It is that special time of year again where Canadians from coast to coast are thinking about their taxes: tax season! For some consumers, there is no rush to do their taxes, but being prepared to do your taxes beforehand will save you lots of headache and financial stress.
“When you have all of the necessary receipts and paperwork to do your taxes beforehand, you will relieve a lot of stress, and you will be able to take full advantage of all of the tax credits you qualify for,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “The problem lies when Canadians rush to do their taxes on the eve of the deadline. That’s when you’re bound to forget about important receipts or neglect taking advantage of credits that might help you,” says Schwartz.
To get you ready for tax season, the staff at Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada has prepared the following checklist:
Go and buy an accordion
We’re not saying to go and buy an accordion for the sake of joining a band. We’re recommending you buy an accordion file folder system which will help you file all your important tax receipts. Remember to include donation receipts, T-slips, notice of assessments and so on. The more organized you are this tax season, the better the whole process will be.
Get even with the feds
If you owe the Government of Canada some money, it is time to settle your outstanding balance, or there may be a delay in processing your income tax return when you file it. If you are hoping to get a decent refund from the government, make sure you get even with the feds before filing your taxes.
Head to the Net
Your income tax return can be processed much faster if you file your taxes online. The Canada Revenue Agency says it normally takes four to six weeks to process a tax return received by mail. Choosing to file online can reduce the processing time to 10 days.
Seek the services of tax professionals
Sometimes, filing a tax return can be a lot of work. If you are uncomfortable with numbers or despise having to use a calculator, it may be in your best interest to seek the services of a trusted tax professional. Before you choose just anyone to do your taxes, make sure you do your research to ensure the person is legit, and speak to their current or past clients.
Take advantage of your credit
We’re not talking about your credit card or credit history – we’re talking about tax credits. Take time now to research the kinds of tax credits you qualify for. Don’t leave it to the last minute. When you rush to find answers, you may overlook important tax credits.
If you’ve crunched the numbers and are overwhelmed at the amount of money you owe the government on top of your growing credit card debt, it is time to stop running and get help to manage your debt.