For many people, tax season is one of the most stressful times of the year.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be, if you follow these tips to avoid common pitfalls and keep more of your hard-earned cash.
1. Do file your taxes, regardless of your income
Even if you don’t have any income to report, you could be eligible for a refund or tax credits, and the only way to receive these is to file every year.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
If you have a limited income, you may be eligible to receive free help with your tax return at a tax preparation clinic. Visit cra.gc.ca to find one in your neighbourhood.
3. Do report all your income
If you haven’t received the necessary slips from your employer, ask them for a copy or visit the CRA website for other options.
4. Don’t forget you can correct mistakes
If you already filed your return and didn’t report all of your income, you can change your return online or by completing a T1 Adjustment Request form. If you wish to correct a previous mistake, you can do so through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program.
5. Do take advantage of tax credits, benefits, and deductions
Before you file, visitcra.gc.ca/getready to learn about new and existing credits, benefits, and deductions that could save you money.
6. Don’t make a claim you’re not entitled to
If you’re not sure whether an expense is deductible, or you’re unsure where to enter it, consult your tax accountant. Many people inadvertently claim an expense that’s non-deductible, and then they get a surprise a few weeks later when their return is adjusted.
7. Do file on time to avoid penalties
Filing late can be costly. If you don’t file your return on time and you have a balance owing, you’ll be charged a penalty of 5% of the amount owing, plus 1% for each month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months. The penalty can double to 10% and 2% per month if this isn’t the first year you’ve filed late.
If you’re unable to pay the balance owing by the filing deadline, it’s still best to file on time to avoid incurring a penalty. Contact the CRA before the deadline and explain your situation; you may qualify for a payment arrangement or taxpayer relief.
This year’s filing deadline is Sunday, April 30.
8. Don’t lose your receipts
Keep documents for at least six years after filing, in case the CRA decides to review your return.
9. Do register your ‘My Account’ with the CRA
Once you’ve registered, you can view and print your T4 and other slips, as well as your Notice of Assessment, and set up your direct deposit account so you receive your refund sooner.
We hope you found these tips helpful. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet and you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us at
604-534-7701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.