The deadline for filing taxes (April 30) is near, and for all of you who saved the paperwork to the last minute, there are ways to make your filing process a lot smoother.
Having all your files organized at the beginning of the year is ideal for tax season, but most Canadians fail to do this, says Paul Drouillard, accountant and partner of Drouillard Sambrook Kingston LLP based in Cambridge, Ont. Drouillard says what stresses out Canadians the most is the "report card syndrome."
"Unfortunately, most people are not good record keepers. This causes a great deal of stress trying to find and summarize all of your income and expenses," he says. "Canadians usually have no idea if they owe or get a refund, so the anxiety levels in large is the anticipation that they may still owe more taxes."
Although Canadians are paying more taxes overall, our amounts are considered low compared to 33 other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, according to a recent study.
Drouillard says all this stress (and the boredom of filing) can be avoided by following a simple checklist and figuring out what your income and/or lifestyle allows you to claim.
"The one major mistake people make when filing is not claiming all of their income," he says. "Another common mistake is not claiming all of the tax credits available such as caregiver and attendant care, for example."
But be careful if you plan on filing your taxes through a software program. Drouillard says they often don't have an option for some of these specific claims. When in doubt, contact an accountant or tax expert.
Here are Drouillard's 12 tips for all of your last-minute filers: