Getting Organized, Tax Basics, Tips & Advice

Why are you waiting to file your tax return?

The  2020 Tax Deadline is not extended…so with April 30th fast approaching we have to ask…

Why are you waiting to file your 2020 tax return?

A: I am hoping that the deadline will be extended

At this point, the deadline will most likely not be extended as the most recent tax tips news release from the CRA is encouraging you to get those taxes filed by April 30, 2021 as originally planned. Be sure to file on time, even if you are unable to make your tax payments. A late filing can result in a 5% penalty, based on taxes owing.  

Individual returns and taxes owing for 2020 are due April 30th; self-employed tax returns are due June 15th, with taxes owing on April 30th as well.

A: I am missing receipts…I think

Depending on what you are missing there are likely easy ways to get the documents or the information online.

  • Missing T slips? Log on to your CRA My Account to download them. Don’t forget that TurboTax has the Auto Fill My Return feature which means it will pull those slips right from the CRA for you and import to your return
  • Missing Medical Receipts? This often happens, but it actually isn’t too difficult to replace. Contact your providers, such as the pharmacy or massage therapist to get a copy of your annual statement. If you have a benefit plan, log on to download what has been claimed and not reimbursed to you. Remember, what you claim on your tax return can be for any medical expenses paid for in the 12-month period ending in 2020, as long as you didn’t claim them in 2019 already.
  • Missing Childcare Receipts? Same as above, reach out to the centre or program and ask them to resend them to you. Many are quite happy to send a print out of your account for the year.
  • Missing Donation Receipts? Many registered charities in Canada email out their receipts but if you can’t find them after scouring your inbox, reach out to them with a quick note and they will likely be able to send it to you quickly again. Remember, you can claim any unclaimed donations made in the previous 5 years on this year’s tax return.

A: I am pretty sure I am going to owe money and I can’t afford to pay

If you think you owe, it is actually a good idea to get those taxes completed so you know exactly what you do owe.  Taxes owing for 2020 are due April 30, 2021, but if you are struggling to pay them, you should still file on time (avoid any late filing penalties) but then contact the CRA to see if there can be any options for you such as in Taxpayer relief provisions.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced interest relief on taxes owing for 2020 provided you met the eligibility requirements of having taxable income of less than $75,000 in 2020, were in receipt of one of the emergency or recovery benefits (CERB/CRB etc.) in 2020, and you’ve filed your 2020 income tax return. If you are eligible, then you will not be required to pay interest on taxes owing for 2020 until April 30, 2022.

A: I am not going to owe anything so why bother filing

Even if you don’t think you will owe income taxes it is important to still file a tax return. There are benefits and credits you may be eligible to receive but you will only qualify for if you file your income tax return. For example, the Canada Child Benefit and the GST/HST Credit and GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) are based on your tax return and you won’t receive any of the money if you don’t file your return for the tax year.  This also applies to many provincial and territorial benefits and credits as well.

Also, you may not owe tax, but what if you are owed a refund? Filing your return allows you to take advantage of various deductions against your earnings and tax credits against your calculated taxes, that could in the end result in you getting money back from the government.

There are other reasons why you must file a tax return even if you don’t think you owe taxes, or are not owed a refund. Splitting pension income, transferring carry-forward amounts to a future year, repayment of OAS, or you haven’t repaid your Home Buyer’s Plan amounts (and more…), all require you to file an annual income tax return.

A: Too much happened last year and I have no idea where to start and need help!

2020 was unique for so many Canadians and for so many reasons. Our taxes are directly connected with our personal situations so depending on what happened or changed in your life last year could mean changes to your tax return. It is understandable that this could create some uncertainty in navigating your return, but you don’t have to go it alone.

TurboTax has tax solutions for every situation. If you are looking for help to guide you through your return and even review it before you file, consider TurboTax Live Assist & Review. If you just want to pass it on but not sure who to send it to, TurboTax Live Full Service offers our tax experts to complete your return from start to finish, always maximizing your deductions to minimize those taxes owing.  These solutions are also available for those individuals who are self-employed.