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Last Minute Tips for Filing Your Canada Tax Return

Rebecca Rustin
Tax files

The deadline for filing your tax return is coming up quickly. Here are some last-minute tips for filing your income tax and benefit returns with the CRA.

What's the tax deadline?

For most Canadians, you must file your income tax and benefit return by no later than April 30. The self-employed have a bit more time because their deadline to file is June 15.  Remember, the self-employed must pay any tax balance owed for the previous year by April 30. Otherwise, you'll potentially face interest charges.

How can I file my taxes?

You can file your taxes to the CRA online, on paper through the mail or through the phone. Nearly 90 percent of Canadians file their taxes online and there are multiple free options to do this.  You can file your taxes on paper, too. If you filed via paper last year, you should have received your forms in February. If not, you can get a tax package from certain Canada Post Service offices or Caisse Populair Desjardins locations. You can also order one online or call the CRA at 1.855.330.3305.  Certain Canadians with low or fixed incomes can file their taxes via the phone. Those eligible will have received an invitation in the mail by now with personalized instructions.

What software can I use to file my tax return?

There's a wide selection of software you can use to file your tax return online. The CRA has a list of certified options here.

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Automatic, accurate mileage reports.

What do I need before filing my tax return?

Before you file your tax return, you should have:

  • All documentation supporting your income, deductions and credits you plan to have for your tax return
  • Your selection of how you're going to file your tax return (online, post or phone)
  • Assurances that your personal information is up to date with the CRA. This should include your marital status, address, banking information, number of children and other relevant info.

Once you have this, you're ready to submit your tax return to the CRA.

What do I need to do after filing my tax return?

Be sure to keep supporting documentation after you've filed your tax return. The CRA says you must keep your tax documents for at least six years after the tax year it's related to. Keeping a digital version of these records may make it easier to maintain them years down the road.

How to reduce your tax bill?

You can potentially reduce your tax bill by claiming all the deductions and credits you're entitled to. The self-employed can often claim more business deductions than the average employee. These deductions can lower your taxable income, which should ultimately lower the amount of taxes you'll have to pay.  If you use a personal vehicle for business purposes, don't forget to deduct your motor vehicle expenses on your taxes. A mileage-tracking app like MileIQ can help you automatically log your kilometres and create the needed records to lower your tax bill.

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