Early Bird Checklist
Kids are back in school, extended family has gone home, and decorations have been packed away for next year. With the holidays over, it’s time to start getting back into a routine and getting organized. You may think it’s too early to get ready for filing your tax return but there are some steps you can take to save time later.
- If you’ve moved, ensure CRA has your new address on file. There are a number of ways to change your address but the easiest by far is by accessing your CRA My Account. Remember, if the address you list on your return doesn’t match CRA’s file, you won’t be able to Netfile until they match.
- If you’re not a CRA My Account holder, enroll now to have a leg up at filing time. CRA My Account holders have the ability to use Auto-fill my Return. Amounts from T slips, unused tuition and losses, RRSP contributions, and much more can all be loaded to your return with a few clicks of a mouse. Copies of past years’ returns are also accessible via the online portal.
- Slips to gather include
- Medical expenses. Ask your pharmacy, physiotherapy clinic, dentist’s office or other provider for a year-end printout. Don’t forget about medical insurance premiums too.
- Expenses related to moving including transportation costs, storage fees, and incidentals.
- Public transit receipts.
- Rent receipts or property tax statement for the Ontario Trillium Benefit.
- Gather receipts for fitness and arts activities.
- Remind post-secondary students to locate their T2202A slips (Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate) generally found in online student accounts or from the accounts department of the university. Find out how the 2016 Federal Budget Education & textbook new rules will affect your tax situation next year.
- Ensure you have received all of your childcare receipts. If your child was enrolled in a daycare or nursery school, ask for an annual printout listing the totals. If your child was cared for by an individual caregiver, be sure to obtain the necessary information such as Social Insurance Number and full legal name.
- Don’t forget about the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) slip. Keep an eye on the mail for the RC62 slip that covers the first half of 2016. Unlike the new Canada Child Benefit, UCCB payments are taxable.
If you’re the “designated tax person” in your family, now is the time to lay the groundwork. Ask questions so you’ll know what to expect. Did Cousin Jack move last year? Has he updated his address with CRA? Did he have moving expenses? Will his son Jack Jr. be transferring any tuition to him this year? Answering these questions early can avoid a delay at tax time.
Also, I’ve always given each of my family members a large manila envelope labelled “tax stuff” just after the holidays. It’s a huge help in April.
By Jennifer Gorman:
Jennifer is a tax expert with the TurboTax’s customer support team. With more than 20 years of tax preparation experience, she enjoys holding yearly seminars in her hometown in Newfoundland to teach seniors and students how to use TurboTax to prepare their own returns.