Of all the milestones in your life, filing your first income tax return probably isn't the one you look forward to most. It's no wonder. But since it can't legally be avoided, being prepared for the experience and understanding what you're getting into can make your first time with the Canada Revenue Agency less intimidating.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) shuttered its local inquiry and payment desks last October. The agency has abandoned the practice of mailing hard-copy tax return packages except by specific request. The Telefile system, which allowed Canadians with simple returns to enter their data over the telephone, no longer exists. In case you haven't gotten the hint, the CRA wants to deal with you online.
So you filed your income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) well in advance of the April 30 deadline. Everything went without a hitch and you have a refund cheque in your hands, or directly deposited in your bank account. Free and clear until next year, right? Not quite. In fact, the tax return process has just begun at this point. It's not over until the CRA has finished its slip-matching program during the next few months.
No matter how many politicians in Ottawa may prefer to settle cases, the hired guns at the Department of Justice don't seem to have been copied on that memo. Their mandate is to litigate, and their client -- the CRA -- has infinitely deep pockets. So there is no reason to settle, and no reason to refrain from motions and appeals, regardless of how many lawyer-hours are spent.
Our government is taking action to ensure that our tax laws are respected, while simultaneously working at home and abroad to ensure that our tax system meets Canadians' expectations of fairness and transparency. We are supporting international talks to better share information and working to close loopholes.
It is nice to receive a cheque from the government but a tax refund is not good, because you are only receiving your own money back. Your tax refund is money you have overpaid the government during the year. You want to pay the right amount of tax during the year, rather than give the government an interest-free loan.
Filing your tax return may seem like an unnecessary task if you earned little to no income during the year. Or if you are expecting a refund, your attitude may be that there is no rush to file by the April 30 tax deadline. However, there are some very good reasons to file your tax return on time every year.