In a world full of anxiety during the outset and long-running COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer Desiar removed some worry from the minds of many locals - preparing and filing their income taxes.
And she did it for free.
“When I started my accounting firm, I just wanted to help people, especially those who found themselves behind in their taxes,” says Desiar, who opened Desiar Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in 2020.
“But with the pandemic, it added a whole other layer of worry for people who were unsure how to properly prepare and file their taxes."
Much to the thanks of those who took Desiar up on her offer of assistance, scores of locals were able to have the confidence their returns were done and filed correctly.
“It was really popular with single moms, single dads, low income families, students, seniors and newcomers to Canada,” Desiar says.
Her service also allowed Desiar to make home visits with her clients, during which she was able to not only show them first-hand the steps to prepare their information, but hopefully file by themselves next tax season.
“It’s really not all that complicated. But people are more scared about making a mistake and don’t have a good understanding of how the tax-filing process works,” she says. “So, I tried to explain the best that I could why they may owe money and why they could be getting a refund.”
While some clients felt they would be confident and savvy enough after her visit to undertake the tax filing process themselves, others said they’d prefer to have her help, again, next year.
Cost of filing their taxes was another determining factor when it came to requesting help, especially for those in the low income bracket.
“If they were to go to another tax preparation service, they would have been dinged about $120 to $150. That’s a significant amount to get your basic taxes done.”
Even tax preparation software to file a regular, uncomplicated return can add up. “And relying on a refund to help pay for the cost of the return was difficult, because everyone’s tax situation can be different,” Desiar explains.
“You may be low income, a single parent, but get government assistance for some things. So, how much you may get back, or may even have to pay, can vary a lot.
“But if it’s a very basic, simple tax return, you should be able to do it yourself and not have me do it for free.”
Still, many of her new clients said they wanted to give her something for her help.
“A lot of them, they felt bad I was working for free,” she laughs. “But that was OK, I really just wanted to give people some help and remove one of the worries they had, because most were already dealing with a lot.”
For more information about how Desiar Accounting & Bookkeeping Services can help with your personal or business accounting needs, visit desiaraccounting.ca.