Tips to bust your tax procrastination.

February 28, 2020

Though tax season may evoke feelings of angst or frustration, the reality is they’ve got to be done. If you haven’t yet submitted your return, don’t worry because you're not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey, nearly half (48%) of Canadians are estimating they won’t file their taxes until March.

The annual tax season is underway – and the official CRA opening is scheduled for February 24 – so here are four tips to keep you at the top of your tax game.

Be on time or, better yet, be early!

Start off by penciling April 30, 2020 in your calendar — and remembering it. This is the absolute last day you can file your return in person, online or by mail. If you owe taxes, missing this deadline could result in penalties, meaning you could owe the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) even more money. Beginning May 1, the penalty for procrastinating comes in at 5% of your outstanding balance, and then an additional 1% for every month you're late thereafter, for a maximum of 12 months. And that's not including interest! So, save yourself the dollar bills and pay on time – you’ll thank yourself later.

Get into a routine to avoid the rush.

Let's be real. Trying to sort through a year's worth of financial information in one sitting could result in total chaos. That’s why it’s important to get into the routine of filing away any relevant tax documents regularly. Getting into the habit of doing this weekly or monthly can be a total time saver, and lighten your load come tax time.

Don’t be your own roadblock.

If you're expecting a refund, you’ll want to get that cash back as soon as possible, right? Though filing your tax return late might not cause you to incur any penalties, the government isn’t going to rush to get you your refund either. Any monthly or quarterly tax credit payments or benefits you may be entitled to, such as GST/HST credits or the Canada Child Benefit, could be interrupted if your return isn't filed on time. If you want to make sure the money that’s rightfully yours flows in without any hiccups, make sure all your paperwork is submitted by the April 30 deadline.

Don’t live in fear of filing.

We get it. Taxes can bring about a lot of unknowns. Will you owe money? Will you get a large refund? These are two of many questions that may run through your head, triggering stress and anxiety. The result is a vicious cycle of more procrastination, guilt and worry. But help is available to those who ask for it (to paraphrase from the world’s most famous Wizarding Headmaster)! Speaking with a professional can be a simple way to make sure you're maximizing your claim. You can even talk to a tax professional outside of tax season if your situation changes to understand how it may affect you come filing time!

If you’re unsure about anything when it comes time to file, know that we’re here to help. If you have any questions or want to learn more on how to get the most from your tax refund, visit an H&R Block office near you to speak to a Tax Expert today.

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