I know why you are here. It’s because you, like me, want to step out of the stone age and do what nearly 90% of all Canadians already do, and that if file your taxes online.

I also know that you, again, like me, are really comfortable with the way you have always done your tax filing.  Ledger paper, paper copies of receipts and invoices, heck, you even like to go the bank and deposit an actual cheque rather than direct deposit. I get it. It’s okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

That is until you learn that filing taxes online is much more convenient, really easy, and extremely safe and secure, and when you use a reputable tax preparation software such as Canada’s most popular and trusted tax software, TurboTax Online, you can be sure that your taxes will be done right.

TurboTax is always up-to-date with all the latest tax changes (of course), and automatically checks more than 400 credits and deductions for you to ensure that you claim each and every credit which you are entitled to claim.

TurboTax is CRA certified for the 2018 NETFILE program, so you can file your taxes online and get your refund in an average of 8 business days.

I know this might seem scary, but it’s really not, so take a deep breath and let’s go through the steps needed in order to get started;

Step 1 – Collect all the information you will need

To successfully fill out your income tax return, you’ll want to collect all the information you need prior to starting to prepare your tax return.

You will need;

  • All tax information slips (T-slips), such as T4s, T4As, and T3s.
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Your correct address on file with the CRA
  • Information related to your spouse, such as their full legal name on file at the CRA, their SIN, and their income and occupation
  • Information related to your dependents, if you have any
  • All receipts relating to anything that you will be claiming, such as medical expenses, or if you are self-employed, expenses related t your business or home office
  • Not required, but super-helpful is access to the CRA’s My Account

If you have not received all of the t-slips which you will need to complete your tax return, contact your employer or check your CRA My Account to access your records via Auto-fill my return.  With the CRA’s Auto-fill my return, getting organized is easy!

It helps you get a jump-start on your taxes by enabling you to securely download your most up-to-date and accurate tax slips from the CRA website, then like magic, TurboTax automatically imports the information directly where it belongs in your tax return. You save time and frustration by not searching for your slips and entering box numbers, and, by not missing any slips, you significantly reduce the risk of getting charged a penalty.

Info you can import via Auto-fill my return includes:

  • T slips – T3, T4, T4A, T4A(OAS), T4A(P), T4E, T4RIF, T4RSP, T5, T5007, T5008
  • Benefit slips like RC210, (WITB Advance Payments Statement)
  • RRSP contribution receipts
  • Unused amounts for tuition/education/textbook credits and past losses.

It’s also a good idea to collect any receipts associated with deductions you will want to claim on your tax return, including RRSP contributions, child care receipts, and business expense receipts. Learn more about top missed deductions.

Step 2 – Make sure your information is up-to-date

If you’ve had any life changes recently such as your marital status, a new child, or if you’ve moved to a new address, it’s best to make sure the CRA is aware of these updates.

Step 3 – Find all the tax credits and deductions you can claim

Based on experience, it’s nearly impossible to remember which tax credits and tax deductions apply to you personally, or which apply to your business venture. Understanding that if you’re running a business, or have self-employed income, you likely have more on your mind – like earning income – and are not fixated on tax news to see what’s new, what’s changed and what no longer counts. Whether you have 70-years of tax experience or 70-hours of tax experience, everyone has come to rely on the expertise that is put into TurboTax. TurboTax searches over 400 credits and deductions automatically for you, so you can be ensured that you are seeing every possible deduction or tax credit that might apply to you. By doing that, you not only maximize your deductions but you also maximize your refund and keep more of that hard-earned money in your pocket.

Step 4 – Submit your tax return to the Canada Revenue Agency

TurboTax is CRA NETFILE certified software, which means filing taxes online is secure, easy, and most of all, efficient because your tax return and more importantly, your tax information will be securely submitted directly to the CRA, without having to mail it, or send along any supporting documentation (unless later asked for). Even better, is that once uploaded to the CRA, you receive a confirmation that your return has been received by the CRA.

No more wondering if it got lost in the mail, or mailed to Cape Columbia, which happens to be the most Northern point in all of Canada, where it was eaten by polar bears, or, ahem… Beavers.

Once the CRA processes your return, they then issue you a Notice of Assessment, sent directly to you via email if you are registered for My Account, or via the mail if you are not.

See how easy it is to file your taxes online?!

Step 5 – When will I get my refund?

If you sign up for direct deposit by entering your current banking information, you can receive your refund in as little as 8 business days. Filing your taxes online is faster than submitting your tax return by mail to the CRA, which may take up to 8 weeks to process.

You can also track when your tax return has been assessed and when your refund will be received through your CRA My Account.

What you cannot and should not do, however, is call the CRA after 2 weeks demanding for them to process your tax return, telling them that they have taken too long and that you are going to sue them for the stress they are causing you due to the delay.  This has actually happened, and what I told the person was that when 30 million Canadians file their tax returns within a 2-3 month window, somebody’s return is going to take longer than 8-days, and it might just be yours.  Take a deep breath and wait and it will arrive.

Step 6 – What if I owe money?

Don’t worry, TurboTax will let you know if you have any balance owing before you even file your taxes online through NETFILE, so you know where you stand.

If you want to pay your balance by credit card, you can do so through the TurboTax online software, either when you file or at a later date.

If you’d like to pay in another way, such as through online banking or pre-authorized debit, TurboTax will provide you with instructions for the method of your choice when you’re ready to pay your balance.

To avoid interest charges, make sure you pay any balance owing by the tax deadline, which falls on April 30th,  for Canadians who do not have self-employed income.  For those Canadians, your return is due to the CRA no later than June 15th.  Payment, however, is due to the CRA by April 30th.

As you can see, filing taxes online with TurboTax is a secure, accurate and efficient way to get your taxes done. You get your taxes done with the expertise of TurboTax, and you pay the least amount of tax legally possible, by having exposure to more than 400 credits and deductions that you might qualify for. Getting your maximum refund, guaranteed, or paying the least amount of tax possible are great reasons to recycle the ledger paper, hide your rotary dial phone and step in the year 2020.