Doing taxes is never a joyful task. While some people go to accountants to get their tax returns filed, others do it themselves.
Be aware of the deadline for filing a tax return. For individuals, the deadline to file taxes is usually at the end of April. For small businesses and corporate tax returns, the due dates differ. You have to know the deadlines or you will likely pay late penalties, or worse, for filing your taxes late.
Here are some basic things you need to know about filing a tax return.
Gather all the necessary information
Depending on whether you were employed, self-employed, a contractor, etc., you need to gather all the necessary information for your taxes in your applicable circumstances. This applies even if you are not filing the tax return on your own, but using an accountant. You need to gather all income information for the year so the accountant can properly fill out your tax return.
Some of the information you need to gather in order to get ready to file your taxes may include:
- All T4 and/or T5 forms (one of the T forms is usually mandatory information you need to provide);
- Any and all receipts connected to your income;
- A copy of last year’s return for reference purposes and more.
Make sure the information that you have to fill out the tax return is correct
Once you have gathered all necessary information to fill out your tax return, you should make sure the contents are correct. Incorrect information could lead to reassessment of your tax return later on.
After you have gathered all information and ascertained the contents are correct, there are a number of ways you can file your tax return.
Filing the return
First of all, you need to get the most current tax kit from CRA for the correct tax year.
There are a number of ways you can file. You can either download the most current tax package from the CRA website to file on paper, or you can file online through EFILE or NETFILE.
You are probably also going to need some guides, schedules and other forms in order to help you with completing your tax return and to provide CRA with all information needed. You have to be careful when filling out tax returns as any mistakes made could lead to a review and/or reassessment.
CRA has general income and benefit guides on their website but they are specific to the province/territory in which individuals reside. You also need to make sure not only that you have the right guide for your province, that the guide is the most current for the tax year for which you are filing the return.
You can also get the income tax general guide and forms book for your province or territory from anypostal outlet or Service Canada office near you between February and early May each year.
If you are filing out a paper copy then you have to send the completed tax return package to your local tax centre, which is determined by province/territory and/or city.
You also need to keep your income tax information for at least six years, in case CRA wants to review your information.
Filing a tax return is not an easy task. If you have trouble filing your taxes or you have a more complicated tax situation on your hands, you may want to consult with an accountant or tax lawyer.
Canada Revenue Agency
Preparing Your Tax Return