When it comes to your taxes, it literally pays to know what you’re doing.
During the last tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency received more than 31,300,000 tax returns and almost 57 per cent of them netted a refund for the taxpayer. The average refund per return amounted to $2,093. Knowing which provisions of the 19 acts and 30 regulations administered by the CRA apply to you can help you ensure you’re getting the best possible outcome.
Whether it is worthwhile to hire an expert to file your taxes–or handle the task yourself –depends on your situation.
There are a variety of factors that people should consider when deciding whether to tackle their annual return themselves or seek expert help, advises Emily Verrecchia, a tax expert at TurboTax Canada.
Ms. Verrecchia advises Canadians to start their adventure on the TurboTax website where there are many resources to get you going, such as the income tax calculator which can give you a rough estimate of your tax situation.
You can also ask yourself:
- How complex is your tax return?
- How much time do you have to devote to preparing your taxes?
- Were there any big changes in your life last year that could lead to changes at tax time, such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, buying a house or moving?
- Did you start a business or take on a side gig?
Ultimately, people want to know how they can keep more money in their pockets at tax time, says Ms. Verrecchia. They want to know what income must be reported and what expenses they can claim on their tax returns. And while guidelines for filing are available online through trusted sources like the CRA, if you’re nervous about navigating tax season on your own, you might feel more comfortable with some expert advice.
Of course, doing your taxes with TurboTax does not mean you are on your own. The range of tax solutions the software offers support you whether you do your taxes by yourself or get expert help.
“TurboTax has you covered every step of the way,” says Ms. Verrecchia. “You can get help for less with TurboTax Live Assist & Review, where you file with assistance from a tax expert at a much lower cost than a traditional tax preparer. You can get unlimited help and guidance, and a final review before you file, so you’re never on your own.”
Those who want to hand their taxes off can use TurboTax Live Full Service to meet with an expert who will prepare their taxes for them.
TurboTax experts have on average 10 years of experience, and if all your documents are ready, these experts can prepare and file your tax return in as little as a day. They will assess your situation and get your taxes done right, even if your taxes look different from last year.
And if you choose to do your taxes yourself, TurboTax makes it easy to do your taxes right, even if you’ve never done them yourself before. Just answer a few easy questions, import your slips directly from the CRA, and TurboTax does the rest.
“TurboTax tax experts really care about your needs, and we want the best outcome possible for you,” she adds.
From the CRA’s perspective, there is no real difference between filing your own taxes or having them prepared for you.
More than nine in 10 tax returns are filled online. According to the CRA, the same criteria for reviewing income tax returns are used for both paper and electronic returns. One bonus when you file with TurboTax is that your tax return is securely submitted electronically directly to the CRA. You also save a PDF copy for your records. What’s more, filing electronically via NETFILE means you could get your refund sooner, in about two weeks, while if you file a paper return it may take up to eight weeks to receive your refund.
The tax return filing due date is May 1 for most taxpayers, or June 15 for self-employed people (tax balances should be paid by April 30, even for the self-employed). Regardless of how you choose to file your taxes, don’t forget to keep all information slips, receipts and other documents used to prepare your return for six years, as well as a copy of the completed form on file.
For more top tax tips, click here.
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Content was produced by The Globe Content Studio.