Three ways to start preparing for the upcoming tax season
This is not a drill, it’s officially 2019 and tax season is opening up in less than a months’ time! Research shows that people quit their New Year’s Resolutions by the third week of January, so here’s a little push in the right direction to help you rediscover that plan to be organized, and tackle your taxes so filing is a breeze.
To help you out, here are three ways you can be sure you’re ready to own the tax filing process when February rolls around and the CRA officially opens.
1. Hey, Siri. Set a reminder to file my taxes earlier this year.
It helps to flag all relevant tax-related dates on your calendar now so you don’t forget about them later (like FOMO but for your money).
For example, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will open around the last week of February– and the sooner you file the sooner you’ll get your refund. If you like living on the edge, mark your calendar for April 30 as that’s the last day to file before you get hit with penalties by the Canada Revenue Agency. For those who are self-employed or from the United States, you get a little extra time – you won’t have to file until June 15.
2. Track down receipts like they owe you money! Because they probably do!
You’ve got receipts everywhere – in your wallet, bedside drawer, kitchen cupboard, your email inbox and more. We’ve been there. You know these bills, tuition receipts, transit passes, charitable contribution receipts and medical bills will be needed to file, you just haven’t organized them. Side note: you can check your app store for dozens of apps that can help with this!
It literally pays (in the form of a tax refund!) to be organized, as you’ll know you’ve accounted for everything, so keep all your receipts in an easy-to-find space. Every year, thousands of Canadians leave money on the table by not claiming all of the credits and deductions available to them – don’t be one of them!
3. Crunch numbers with our tax calculator.
It’s never a bad idea to get a sense of what your tax situation might looks like ahead of time. If you think you’ll be getting money back you can start daydreaming about how you want to use it and if you think you’ll owe money it helps to plan for it. We’ve got a tax calculator that will help you get a sense of what you’ll be walking into come tax season. All you need to do is enter your income, taxes paid, RRSPs (account for any you plan to contribute before the March 1 deadline) and you’re done!
If it looks like you’ll be getting money back, it’s always better to think of that return as a bonus rather than relying on the income. Meaning, don’t book that trip to Cuba hoping your tax return will pay for it. This way, if anything changes, you won’t be in a tough situation financially.
If figuring out where to start or which receipts to keep organized is too much, your friends at H&R Block are here for you. Gather your receipts and documents and head on over to an H&R Block office, where a tax expert can answer any tax questions you may have. Find an office near you.