The Canada Revenue Agency’s EFILE service will open on February 24, 2020 for filing your 2019 T1 personal income tax and benefit return, giving you plenty of time to file your taxes before the updated deadline of June 1, 2020. Here are four tips to get you on your way to tackle tax season with confidence.
Know when you can do it yourself and when you need to hire an expert.
Consider both the complexity of your tax return and your own comfort level with the tax filing process.
If you feel your tax situation is more complicated, you may be considering having your tax return prepared by a professional. Some examples may include having sold significant assets during the year, being self-employed, or owning rental properties.
On the flip side, if your tax return information largely consists of tax slips, then filing your own tax return may be a good option to consider. You can also use CRA’s auto-fill my return service that may speed up the process. It’s important to note that it is your responsibility to ensure the auto-fill information is accurate.
Start compiling the information you’ll need to file your 2019 tax return.
Whether you are filing on your own or through the help of a professional, you are responsible to gather all the relevant pieces of information. This may include information related to your employment, investments, education, charitable donations, medical expenses, and child care expenses.
While you’ll still require the same information as in prior years, you may notice that the T1 has been redesigned for 2019.
Be wise with your tax refund and have a plan.
If you will be receiving a tax refund this year, consider how you may want to utilize these funds:
- If you have high interest debt (such as credit card or higher interest personal loans), consider paying down your debt;
- Re-invest your tax refund in an RRSP or TFSA if you have 2020 contribution room; or
- Create a rainy day fund and be prepared for emergencies.
Maximize your RRSP contributions and don’t get dinged for over contributing.
- Check your previous years Notice of Assessment to find out how much RRSP room you have. You can easily login to CRA using your ATB Online banking credentials through Secure Key Concierge.
- You have 60 days after year end to make contributions for the previous tax year.
- Try a pre-authorized contribution so you don't get caught trying to scrape together a lump sum at the end of the year.
For more information on year-end taxes as it relates to your investments, we are always here to help. For tax advice, we recommend seeking professional guidance from an accountant or tax lawyer.
Editor's note: This article was previously published and has since been refreshed to make sure the insights we bring you are timely.