Getting Organized, Tips & Advice

Putting Together Your Tax Checklist and Why You Might Benefit From One

With over 400 different deductions and credits, the Canadian tax system has pretty much something for everyone. Whether you’re preparing your first tax return or you’re a seasoned tax preparation professional, having a list of what is needed in order to prepare a tax return is essential to making sure you’re not leaving any money on the table.

Here are some helpful hints for putting together your tax checklist.

General Info

  • Along with your own personal info (date of birth and social insurance number), you’ll also need the same details for your spouse and dependants.
  • For certain credits, like the Canada Caregiver Amount, your dependant’s net income is required so it’s a good idea to have those figures as well.
  • If you’re claiming a tuition transfer from your spouse or child, keep a copy of their completed return handy as you’ll need to enter a few different amounts from it.

Last year’s tax return and Notice of Assessment hold a wealth of information. Along with acting as a guide for this year, you’ll also find your unused amounts for tuition, losses, moving expenses, and capital cost allowance.

Income and Deductions

Think about how you earned money this year. Did you work for an employer? You’ll need your T4. Did you run your own business or earn money from ride-sharing? Gather the details of your income and related expenses.

Other income types include:

  • Investment income or dividends
  • Interest
  • Social assistance or workers compensation benefits
  • Spousal support
  • Employment insurance
  • Pension income
  • Income from rental properties including renting rooms in your home
  • RRSP payments
  • Tips and gratuities

Depending on your individual tax situation, you may be eligible for a wide range of deductions and credits.

For example:

  • Did you move for work? You may be eligible to claim moving expenses.
  • Are you caring for a disabled relative? The Canada Caregiver Amount could offer a tax break.

Pull together any potential deduction information, such as:

  • RRSP payments
  • daycare costs
  • medical expenses
  • charitable donations
  • tuition payments

Common Checklist

Your checklist may look like this:

  • Prior year’s tax return
  • Prior year’s notice of assessment
  • All personal information (SIN’s of all family members, address, date of birth, marital status, dependents, etc.)
  • Copies of current year returns for claiming dependant credits and transfers
  • T4 for employment income
  • T3 for trust and dividend income
  • T5 investment income
  • Pension income
  • Child care payments
  • RRSP paid during the year up to the end of February
  • Home office expenses
  • Charitable donations
  • Public transit passes (only applies for before June 2017)
  • Medical expenses
  • Tuition fees
  • Student loan interest
  • Moving expenses for which you were not reimbursed
  • Interest on loans paid to earn investment income
  • Spousal support payments made or received