenelle Jackson, a student volunteer. Another volunteer, Uzezi Ugeh, agreed and emphasized the importance of practical experience in taxation and the fulfillment from making a positive difference.  

Sandeep Kaur, a student volunteer, reflected on the invaluable experience: “I was so happy to help people while expanding knowledge from my classes at the same time.”  

Uhraine Miller, expressed gratitude for the guidance received from FBET lecturers, “I’m really thankful for the new skills we got.” 

Language Instruction also ran an additional tax clinic for Newcomer (LINC) students, who learned and used their new skills to help other students with their taxes. It has been such a positive experience for students learning English, as it helps build their confidence and boost their self-esteem.

This year 28 LINC students, who have never filed taxes in Canada before, received training, and learned what all the different tax slips are, and how to use tax software. Though daunting for some, over a five-day period, volunteering 4 hours each day, these amazing students helped 125 students and family members file their taxes, often working as interpreters as well. Their hard work resulted in over $500,000 in refunds and benefits being paid out in the upcoming year.  

Dr. Akram Abubaha, the NorQuest College Tax Clinic Coordinator shared his sentiment, “I am immensely proud of our students' growth and the tangible impact we have made on our community. The Tax Clinic serves as a bridge between classroom learning and real-world application, empowering our students to become valuable assets in the workforce. I eagerly anticipate our continued involvement in the Tax Clinic, knowing that each year brings new opportunities for learning, service, and community engagement.”  

We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming support from our volunteers, faculty, & staff, with 100 individuals generously contributing their time and expertise. Special thanks to our partners from Intuit Canada for providing professional software licenses and to the Canada Revenue Agency for their invaluable assistance. 

Learn more about the NorQuest tax clinic - Watch here