Getting Organized, Tax Basics, Tips & Advice

Early Bird Tax Preparation Checklist – For Canadians who like to file taxes as early as possible

Early Bird Checklist

The calendar has turned – another year in the books – and the kids are back in school, extended family has gone home, and you have just gotten your holiday decorations packed away.  With the focus now turned towards New Year’s resolutions, most Canadians hit the gym, clean up their houses, and organize their lives for the year.  But you?  You’re already looking forward to the April 30th tax filing deadline (June 17th, 2019 for self-employed Canadians), and because of that, we have a checklist for you to help you get prepared.

Boxes to Check off

  • If you’ve moved, ensure the 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 MyAccount. Remember, if the address you list on your return doesn’t match the CRA’s file, you won’t be able to NETFILE until they do.
  • If you’re not a CRA MyAccount holder, enroll now to have a leg up at filing time. CRA MyAccount holders have the ability to use Auto-fill my return. Amounts from T-slips, unused tuition and losses, RRSP contributions, and much more can be found on MyAccount, and all of these can be loaded to your return with a few clicks of a mouse. Copies of past years’ returns are also accessible via the online portal.
  • Gather slips:
    • 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.
    • Rent receipts or property tax statement for the Ontario Trillium Benefit.
    • Donation Receipts
  • Ensure that if you have a small business or are self-employed, that you have great records, and that your records and expenses can be cross-referenced with your calendar and mileage (if you’re claiming any).
  • In the old days, we used to have a checklist of tax slips that we were getting and then once they were received, we could file our returns, but now, with MyAccount, the slips post there faster than they get to you in the mail, so adding that as a reference helps a ton.


  • 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.
  • 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.

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, In the past, I used to give all of my family members a large manila envelope labelled “tax stuff” just after the holidays, but now I just buy them QuickBooks (QuickBooks Self-Employed for my self-employed relatives) and that way everything is exactly where I need it to be whenever I need it.

It’s a huge help in April, but even more helpful when one of them wants to file the day NETFILE opens – which is February 18th, 2019, this year.

A helpful article for reference is this one.


Looking for an income tax calculator for your province or territory?