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Get tax and money help: Our informal economy project

What is the informal economy? 

The informal economy includes workers who do not have a traditional job or paycheque, like babysitters, ride-share drivers, bicycle couriers, musicians, and people who have small cash-based businesses or do odd jobs. This work is called “under the table” if workers and employers don’t report it at tax time. But informal is not the same as illegal. Informal economy workers are not tax cheats. In fact, most are struggling and living in poverty.

How we can help

At West Neighbourhood House, we have spent several years talking to informal economy workers in our neighbourhood to learn about their lives and their needs. Through our Financial Empowerment and Problem-Solving program, we give low-income people free one-one-one advice about taxes and money. We’re here to listen and give guidance. We don’t push any specific products or share your information without your permission. You have the right to make decisions about your money.

How to get help 

Call (416) 848-7980 to make an appointment to get started with the Financial Empowerment and Problem-Solving (FEPS) program. It’s free and confidential. 

Who is “low-income”?

That depends on how much money you make (in total, from all sources), and how many people are in your household. For a single adult, low-income is considered $35,000 per year. If there are two people in a household, such as a couple living together, or one parent and one child, $45,000 is the limit. For a three-person household, it is $47,500. After that, allow for $2,500 for each additional person per year. Call to find out if you can qualify.

Are you a gig or informal worker? Questions about tax and money?

If you’re low-income, here are some quick facts about different tax situations you can find yourself in, and how we can help.

Click here to see some quick facts.

For community agencies 

We have made a series of tip sheets to help community agencies and informal economy workers to learn tax and money information that matters to them.

Click here to download a .zip file of all our tip sheets.

We have made a series of images to promote our informal economy work and the services we provide to low-income informal workers. Contact Genna Buck at for printed postcard versions.

Learn more

Our informal economy research spans years. You can learn more about our research in the documents below.

Low Income Adults in the Informal Service Economy (August 2018)

A Fortune Left on the Table: Why should low-income adults have to pass up government benefits? (June 2018)

Advancing Economic Opportunities in our Local Economy Phase Two (August 2016)

Tracking the Informal Economy Phase One (March 2014)

A literature review of the project:
Informal Economy Literature Review

Phase 2 Appendix: 
Project Appendix

The Informal Economy project was made possible thanks to the Metcalf Foundation.