You’re a very busy bee? Not always easy to find the time to do it all … on time. If you have not yet had the chance to prepare your tax return, don’t worry! It is easier than ever to do it yourself with the help of increasingly sophisticated at-home software. Not only will you save time, but money too!
Gerry Vittoratos, tax specialist at UFile, shares some last-minute tips and tricks for filing your own tax return.
Can I do my tax return online even after the deadline passes?
Yes, you can. NETFILE is open from early February until mid-January of the following year.
I’m a last-minute filer – what is the fastest way to do my tax return?
The best way is to use consumer software that offers specific tools to ensure no credits, deductions or transfers are overlooked and to file electronically. With the right software, the interview process should be quick and easy, and you should be able to complete a basic tax return within an hour.
What are the most important things to remember before getting started?
First thing is to get organized! Get all your tax documents, such as your slips, receipts, and your previous year’s Notice of Assessment in one folder for quick reference when you are completing your tax return. If you can’t find your Notice of Assessment, you can obtain a copy of it by logging into the My Account portal of the CRA and RQ. Once you have completed your tax return, make sure to properly archive your documents, for example, by scanning your slips and receipts.
Producing your tax return with your spouse, with software that caters to families, is the best way to optimize you and your spouse’s tax returns. There are certain amounts that are transferrable between you; by completing both returns together, your software should optimize those transfers automatically between you.
As a parent, which deductions and rebates am I entitled to?
There are several. You can deduct the childcare expenses you have incurred during the year. You can claim the fees you paid for any artistic or sporting activities you enrolled your child in (who is under 15 years old) as tax credits. The single parents can claim for your child for the eligible dependent credit, and you can transfer the income you received from the UCCB to your child. Remember also that to claim certain benefits related to your children, such as the Child Tax Benefit, you need to file a tax return.
Most of these credits are claimed automatically by UFile. Amounts that relate to expenses paid (childcare, sport/arts amount) need to be inputted in the program.
Until when can I contribute to an RRSP or TFSA?
You can contribute to both programs at any time. Where dates come into play is when you can deduct your contributions, more specifically for the RRSP. The contributions that are deductible for the current tax year are from March 2nd of that year until March 1st of the following year. Remember that you can only contribute what you are allowed in your RRSP, which is indicated on your Notice of Assessment. There is no deadline date for your TFSA, which is non-deductible on your tax return. Remember that these contributions are subject to a limit as well, which you can get in your My Account portal of the CRA.
Do I risk losing money if I file after the deadline?
It depends. If you have a refund, you are entitled to your refund regardless of when you file. If you have a balance owing, the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenue Quebec will charge you a penalty for late filing, which is 5% of your balance owing, and 1% for each full month that you are late. On top of it, you will also be charged interest on the balance owing that is unpaid. So the lesson here: file your tax return on time!