Tax Time Savings Program helps make savings a priority

25 September 2019
Learning how to save money can come in many forms such as sticking to a budget, cutting spending and finding the right tools to help you. For those living on low income, saving can be an even greater challenge however; one proven way is finding ways to boost your tax refund. 

Alex* became a Tax Time Savings (TTS) participant recruited from one of the free tax clinics operated through Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre.  Sunrise, in partnership with Momentum, Aspire Calgary and ATB Financial worked together to offer the TTS program during the 2018 and 2019 tax years. 
  
Sunrise helps to meet the needs of families and individuals who are experiencing poverty or a significant life event or crisis. In Alex’s case, she found out about the TTS program through a poster in her Calgary Housing complex. Alex’s primary source of income is from Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), which means she would normally not receive a tax refund, however, her part-time seasonal work meant that she was able to qualify for the program.

The TTS Program is designed specifically to boost a tax refund. If Alex can save between $200 and $1,000 from her tax return, they will match her savings by 50 per cent after one year. This means that if she is able to save the maximum of $1,000, they will add an additional $500. Alex was motivated and eager to take full advantage of the TTS Program as she finds it difficult to save money when living off a fixed-income. Alex shared that some months she has only a few dollars remaining in her account. Thanks to the TTS Program’s saving incentives, Alex is making saving a priority, even if that means stretching her dollars elsewhere. 
  
Alex plans to be able to use the matched money to purchase a mobility scooter to help her get around, particularly when she is out in the community. Alex is saving money regularly, attending the Financial Literacy workshops, and has been eager to learn more about different programs. She has joined different programs offered to her as her network of resources builds thanks to the connection to the TTS Program. Alex is thankful for the program and for this unique savings opportunity provided to her through ATB Financial and Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre. 
 
*Names have been changed to protect clients' identity. 

Momentum
Momentum is a community economic development organization operating in Calgary since 1991. Momentum partners with people living on low incomes to build their assets through programs in financial literacy, business development and skills training. Momentum also works at the systems level to improve conditions for all Albertans through partnerships, capacity building, policy development and advocacy. Momentum is a Financial Empowerment Champion in partnership with Calgary's Financial Empowerment Collaborative.