Tax season is fast approaching, which can be a confusing and stressful time for some Canadians.
To help ease the stress, CTVNews.ca spoke with three experts in the Canadian tax sphere to help Canadians prepare.
IMPORTANT DATES TO KNOW
The biggest date to know is March 1, which is the deadline for RRSP contributions to count for this tax season.
Josee Cabral, a spokesperson for H&R Block, told CTVNews.ca that there is no “golden rule” for how much Canadians should be looking to contribute to maximize their tax return, but that tax experts can do that math in advance, if you’re prepared early enough.
“It all depends on your income and what other deductions that you’re entering,” she said in a recent virtual interview.
“I always let people know if you get your T4 in advance, send it over to me. I’ll do a simulation. I’ll enter your T4 and I’ll give you examples of what is the best amount in your situation for you to have the best refund possible.”
The second big date is traditionally April 30, which is the tax filing deadline if you owe taxes, but because the deadline is a Saturday, Canadians won’t have to file until the next business day: May 2.
If you are self-employed, you have until June 15 to file your return, but if you owe taxes, you still need to pay by May 2.
COVID-19 MEASURES AND HOW THEY AFFECT YOUR TAXES
Michael Espinoza, a senior manager with Grant Thornton, said that if you were among the Canadians to make use of either the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, or the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, they need to be included as your taxable income for the year.
“Depending on what kind of benefits you may have received, you may also be receiving a slip — T4A or T4B — from the Canada Revenue Agency outlining the amounts that you would have received, and these amounts are taxable, so they do need to be reported,” he said.
Additionally, the popular $400 work-from-home benefit from last year has been expanded to $500 because the benefit in 2020 really only began in March 2020, compared to the full year this time around.
“It could be for things like office chairs, office desks, any other sort of computer equipment, printer, for example, things that you would have needed to work from home and would make working from a lot easier,” Espinoza said.
If you’ve been working from home in 2021 and spent more than $500 home office expenses, you can have your employer fill out a T2200 or T2200s form, which allows you to claim the actual amount you paid in home office expenses, provided you have the documentation to prove it.
In addition to office supplies, Cobral said employees can now claim personal protective equipment (PPE) if they need it for work.
“As long as you have the receipts, you can go ahead and claim it,” she said. “Of course, if you’re only claiming PPE, it’s not a very big deduction, so you would want to add on your rent, your electricity, your phone bill and any kind of supplies that you need to purchase to work from home.”
Sunny Widerman, CEO of Personal Tax Advisors in Toronto, said for the most part those who rent will find it more advantageous to fill out …….