Its tax season and Canadians are busy filing and looking at how to file their taxes. But did you know that, according to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Canadians can do their tax return online, on paper, or by phone?
- Online- CRA provides a list of certified desktop and online software products. Some software products are free; you can check the list here. Another option is when you register for CRA My Account, you will have access to the secure Auto-fill my return service. If you use certain tax preparation software, it automatically fills in parts of your return, with information that the Canada Revenue Agency has on file for you.
- On Paper – Starting February 26, 2018, you can also obtain a tax package at Canada Post, Service Canada, and most Caisse Populaire Desjardins locations. Limited quantities will be available in those locations this tax season only. Or you can order the 2017 tax package for free at this link.
- By Phone – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is launching a new service for the 2018 tax?filing season to help eligible individuals with low or fixed income do their taxes. Those who are eligible will receive an invitation letter in the mail in mid-February 2018 and can use the File my Return services thru phone.
Now, here are the steps to filing an income tax and benefit return:
Step 1. Gather all the information and supporting documents needed. Some of the tax slips and receipts are the following:
- T4 Slips
- Employment Insurance Benefits (T4E)
- Interest, Dividends, Mutual Funds (T3, T5)
- Old Age Security and CPP Benefits (T4A-OAS, T4AP)
- All other information slips
- RRSP Contribution slips
- Medical Expenses
- Moving Expenses
- Charitable Donations
- All other receipts
Step 2. Select the software you will use if you want to file online. Or get the general income tax and benefit package for 2017 if you want to file on paper. But consider the time frame when paper-based filing.
NETFILE- certified tax preparation software offers you a convenient and secure way to do your taxes online. The Canada Revenue Agency has a list of certified software, some of which are free, which allows you to complete and send your return directly to the CRA.
Certified softwares including those are that free are listed HERE.
Or you can get the 2017 tax package at Canada Post (limited quantities, while supplies last)
Step 3. Make sure your personal information is up to date. Important pieces of information are the following:
- Marital Status
- Number of Children
- Banking Information
- Other personal information
Step 4. Report your Income
Declare the income you received in the year from all sources, both inside and outside Canada.
Step 5. Find out which deductions, tax credits, and benefits you can claim.
In order to get most of your tax refunds, you must know which benefits you can claim. It is all available on the CRA website, all you have to do is read and understand its content. In doing so, you will also get to know if there are any tax-relief options available. But, again if you need help in knowing all those things, you can always hire a certified tax preparer. Meanwhile, here is the link for the tax benefits:
Step 6: Send your return to the Canada Revenue Agency
If you are filing online, at the end of your form you have the button to submit it using NETFILE-certified software or through an EFILE service provider, such as a tax preparer and it automatically sends to CRA.
You can also file a paper return by mailing it to your tax center after completing it. (Consider the snail mail timeframe).
Step 7. Keep your supporting documents
Keeping hold of important documents is a MUST! It might be worth checking out filecenterdms.com and using some document management software to help with organisation. It might make your life much easier! According to CRA…
You must keep all your tax documents for at least six years after the last tax year they relate to. If you filed your return late, your records must be kept for six years from the date the return was filed. If you claimed expenses, deductions or tax credits, make sure you keep all your receipts and related documents in case the Canada Revenue Agency asks to see them.