How to Make the Most of your Tax Return
Being a parent isn’t cheap, especially when you have twins. Besides the cost of clothes, shoes, activities and toys, there are the everyday expenses associated with a home and family.
So this tax season, wouldn’t it be nice to not owe the government any money?
Making an error on your taxes can mean you pay more than necessary, so Cleo Hamel, Senior Tax Analyst with H&R Block Canada, offers the following tips on how to make the most of your tax return:
- File even with no income: Whether or not you have earned any money this year, make sure you file a tax return. There are benefits like the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and GST/HST benefit that are triggered once you file a return. If both parents live together, they each need to file in order to receive payments. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for provincial benefits. You do not need to have earned an income to qualify for these benefits. But if you don’t file, you won’t be paid.
- Do your homework: Missing a credit is like leaving money on the table. Make sure you look into all of the credits and deductions you are eligible to claim, including RRSP contributions, employment expenses, charitable donations, tuition and medical expenses. If you are missing receipts, take the time to track them down. It will pay off. Every piece of paper represents a little less tax you have to pay.
- Pool receipts: Married and common-law spouses may be able to pool charitable donations and medical expenses to maximize their tax savings. Parents can also claim the Transit Pass Credit for children younger than 19. The passes have to be for a period of at least one month, or they can be weekly passes purchased over a period of four consecutive weeks. Electronic payment cards may also qualify.
- File on time: A tax refund is money you have overpaid the government over the course of the year. File your return on time to get your money back. The government doesn’t pay interest on the money.
- Avoid a refund: When you file your return, the ideal situation is to not owe the government any money. If your situation has changed over the year, ask your payroll department if you can update your TD1 Form to reflect the changes. It may mean every paycheque has a few more dollars on it because you are not overpaying your taxes.
If you’re unsure of what credits or claims are allowed, consider online tax preparation software like H&R Block Tax Software, which identifies every deduction or credit, calculates your return as you go, and ensures you get the maximum refund.
**If you file before March 31, you can file one tax return for free.
If you need additional support, consider visiting an H&R Block office.
This is a sponsored post for H&R Block. As always, the opinions on this blog are 100% my own.
I love that they let you file one tax return for free! It can get really costly having to go to someone to do your taxes. I dread getting all the paperwork together. Thanks for getting me thinking about this!
Exactly, I love this too!
Great tips! I’m all set for tax time this year for once. I owe though so I wait till the last day to file LOL.
Ouch, but I hope it isn’t very much! Get those expenses taken care of! Each year I find new tricks, it’s like a challenge each year!! lol
We have special files in our office so we collect our tax records/receipts all year round and not scrambling for them at tax time. We prefer to have more money taken out throughout the year and get a rebate after filing our taxes. We put that refund right into the kids college fund!
Fantastic tip Debra! Having it all organized all year long and making sure things are properly field sure ease A LOT of stress come tax time. And putting the refund into a fund?! AWESOME! Love hearing this!!!
Taxes are one of the most stressful times of the year. I always worry that we are going to miss some deductions. I like the tip about avoiding a refund. So many times we look forward to that big check at the end of the year, but it would probably go to better use getting it throughout the year. 🙂
I once worked with someone that didn’t file … for years. It had nothing to do with me, but it stressed me out just knowing!! I like to get it done early and relax. one year I cut it down to the wire – never again!
Thanks for the tips and the reminder that it’s time to start as well 🙂
You are very welcome, let’s get this done and celebrate!!!
Great tips! I’m starting mine this weekend, it’s always nice to be totally done when some are still frantically scrambling.
Good for you! Make sure to stay up to date on the 2014 changes, do you know about the new Canadian Children’s Arts Tax Credit? I’m excited about that one!!
H&R Block helped me so much when I first started doing taxes, I remember them being such lifesavers. I would recommend them to anyone!
Same here! I had zero idea what I was doing, they were always so great at explaining everything to me.
Thanks for the tips, I promised myself that this year I was going to rock my taxes. I’m on a mission to get that rebate!
I enjoyed reading this even though I was a tax accountant for 30 years before I retired
I will be getting a refund this year…that’s a good thing 🙂 I had money taken off at source and I plan on putting it into a savings plan. I will need to check with my bank on what they advise. Thank you for the tips, Tammi!
I still do mine the old fashion way. Don’t receive any forms anymore so hopefully I will find some at the local Post Office. I worked at H&R Block for one season, so the software is not a problem.
I told my younger brother about H&R Block and suggested he take is taxes there this year instead of filing on his own. I told him I knew they probably find him some extra money.
We’re meeting with our financial planner tonight to make any additional contributions to our RRSPs…now if only I had our T4s and government tax receipts…….
Awesome advice and tips. I HATE doing taxes and am so lucky that my husband always takes the wheel and does it for us. But this year with working for myself I really think we need to hire a professional.
These great tips. I have always done my taxes and my hubs too of course. Its pretty easy to do and there are programs online that make it simple and not too hard to follow.
Every year I say I’m going to get started on my income tax early; every year I’m rushing during the last few days before the deadline (One year, before online filing existed, we got our returns to the post office minutes before midnight – very stressful!) Maybe this year …
Great tips! I’m just waiting on our t4’s and then we can get started! I actually enjoy doing my taxes & playing with the numbers 🙂