Grey Matters Blog
Taxes are due April 30th
by Geeta Bagga
Category: Articles, Information & Tips, Financial
I can always tell when spring is in the air, winter boots get put away, hot dog vendors hover on street corners, and of course I hear the loud knocking of the Canada Revenue Agency at my doorstep.
If you're not already aware, personal taxes are due April 30, 2010. You will need to file your taxes on or before this date to avoid any interest penalties (5 %) of the balance owing. I've always admired those who can file their own personal income taxes. I would assume in doing so, the individual would not only require a likeness for detail, but also an aptitude for patience. I, on the other hand am easily overwhelmed when having to scroll through 300+ lines within the standard income tax form. As a result, I rest my tax laurels on the professional advice of a tax accountant. But, in doing so, how can I rest assured that my personal situation is being fully considered, to take advantage of as many tax credits possible?
The only way to do this is through education. Understand basic tax rules; get a glimpse of the new ones and know if and how they apply to you. Then, when the time comes to sit with your accountant, you are better prepared as you pose general questions to determine if there are any tax credit/exemptions applicable to you.
Whether you are a pro at filing your own tax return or like me who hand deliver a sealed manila envelop to a 3rd party, there are websites available to help us better understand taxes. For instance, TaxTips.ca is a site designed to help Canadian taxpayers gain a better comprehension of specific tax related issues.
For example, I wanted to know what amounts I could claim for my child's swimming lessons. After doing research on the site, I learned of the $500 fitness credit for children. I was also able to learn about the differences between TFSA and RRSP, as well as the advantages of each? The site even provides information on where one can secure free tax preparation services, which are provided by volunteer tax preparation clinics across the country.
Another tax related website is Taxes.ca. Canadian taxpayers can leverage this site for information primarily on Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial taxation in addition to relevant financial planning information, such as mechanisms to reduce personal taxes through RRSP investments. The web site serves to provide many features, but the one I liked the most was the online forum (the TAXES.CA web blog) which presents and discusses tax and taxation related issues.
My advice this year, before you submit your taxes to Revenue Canada or your tax accountant do some due diligence ahead of time and make yourself aware of what tax breaks you are entitled to and/or can take advantage of. This exercise will not only echo where your money is going but also ensure that you leave as little as possible on the table. Happy Tax Season!
About Geeta Bagga: From Richmond Hill, Ontario, Her work intends to inspire and inform parents of sources covering a variety of topics.