Before You File Yourself, Here’s Some Tips

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

It’s tax time, and that dreaded chore of filing your taxes is weighing on your mind. Do you do it again this year yourself? Filing your taxes is more than just about your T4 or RRSP, there are other deductions you should think about, and some depending on the Province you live in. And, do you file online (preferable) or via paper (takes weeks to get processed and to get your refund)?

Online or Paper Filing

In 2017, 22 million or 90% of income tax filers used online filing and will probably grow to closer to 100% within a couple of years. Even returns for deceased people can now be filed online. Online filing is fast and secure, and generally your return is processed within 8 business days, and you’re refund sent within that time. For faster refunds, use direct deposit.

There usually is no requirement to paper file your taxes anymore, except maybe for someone who’s deceased or a non-resident. If you choose to file via paper, then you need to realize it can take up to 6 weeks to process your return and get your refund cheque.

It makes absolutely no sense to file via paper anymore.

Slips and Receipts

You need to gather up all your T-slips (T3, T4, T4A, T5, etc.), RRSPs, donations, medical expenses, etc. 

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Do you have kids? 
  • Did they go to post-secondary school?
  • Do you have the T2202A?
  • You can only claim the tuition
  • For BC, did they do arts or sports?
  • Do you have the official receipts from the organization?
  • Did you go to school?
  • If you did, then you need a T2202A from the post-secondary institution
  • Did you sell your home?
  • Gather all your documents for your original purchase and the sale of the home.
  • Do you have foreign income?
  • This could be investments you have outside Canada that aren’t on a T-slip.
  • Do you get a pension from a foreign government? US? UK?
  • Do you have investments outside retirement accounts?
  • Did you get a T5008 show shares you disposed of during the year?
  • You need to find out the cost of those shares; talk to your financial planner.
  • Are you or a child disable?
  • Did you file for the Disability Tax Credit (T2201A)?
  • You must have a T2201A on file with CRA in order to claim the disability tax credit.
  • your Social Insurance Number, as well as your spouse’s and children’s.
  • your birthdate, as well as your spouse’s and children’s. 
  • If you’re carrying forward from last year, ensure your address and email are correct.

You may want to:

  • Sign up for direct deposit to receive your refund faster and any benefit or credit payments owed to you, deposited directly into your bank account. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/directdeposit to learn how to sign up for direct deposit.
  • Make sure the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has your updated address and direct deposit information before you file. The fastest way to update both is by using My Account. To register for My Account, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount. You can also use this service later to view your tax slip information, look up your RRSP deduction limit, and check the status of your refund or your Canada child tax benefit or GST/HST credit payments.
  • To file online, you need to complete your return using certified software or a certified web application. This may even help you identify benefits and credits that you may have missed if you filed on paper! The CRA has a list of software options-some that you have to buy and some that you can use for free-at www.netfile.gc.ca/software.
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About the Author

President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.