Whether you are getting help filing this year or doing it yourself, if you get organized and stay organized, it will make things a lot better and less painful!
These 5 steps are a great way to make sure you are organized when it comes time to do your taxes.
- Find and Classify your Statements
This sounds silly, but a lot of people have all their statements in a box or one big file folder. If you take 5 minutes and go through this mass of papers, it will save you hours later trying to find that one statement. You should organize based on the following
- Stocks / Bonds / Investments – Statements and any buy/sell information
- Bank Statements (including Credit Card statements)
- Employment Related Expenses
- Employment Related Income
- Medical Receipts (we will touch base on this at a later post)
- Moving Expenses (this will be covered more in a later post)
- T Slips as they come in – By creating a folder specifically for these, you know they will all be in one place
- All Others
- T Slips
Figure out what T Slips you should be receiving. T Slips usually arrive between mid-January and the end of February. If you have not received a slip by February 28th, contact the provider to ensure you can get one before you start the tax process. Just because you don’t receiving a T slip, that doesn’t mean you can skip those amounts. The big ones for the majority of Canadians are:
- T4 (Employment Income)
- T4A (Pension Income, Self-Employment Income)
- T3 (Trust Income)
- T5 (Investment Income)
- Be Prepared for Tough Questions
If you seek professional tax help, be prepared to answer some questions. We have an extensive questionnaire that we ask our clients when we sit down to gather their information for tax returns. Some common ones are:
- Do you have investment income? This may include earned interest on savings accounts or interest earned in a non-registered savings account. Did you know that anything under $50.00, the bank or issuing institute typically does not issue a T5? You have to be prepared with those numbers yourself.
- Do you have any RRSP’s? If you bought any RRSP’s during the year, you should be receiving a T slip for those. If not, be prepared with those numbers to give to your tax professional.
- Did you cash in any RRSP’s? If so, you need to provide a T slip or those amounts.
- Do you have any tuition or school related expenses?
- Do you take transit? Your transit expenses may be eligible.
- Did you move because of work? Moving expenses that you incurred because you had to move for work are all eligible credits and deductions on your tax return. So make sure you keep all your receipts and expenses.
- Self Employment
If you have self employment income, you can claim a fair bit of your expenses. Make sure you gather all your company information including all income and expense statements. If you operate your business out of your home, you can claim a portion of your house expenses as business expenses.
- Seek Help Earlier
If you start gathering your information and are unsure on what you can claim on your taxes or if you are lost amidst your papers, help is available! By getting help with your taxes sooner rather than later, you avoid the deadline crunch and possible penalties by CRA. It gives you time to gather missed slips or expenses and will allow your tax professional the time they require to get everything together for you.
As always, Accountable Value Financial Services is here to help you with your taxes this tax season! With returns as low as $30.00, how can you not afford peace of mind knowing that your tax return is in the hands of a trained specialist. We will make sure your tax return is done proper and complete so your refund is back to you as quickly as possible. Contact us today to see how we can take the stress out of taxes.