Six things to remember at tax time
Getting ready to file your income tax and benefit return? Here are a few tips that could save you time and money.
1. File your income tax and benefit return
First things first, make sure you file your return! It’s important to file your return on time so that you can get any benefits and credits you may be eligible for! The CRA uses the information from your return to calculate your benefits and credits.
You should file your return on time every year, even if you don’t owe tax on your income or if you had no income at all. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they should also file an income tax and benefit return. You should file your return by the deadline, so you aren’t charged late-filing penalties on any money you owe.
2. Claim all your benefits, credits, and deductions
There are tax deductions, credits, and expenses you may be able to claim on your return. The CRA uses the information from your return, and your spouse’s or common-law partner’s return (if applicable) to calculate your benefit and credit payments. These include the Canada child benefit, the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, and other related provincial or territorial benefits. Benefits and credits can provide payments to help you throughout the year, so you have more money in your pocket!
You may be able to claim non-refundable tax credits for your medical expenses and for your student loan interest or a deduction for child care expenses. If you worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19, you may also be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. These claims can reduce the amount of tax you may owe. Find out what you can claim.
If you own a business or are self-employed, you may be able to claim certain business expenses. These include motor vehicle and business-use-of-home expenses.
3. Enter all your income and COVID-19 benefit payment amounts
You should get your T4 slips from your employer by the end of February. You may also get slips from other payers, such as pension providers and financial institutions. If you don’t have all of your 2020 slips or if you lost one, ask your employer or payer for a copy. If you register for My Account, you may have access to online copies of your slips. If you’re still missing information, use your pay stubs or statements to estimate the income to report.