CRA releases tax tips and information

Community News & Features Apr 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Let the Canada Revenue Agency help you practice your trade with all the right tools

As a skilled tradesperson, improving your craft is no easy feat. Every day, you try hard to be the best and prove your ability. You’re hands-on, dependable, and take pride in your workmanship. You’ve built up your reputation with clients and associates. You have the qualifications and you have the skills, but do you have the tools when it comes to filing your tax return?

If you bought new tools for work this year, you may be able to claim a tradesperson’s tools deduction of up to $500 on your tax return. You may also be allowed a GST/HST rebate. To find out more about deductions and tax credits for employed tradespersons, go to www.cra.gc.ca/trades.

Don’t forget that the deadline to file your income tax and benefit return is generally April 30. However, if you, or your spouse or common-law partner, are self-employed, the deadline is June 15. As June 15 falls on a weekend, the filing deadline has been extended to Monday, June 16, 2014. If you have a balance owing for 2013, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2014.

Filing electronically with NETFILE is easy, secure and allows the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to process your return much faster. If you use NETFILE and are expecting a refund, your money will be directly deposited in your account in as little as eight business days (weeks faster than if you file on paper). For a list of software and web service choices, including some that are free for everyone, go to www.netfile.gc.ca/software.

While you are visiting the CRA’s website, be sure to sign up for My Account, which allows you to follow the progress of your refund, change your address, check your benefit and credit payments and your registered retirement savings plan limit, set up direct deposit, and so much more!

Employers can benefit too! If your business hires a qualified apprentice working in an approved Red Seal trade, you may qualify to claim the apprenticeship job creation tax credit. This non-refundable investment tax credit is equal to the lesser of $2,000 or 10 per cent of the eligible apprentice salaries or wages. Don’t need to use the whole credit amount this year? Carry the unused amount back three years or carry it forward up to 20 years! For more information on the apprenticeship job creation tax credit and other investment tax credits, go to www.cra.gc.ca.ca/smallbusiness and select Investment tax credit.

You can also stay on top of the latest CRA news or tax tips by following @CanRevAgency on Twitter.

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Seniors, don’t discount how easy it is to file your taxes

While there’s no seniors’ discount on your taxes, the Government of Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have lots of other ways for you to reduce your tax bill. Remember, the deadline to file your personal income tax return is April 30–but why wait until the last minute when you can start enjoying your refund now?

Even if you haven’t earned any income in the past year, you should still file a tax return to make sure you receive the benefits to which you may be entitled. The most popular benefit is the GST/HST credit, which is a tax-free payment that you receive every three months to help offset all or part of the GST or HST that you pay. You may also be able to claim a number of non-refundable credits that will help to lower your tax bill, including the age amount, pension income amount, and the disability amount. You can also claim medical expenses, like hearing aids, pacemakers, hospital services, and nursing home costs.

Do you, or your spouse or common-law partner, receive pension income? If so, you and your spouse or common-law partner may be able to split this income between you for tax purposes and reduce the total amount of tax each of you owes. More than 1 million people took advantage of pension income-splitting in 2012. To find out if your pension income is eligible, go to www.cra.gc.ca/seniors.

And if you’re a senior and still working, you can choose to continue contributing a portion of your income to a registered retirement savings plan—and you can keep contributing until December 31 the year you turn 71.

Depending on your situation, you may have noticed that some of your pension payments do not have enough tax withheld at source for the year. If that’s true in your case, you might be required to make instalment payments to the CRA - or you might want to consider making arrangements to have more tax deducted at source so you can avoid a large bill at the end of the tax year.

Regardless of your situation, filing your taxes and claiming your benefits is easier than ever, especially if you use the CRA’s secure online services. If you need help filing your return, have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, contact the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which runs volunteer tax clinics across the country. To find a volunteer tax preparation clinic, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

The CRA prides itself on making its services accessible to all Canadians, no matter what their needs. The CRA offers publications, forms, and personal information documents in alternate formats like Braille, large print, etext, or even MP3 audio. Call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for more information. Individuals with a hearing or speech impairment can use teletypewriter services by calling 1-800-665-0354.

With so many options available to guide you during this tax season, there’s no excuse to delay. If you file online and sign up for direct deposit, you may receive your refund in as little as eight days! To get started on your taxes, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

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Students: you’ve got one more paper to turn in

Canada’s deadline to file individual income tax and benefit returns is April 30….but you’ve probably already learned that you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to hand in your work.

April is a busy time for students—not only are you wrapping up the semester and in the midst of finals, but you’re also making summer plans or preparing for the summer semester. Avoid adding to your workload and stress level by filing your tax return early, and by taking advantage of the secure online services the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers. With the many online help tools, including easy-to-follow videos that are accessible 24/7, filing your tax return has never been easier.

If you haven’t worked in the past year, you might think you don’t need to file a return, but that could cost you. You have to file to make sure you receive any payments to which you may be entitled, such as a refund or quarterly GST/HST credit, which you likely qualify for if you are at least 19 years old.

Are you a foreign student who is unclear about whether to file? If you are studying as an international student, you first have to determine your residency status at www.cra.gc.ca/internationalstudents. You may owe taxes to the Canadian government, and may qualify for GST/HST credit payments. If you are an international student, your individual income tax and benefit return is generally due on April 30 and you have to send it to the CRA’s International Tax Services Office. If you have questions, call CRA’s International tax and non-resident enquiries line at 1-855-284-5942.

The CRA has dedicated part of its website to students and the specific tax scenarios that may affect them. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/students to find everything you need to know about your tax return, including how to claim tuition, education, and textbook amounts, and moving expenses.

This year, you can file online using NETFILE as early as February 10, 2014, and many companies are offering free certified software.

If you need help filing your return, have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, contact the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which runs volunteer tax clinics across the country. To find a volunteer tax preparation clinic, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

With so many options available to guide you during this tax season, there’s no excuse to delay. If you file online and sign up for direct deposit, you may receive your refund in as little as eight days! To get started on your taxes, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

And don’t miss the latest CRA news or tax tips—follow us on Twitter: @CanRevAgency.

Don’t delay, beat the April 30 deadline!

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Family matters when it comes to taxes!

If you have a family, filing an income tax return is about more than just declaring what you owe – it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many credits and benefits available to support your family finances. The deadline to file your personal income tax and benefit return is April 30, but why wait – especially if you’re expecting a refund or claiming benefits.

File your return online as early as February 10, 2014 – and if you’re getting a refund and are using direct deposit, you could see your refund in your bank account in as little as eight business days! The CRA has a list of certified software packages including some that are free. To find out more, go to www.netfile.gc.ca. Or, if you’d rather do your return with pencil and paper, the 2013 General Income Tax and Benefit packages for your province or territory will be available at Canada Post in early February.

However, if you, or your spouse or common-law partner, are self-employed, you have until June 15 to file your return. As June 15, 2014 falls on a weekend, the filing deadline has been extended to Monday, June 16, 2014. But take note: if you’re self-employed and have a balance owing for 2013, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2014.

If your family is juggling school, work, and recreational activities, consider filing your return ahead of the deadline for a little peace-of-mind. Skip the last-minute number crunching and avoid stress by taking advantage of the Canada Revenue Agency’s secure electronic services. Using online help tools like videos and webinars, the CRA will walk you through the basics of completing your income tax and benefit return, making it easier than ever to file your taxes. Even if you haven’t earned any income in the past year, you should still file an income tax and benefit return to ensure you receive the credits and benefits to which you are entitled. From the $100 monthly universal child care benefit, available for all children under six years of age, to the Canada child tax benefit, there are benefits available to help families with their expenses during the year. For more about your benefits and credits, go to www.cra.gc.ca/benefits.

Whether your child’s dreams are a career on hockey skates, racing down the slopes on a snowboard, or performing for a famous ballet company, paying for lessons to make those dreams a reality can be costly. Save your receipts to claim the fees you have paid of up to $500 per child under the children’s fitness tax credit, a non-refundable claim that could mean savings of up to $75 per child.

Is your child a budding artist or musician? If your child attends programs that contribute to his or her development, you may be eligible for a break at tax time. Tutoring also qualifies for the credit. The children’s arts tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $75 for each child.

The CRA has reserved a portion of its website for families and the particular tax situations that may apply to them. Using the website search function, go to the Top things families should know about taxes page. A quick read covers many of the things you need to know about your tax return, including how to claim the working income tax benefit for families with low income, child care expenses, the family caregiver amount, and the child disability benefit.

If you need help filing your return, have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, contact the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which runs volunteer tax clinics across the country. To find a volunteer tax preparation clinic, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

With so many options available to guide you during this tax season, there’s no excuse to delay. To get started on your taxes, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

Don’t miss the latest CRA news or tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency

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First time filing taxes? Get it right from the start

There are so many firsts in life – first steps, first word, first day of school, first job… you get the idea. There’s also the first time you file income tax and benefit return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Whether you’ve just landed your first part-time job and need to pay taxes or claim a refund, turned 19 and want to claim the GST/HST credit, or moved to Canada and want to fulfill your tax obligations, the CRA is there to help.

The deadline to file your 2013 income tax return and pay any tax owing is April 30, 2014. Filing on time will ensure you receive your credits and benefits without delay or, if you owe taxes, avoid a late filing penalty. Twenty million Canadians took advantage of the CRA’s electronic filing services last year. To file online, all you need is your social insurance number, your birth date, your income tax information, and access to certified software or a web application. The CRA provides a list of options at www.netfile.gc.ca/software; some can be purchased and some are free for everyone. The amounts to include in your tax return are those that appear on your various information slips and receipts. However, you don’t need to send these documents to the CRA. If the CRA needs your slips or receipts, they will contact you at a later date.

More taxpayers are choosing to go paperless after discovering how convenient, easy, and secure filing online really is. And if you’re entitled to a refund, you can enjoy your money in as little as eight days if you combine online filing with direct deposit. And if you’re a benefit or credit recipient, direct deposit gives you access to your benefit and credit payments faster.

As a first-time filer, you may find completing a tax return confusing. Not sure where to begin? Go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready to learn some of the ways to reduce your taxes. You can also use the search function on the CRA’s website to get information on the online Learning About Taxes program, a self-paced learning unit that explains Canada’s tax system and teaches you how to prepare a basic tax return.

If you’ve gone through the website and still need help filing your tax return, you can call 1-800-959-8281 and speak with a CRA agent, who will answer any questions you have.

If you have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, you can also contact the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which runs volunteer tax clinics across the country. To find a volunteer tax preparation clinic, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

With so many choices available to guide you through this tax season, there’s no excuse to delay filing your taxes.