IF you have a family, filing an income tax return is about more than just declaring what you owe – it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many credits and benefits available to support your family finances. The deadline to file your personal income tax and benefit return is April 30, but why wait – especially if you’re expecting a refund or claiming benefits.
File your return online now – and if you’re getting a refund and are using direct deposit, you could see your refund in your bank account in as little as eight business days! The CRA has a list of certified software packages including some that are free. To find out more, go to www.netfile.gc.ca. Or, if you’d rather do your return with pencil and paper, the 2013 General Income Tax and Benefit packages for your province or territory are available at Canada Post.
However, if you, or your spouse or common-law partner, are self-employed, you have until June 15 to file your return. As June 15, 2014 falls on a weekend, the filing deadline has been extended to Monday, June 16, 2014. But take note: if you’re self-employed and have a balance owing for 2013, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2014.
If your family is juggling school, work, and recreational activities, consider filing your return ahead of the deadline for a little peace-of-mind. Skip the last-minute number crunching and avoid stress by taking advantage of the Canada Revenue Agency’s secure electronic services. Using online help tools like videos and webinars, the CRA will walk you through the basics of completing your income tax and benefit return, making it easier than ever to file your taxes. Even if you haven’t earned any income in the past year, you should still file an income tax and benefit return to ensure you receive the credits and benefits to which you are entitled. From the $100 monthly universal child care benefit, available for all children under six years of age, to the Canada child tax benefit, there are benefits available to help families with their expenses during the year. For more about your benefits and credits, go to www.cra.gc.ca/benefits.
Whether your child’s dreams are a career on hockey skates, racing down the slopes on a snowboard, or performing for a famous ballet company, paying for lessons to make those dreams a reality can be costly. Save your receipts to claim the fees you have paid of up to $500 per child under the children’s fitness tax credit, a non-refundable claim that could mean savings of up to $75 per child.
Is your child a budding artist or musician? If your child attends programs that contribute to his or her development, you may be eligible for a break at tax time. Tutoring also qualifies for the credit. The children’s arts tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $75 for each child.
The CRA has reserved a portion of its website for families and the particular tax situations that may apply to them. Using the website search function, go to the ‘Top things families should know about taxes’ page. A quick read covers many of the things you need to know about your tax return, including how to claim the working income tax benefit for families with low income, child care expenses, the family caregiver amount, and the child disability benefit.
If you need help filing your return, have a modest income, and a simple tax situation, contact the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which runs volunteer tax clinics across the country. To find a volunteer tax preparation clinic, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.
With so many options available to guide you during this tax season, there’s no excuse to delay. To get started on your taxes, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.
Don’t miss the latest CRA news or tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency
(Canada Revenue Agency)