Seneca College's innovation arm, Seneca Innovation in partnership with Prosper Canada, has developed an innovative online tax filing booking tool that will make it easier for Canadians to find and book appointments at Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) clinics.
The new online tool will provide clients with the convenience of booking appointments at multiple tax clinics on its platform. This is a boost from the current Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) version that only allow clients to approach one tax clinic at a time. With the new Seneca online tool, individual clients can access multiple tax clinics from one platform and select which clinic best suits their situation.
The conception of this project was initiated when Seneca Innovation received a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to develop an innovative tax filing booking tool. This project is titled "Decreasing Barriers Faced by Low Income Communities Through the Development of Innovative Online Assistance System for Tax Filing," and is part of NSERC's College and Community Social Innovation Fund.
In a bid to make this tool more intuitive and user friendly to the Canadian public, Seneca Innovation collaborated with Prosper Canada, a leading national charity that works to advance the financial well-being of Canadians living in poverty.
The design of the platform allows the services of the different tax clinics to be more apparent to the client, hence, clients can seamlessly compare which clinic can serve their specific situation, like location, family size, number of back taxes years filled.
The tool has the potential to benefit free tax clinics in serving low income people by increasing accessibility, improving time management, and enhancing efficiency. However, we are also carefully considering potential negative impacts, such as reduced personal interaction, increased demand, and limited accessibility, to ensure that the tool is effective and inclusive.
We are excited to pilot the tool during the 2023 tax season with select partners and look forward to sharing the results with the community. Our hope is that the tool will make the tax filing process a more seamless experience for all Canadians. Stay tuned for updates on the development of this innovative tool.