The holidays are over and Canadians have tax season to look forward to. It’s that time of year when Canadians start scrambling, to get their return completed before the deadline to avoid paying any penalties.
This year that date is April 30th, 2019. The process to get your return filed can be daunting, but don’t worry there is still plenty of time to get it done right and sent off the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Here’s what you need to know about your 2018 tax return.
Penalties and fees
If you owe money, the CRA starts charging interest on the balance one day after the deadline passes. Most Canadians do file their return online, a method the CRA supports and recommends. Online filing means it’s received immediately with a digital record. The CRA has a list of certified software packages and web applications. If you file by mail, you can have a paper tax return mailed to your home. For Canadians with simple tax situations, you can also file by phone.
If you haven’t done it already open a My Account on the CRA website. It’s a secure service for tax filers. You can use the auto-fill function in the CRA certified tax preparation software NETFILE. It allows parts of your return to be automatically filled in, including your information from your T3, T4, and T5 slips.
File no matter what
Even if you’re expecting a return, it’s still a good idea to keep the CRA up to date on your income situation, otherwise, payments, such as the Canada child benefit may be delayed. This applies to anyone with zero income as well, file your return in order to take advantage of all government tax credits due to you.
Tax credits to be aware of
The Canada caregiver credit gives tax relief to individuals with a dependant who has a mental or physical impairment. As well Canadians can now take their disability tax credit application to nurse practitioners to have it certified. There is also a medical expense tax credit if you need intervention to conceive a child.
Tips for self-employed
If you are self-employed you have until June 17th to file your return this year, but if there’s is a balance owing to the CRA, that is due by the April 30th deadline. If your income situation changed dramatically this year, and you have been making income tax instalment payments, you may want to figure out what balance you may owe by the deadline. There is the new CRA Biz App, you can view transactions and pay balances with it.
When to get professional advice
Tax time can be overwhelming for many of us. Accountants and tax preparation professionals are all working late during this time. As well the CRA is a great resource to answer any of your questions. There’s also help for low-income Canadians needing help but can’t afford to go to a professional called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinic. To find a clinic near you and to see if you’re eligible, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer