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UNB Law Tax Clinic helps students navigate the world of income tax

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Feb 10, 2020

Category: UNB Fredericton

With the 2020 tax season just around the corner, the Law Tax Clinic at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton is ready to open its doors to students.

Led by a team of law students and guided by a faculty member, the clinic offers regular information seminars and provides students the opportunity to obtain advice and assistance in preparing and filing their income tax returns. The clinic is run in partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program; all services are free of charge to UNB students.

Law students enrolled in the clinical course gain hands-on experience in Canadian personal income taxation and develop a sense of community service – one of the core values of the university.

The clinic is the brainchild of UNB law professor Vokhid Urinov and joint law and master of business administration student Samer Alam. They see it as an opportunity for students to teach their peers the importance of tax compliance.

“Many students believe that filing an income tax return is irrelevant in their student years as they have little to no income to report. This is a common misconception,” says Prof. Urinov. “Students may receive significant tax refunds in the years immediately following graduation if they have been filing tax returns while studying.”

Some student expenses can be offset against future income to reduce taxes if the person has been filing with the CRA while incurring those expenses. Additional benefits for filing income tax returns as a student include GST/HST credits, the child tax benefit, and RRSP deductions.

Many students are unaware of these benefits, especially international students, who may not be familiar with the Canadian income tax system.

“UNB has about 900 international students at the moment. We anticipate demand among these students and look forward to helping them understand their rights and obligations as Canadian taxpayers.”

While the clinic is still in its infancy, Prof. Urinov has plans to broaden its scope in the coming years.

“It would be fantastic to open the clinic’s doors to the general public, especially for low-income individuals in the Fredericton community. We would also like to provide tax research and information for those who have general tax law questions or problems but who cannot afford to pay a lawyer or an accountant.”

All students are invited to attend an upcoming public seminar to learn more about how they can participate.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 11: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Faculty of Law, Room 2A
  • Wednesday, Feb. 19: 11:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m., HIL, Milham Room 100
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26: 11:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m., HIL, Milham Room 100

The clinic will be located in Room 301B of The Gérard V. La Forest Law Library and will run the entire month of March.

Visit unb.ca/taxclinic for updates.

Media contact: Ed Bowes

Image credit: Ed Bowes