4 Tips to Beat the Tax Filing Deadline
Don’t be one of the five per cent of Canadians who miss the tax deadline. Here are some helpful hints that might just motivate you to cross “filing taxes” off of your to-do list-today!
What is the tax deadline for 2016?
Returns for individuals are due by May 2, 2016, and returns for those who are self-employed are due June 15, 2016. For more information on tax deadlines, consult the Canada Revenue Agency deadline.
Why file your taxes before the deadline?
There are several benefits to filing taxes before the deadline. One is avoiding any penalties and interest if you owe taxes. If you’re getting a refund, filing on time means you get that money back in your pocket faster. But beyond that, key government benefits like GST/HST credits, Guaranteed Income Supplements and even the federal government’s new Canada Child Benefit all depend on you filing your taxes. So if you want payments to continue on schedule, or kick in next year, it really is in your best interest to file on time. Here are five helpful hints that can help you meet that deadline.
1. Consider calling in the pros.
When it comes to filing taxes, there are two types of people: do-it-yourselfers, and those who prefer to sit down with a professional. (The latter can be particularly helpful if you have questions about filing your taxes and could use the advice of an expert.) If you choose to call in the pros, you’ll need to book an appointment ASAP. Tax preparation firms like H&R Block also offer free online and downloadable filing options that could also save you time.
2. Pay attention.
You’ve picked out how you’re going to file, now take a deep breath-and slow down. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush to file as the deadline approaches, but going too fast increases the risk you’ll make a mistake. Make sure you have all of your receipts and slips. Take time to research tax credits and deductions that are applicable to your situation. Brush up on what’s considered taxable and non-taxable income.
3. Take a second look.
After you finish your tax return, take a moment to give it a second look. Have you entered all of the credits available to you? A lot of people often think that because they didn’t qualify for a credit last year, they won’t this year. That’s especially true of programs like the Family Tax Cut, which is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 meant to help families with children under the age of 18 living at home. 2016 is the last year you can qualify for credit, so give it and others like it a review to see if you qualify.
4. Remember how charitable you were.
The government offers people a nice incentive to be, well… Nice. The First-time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC) is for people who have not donated to charity before, or who have fallen out of the habit. You can claim a temporary supplement in addition to the non-refundable tax credit for individual charitable donations. If you don’t need them this year, you can save the receipts because the temporary credit can be claimed until 2017, but will be unavailable after that.