It’s almost time. Time to get everything together to get your taxes done.
If I was doing your taxes, what would I need to see? Depending upon your personal situation you may have a couple of documents for your tax return or you could have dozens. Whether you are doing your taxes yourself, handing them off to a tax preparer or accountant, or taking advantage of TurboTax Live Full Service, getting ready to have your taxes done is made easy with just a little preparation.
This is a checklist list of the most common things you need to do and should do when getting ready to have your taxes done. If you’re the family tax preparer, you should do the same for each one of your family members.
Let’s aim for a less stressful tax season and start it off right!
- Sign up for your CRA My Account – if you haven’t done so already, do this first thing. It will allow you to check on the status of refunds, your outstanding balances, RRSP & TFSA contribution room, and as well keeping the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) up to date on your address and such. You will also be able to get any missing Notice of Assessments your tax preparer might require.
Extra Tip: Do this right away as it can take a couple weeks to get the security code to confirm access.
- Tell us about your personal situation – life changes impact your income taxes in ways you might not be aware of. You need to tell your tax preparer what changed for you in the tax year.
- Did you get married or divorced?
- Did you move, sell property, or do major renovations for accessibility?
- Did you go back to school; or did your child go to school?
- Did you have a baby?
- Did you, or someone you care for, become disabled or seriously ill?
- Did you start a business? Even a side gig like driving an Uber or becoming a social media influencer (yes, that’s a business).
- Did you start renting out your basement?
- Did you turn 65 or start collecting your CPP?
Extra Tip: No matter whether you think it impacts you or not, be upfront, and make sure the details are known so you can be confident you are getting every credit and deduction that you qualify for.
- Organize your paperwork – hopefully you’ve been keeping a file somewhere to put all of those slips and receipts you got throughout the year that you’ll need for your tax preparer. Many of them you will start getting now, at the beginning of the year, all the way until April. Some of these documents will be downloaded directly from the CRA into your return if you’re using a TurboTax product. If you haven’t been so vigilant in organizing (it happens, we know), then perhaps consider our financial resolutions this year, and work on it this year. Every year, make sure you provide:
- Employment & Other Income slips (T4s, T4As, T5s, T3s, T5008, T4AOAS, T4P…)
- Receipts..receipts…receipts (RRSP, Dues, Medical, Donations, Childcare, Moving…)
- Disability certificates, mortgage and property tax statements
- Business or rental income and expense information
- Student tuition and interest documents
Extra Tip: Whether you receive these digitally or as physical paper, make sure you are keeping these documents for 6 years post filing, in case the CRA chooses to audit your return.
- Figure out what you’re missing – medical expenses, for example, are one of those deductions that a lot of us don’t take advantage of merely because we lose receipts or don’t know what we’ve been spending. Here are a few things to do if you know you’ve spent money but don’t have any slips to show for it:
- Contact the pharmacy and your practitioner and get an annual statement. It is easy enough for them to print one off for you for all of your paramedical visits or your drug purchases; I recommend doing this regardless. Even the most thorough planner will lose a receipt or two; these statements are full and factual.
- If you have a health plan, you can print off online an annual report of the claims that have gone through. It will show you what was reimbursed and what was not. You can usually claim what wasn’t paid back to you already, if it is an allowable expense.
- If you must pay for that health plan through work or personal, make sure you find that receipt too as you might be entitled to claim that deduction.
- If you had to travel for specialists, make sure you have your dates, distance and any receipts; you might be able to claim these costs.
It is very important to make sure that you have everything you need to have a tax preparer do your tax return for you. Your tax expert knows the right questions to ask to make sure your taxes are done right. If this is the year you want someone else to do your taxes, consider TurboTax Live Full Service; you’ll be able to upload your documents online without the need to drop off in person, and once you authorize with the CRA, a dedicated tax expert will take care of the rest for you.
Accounting educator, business strategist, and advisor.
Turbo Tax Canada blog editor and writer.
Susan has been an accounting professional for over 20 years, and has been working with businesses and individuals and their taxes for the past 12. Education is a passion for Susan, and when not writing or talking about tax for TurboTax Canada, she can be found speaking at events, teaching at Mohawk College, and working with many businesses and entrepreneurs through her own accounting advisory practice. Susan is known to be approachable but pulls no punches when it comes to the reality of business finance and taxes.