Report from Parliament Hill
Preparing for tax season
Bob Nault, MP, Kenora Riding
Taxes pay for the services and support which communities in the Kenora riding need. The benefits Northerners enjoy are made possible through taxes, such as social benefits like Old Age Security and the Canada Child Benefit. Canada’s tax system pays for roads, schools, health care, social security, and public safety, among other things. Tax revenue is also used to deliver benefits to lower income families, students, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
With tax season upon us, it is important that you’re prepared to file your tax return and receive the benefits and credits that you are entitled to. For most people, the deadline to do their 2018 taxes is April 30, 2019. This year, online filing for individuals began on February 18, 2019; with the deadline for contributing to an RRSP is March 1, 2019.
There are some simple steps you can take before filing your return to ensure things go smoothly. First, collect your supporting documents. To file an income tax and benefit return online, it’s important to have all the required documentation, such as you T4 slip.
Second, get information about deductions and tax credits which can be claimed to reduce the amount of tax you pay. You can find information on where to claim these amounts on the income tax and benefit return form which is available on the Canada Revenue website or in the 2018 Income Tax Package. To receive benefits and credits that you are entitled to, make sure to file your income tax and benefits returns on time, even if you have no income to report. It’s also very important to keep your personal information up to date as it makes filing much easier.
The Climate Action Incentive payment can be claimed by eligible residents of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick. A 10 per cent supplement is available to residents of small and rural communities which is defined by Statistics Canada. The Climate Action Incentive payment will first reduce any balance owing, and may create or increase any refund you may be entitled to receive.
The third step is to file your taxes. There are many people who choose to file their own return online using certified tax preparation software. The list of certified software for the 2018 tax-filing year is available on the CRA website at cra.gc.ca/netfile. A second option is ‘File my Return’ which is offered to eligible Canadians with low or fixed income whose financial situation remains unchanged from year-to-year. This option is provided through a dedicated, automated phone service. Canadians eligible for this service will receive a personalized invitation letter in the mail.
If you want to file a paper return, you will need to get a copy of the General Income Tax and Benefit Package for the 2018 tax year. T1 packages have been sent to Canadians who filed by paper the previous year. If you want to file a paper return and still haven’t received a package from the CRA, order a package by going to canada.ca/get-cra-forms, or by calling 1-855-330-3305 (for service in English) or 1-855-330-3310 (for service in French).
When you file electronically, it generally takes as little as eight business days to process. For those who file a paper return and choose to receive their refund by cheque, it generally takes four to six weeks to process the return.
File income tax and benefit returns—for free. These clinics are usually open from February to the end of April every year. To find a clinic in your community, go to canada.ca/taxes-help.