By Caroline Battista, senior tax analyst at H&R Block
When it comes to taxes, a little preparation now will go a long way to helping you during tax season. It will make filing easier and help you get the biggest possible return. Here are five tips to help you prepare for the upcoming tax season.
Keep a calendar with key dates
Because timing is everything, keep a calendar with key tax filing dates. The deadline for filing your 2016 personal tax return is May 1, 2017, but June 15, 2017 for the self-employed. You can begin preparing your return once your T4s and other slips arrive.
To make sure you claim all the tax credits you qualify for, find out how major life events you may have had over the year can affect your tax situation. Did you have a child, suffer from an illness, or contribute to charity? These are all questions that help determine if you are eligible for additional benefits.
It is never too early to begin preparing for tax season so make sure you stay organized as you gather all your slips and receipts. Try to sort and label your income slips separately then bring together supporting documents like bills, tuition and education receipts and other major expenses.
Decide on your filing method
When it comes to filing, there are numerous tax preparation firms across the country that can offer support, with more than 1,200 H&R Block offices alone. There is also online DIY tax filing, including H&R Block Personal Tax Software.
Know who should file
If you are a newcomer to Canada, know that all Canadian residents are required to file their taxes regardless of their citizenship. So if you have arrived here under a refugee status, you are also required to file your taxes. Also, if you are a Canadian resident with little or no income, not filing a tax return means you will be missing out on some benefits that you may be entitled to, like the quarterly GST/HST credit or the Canada Child Tax Benefit. So get filing!
Caroline Battista, senior tax analyst at H&R Block
Caroline joined H&R Block as a tax professional in January 2008 after leaving behind a career in the film industry. Steadily promoted within her district, Caroline leveraged her acting skills to act as the local spokesperson and community representative for her area.
Promoted to Senior Tax Analyst in 2014, Caroline continues to support the field as a tax instructor and acts as H&R Block`s national spokesperson. She provides commentary on tax law changes and regulatory developments as well as translating tax into simple language.