Tips & advice

4 Lessons Learned from First-Time Filers

If you filed your own taxes for the first time this year, congratulations! You’re on the right track to financial freedom! At the beginning, you may have been a little anxious but you probably found out it was easy to file…especially if you used TurboTax!

If you haven’t yet tried to file your own taxes, we rounded up the top lessons learned from some of our customers that will help set you up for next year:

Update Yourself on Tax Law Changes

Educate yourself and keep updated [with tax laws]. It’s always good to be aware of the latest news as there are changes every year.” – Glenn Mauring

Canadian taxes are constantly changing and you can miss important credits and deductions you didn’t know you should be saving recipts for. The best way to stay on top of all these changes is to simply stay informed.  You can do this by following the Canada Revenue Agency’s website or the TurboTax blog! TurboTax software is always up to date on the latest tax laws and we make sure to keep you informed so you can be prepared.

Set Up a Checklist Now

“Make sure you have medical, tuition and rent/property tax receipts. I keep a folder for the tax year [and] stick all my receipts in there. Also, go to the pharmacy [and] ask for a print out of your purchases [for that year].”- Catherine Reynolds

For the most part, your tax situation next year will likely be very similar to this year. Even if you have life changes, you can use the taxes you filed this year as a guideline for next year.  We recommend keeping a checklist of all the tax documents you expect to receive. A checklist is a great way to get organized, so you have everything ready to go when you sit down and file for your tax refund next year.

If your life did change a lot, keep in mind that you may have some additional forms to keep track of.  For instance, if you buy a house, expect to get tax forms related to your mortgage. If you have a child, you may have child care expenses you can claim. As these changes occur throughout the year, you can track related receipts and documents so you will be ready at tax-time.

Don’t worry about knowing tax deductions and credits related to life changes. TurboTax will remind you of life changes that impact your taxes by asking you simple questions and will give you the tax deductions and credits you deserve based on your answers.

File Your Taxes ASAP

“Even if you owe taxes, file them on time and wait to assess the amount owed.” – Ken Smith

Did you get a tax refund this year? If so, you’ll want to file as early as possible next year so you get that cash even quicker! Your checklist and having your paperwork gathered together in one place will help you file early, so you can get your tax refund fast.

When you do file, remember to do so electronically with NETFILE. When you submit using NETFILE and have direct deposit set up – you can get your tax refund in as few as 8 days!

As for the slips, employers and payroll companies are required to send out T4s by February 28th.

Read This Year’s Tax Return

Finally, it’s always good to take a look at your tax return after you’re done. Read it through and see what the various sections are so you can better understand your financial situation.

You may even notice things about your taxes that you never noticed before. Did you make any charitable contributions? Did you make any investments? How might you improve your financial situations by increasing those? Your tax return is a good record of your financial progress so give it a look.

Now that you’ve already done your taxes this year, following these tips and using TurboTax will help make filing your taxes even easier next year!