Picture this: the tax deadline is fast approaching. But this year, instead of scrambling trying to find all the documents you need, you’re relaxed, calm, cool, and collected! Filing taxes can feel stressful and scary (been there!) so let’s get you covered with the basics for how to file.
Oh, if you feel like you want to learn more about what tax returns are and why we need to file them, check out this article.
How do I file my taxes?
There’s a bunch of options to file your taxes. You can try a government certified electronic filing software like Wealthsimple Tax that does most of the work for you. You can also file online or by paper yourself or go to a community volunteer tax clinic, where an authorized representative, like an accountant, guides you through the process. The government also has agents to help you file! No method is better than another, so the method you choose completely depends on your comfort level or budget.
What documents do I need?
When filing your tax return you’ll need certain forms and supporting documents. For starters, you’ll need to have your personal information on hand including Social Insurance Number (SIN), and if applicable, your partners or children or other . If you’ll be claiming the Canada Caregiver Amount, you’ll need the net income amounts (the amount after total after deductions) for your spouse and any dependents (eg. children or aging parents!).
As for income, most people who are employed will receive a T4 slip. This is typically issued out to employees who work on a . This slip is a summary of your employment earnings and deductions for the year.
If you’re not a salaried employee, and have odd jobs here and there (this could include like driving Uber and Doordash deliveries), you can report your earnings under the “occasional earnings” section of your return.
If you’re self-employed, you can report your professional and business expenses under the T2125 slip, If you have both business and professional income, you have to complete a separate Form T2125 for each.
Check out the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for more information on how to file based on your personal situation.
What are “credits” and “deductions”? What am I eligible for?
The CRA offers A LOT of credits and deductions, which can help you get more money back in your pocket. For instance, just for filing your return every year, you could get up to: $467 if you are single, $612 if you are married or have a common-law partner, and $161 for each child under the age of 19.
can provide from $600 up to over $1,000, with an additional 10% if you live in a rural or small community. If you contribute to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you can enter the deduction onto your tax return to increase your tax refund or reduce your balance owing. If you’re eligible for these, you should take full advantage of them - it’s all money back in your pocket!
When do I need to file my taxes?
You can file your tax return at any point during the year. The typical “Tax season” is usually March and April, and there is a deadline at the end of April that you should file before to avoid paying any interest or penalties on money you may owe. Bonus: filling your taxes before the deadline also helps you get your refund earlier.