04/11/2014 09:06 EDT | Updated 06/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Simple Ways to Make Tax Season Painless

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Tax season has begun. This yearly tradition is dreaded by many Canadians, but it doesn't need to be. Taxes are what keeps our roads paved, our schools running, and our health care free. When we think about the money we give to the government, we don't always realize that our money is going towards things we take for granted every day. So, approach the upcoming tax filing deadline with a positive outlook.

And to make the process smoother for you, Consolidated Credit offers a couple of tax reducing ideas.

A Few Good Files - You don't need a few good men like Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson to follow this tip, just a few good files. Investing in a small filing cabinet will make your life so much easier come tax time. Keeping all your records in one place will prevent you from having to go chase down documents at the last minute. Collect and file away your T4s and any deduction-related receipts. Also, keep your tax returns from previous years around to use as a guide.

The Taxbusters - Your tax return isn't as scary as a bunch of ghosts descending on New York City. There are loads of ways you can make your tax return work for you. Use the Internet to find out what deductions and tax credits apply to your own situation. If you are raising children, you will be able to claim everything from swimming lessons to hockey camp as a deduction. Regardless of your situation, there is probably a credit that applies to it. Do your research, and save your money.

If you follow those two simple tips, you may find yourself with a larger than expected tax refund. The average Canadian gets a refund of about $1,600 -- sounds good, right? So, when you get that cheque in the mail, should you blow it all on a shopping spree? No!

Be responsible and spend, or save, it wisely.

Kill Your Bills - Take Uma Thurman's lead and exact vengeance on your bills. Use your tax refund money to decrease, or eliminate, any bills that have been piling up. The peace of mind you will have is a much better gift to yourself than a pair of new shoes from the mall.

Saving in the Rain - Take that refund and put it in your savings account. Just like Gene Kelly, you are going to have a smile on your face. Put the money away for when you really need it. Too many people are one unexpected expense away from being in trouble with their debt. Build yourself a little nest egg and label it in your mind as "For Emergencies Only." This way, one obstacle in your life won't completely derail your plans.


Free Software For Canadian Taxes 2013