Whether you’re looking forward to it, or completely dreading it, there is no avoiding the fact that tax season is quickly approaching us (in Canada at least).
Yes, I realize that the date you HAVE to have your taxes in by is the end of April, but who actually enjoys scrambling for their T4 slips and charitable donation receipts at the 11th hour, trying to get the envelope shoved in the mail before the cut off? I don’t. Then again I file mine online, so there’s no envelope shoving involved.
Given that I don’t have my T4 slips yet, and I’m still making RRSP contributions, I’m no where near ready to file. That being said, I’m a planner. I like having everything right where I need it so that when the time comes I’m not getting blindsided. Thinking about it now also gives me some time to make changes if I need to. Doing a quick estimate off my last pay stub gives me a rough idea of whether or not I need to start saving up to pay for my taxes. I made a lump sum contribution to my RRSPs for my annual HBP repayment during the summer, so I know I’m covered on that front.
I have my fingers crossed big time that I’ll have a return this year so I can pay off my car faster and start rebuilding my emergency fund. In the mean time, I’m going to start getting my ducks in a row to make the process as painless as possible. This is what I’m going to be tracking down:
- CRA log in information – because changing my password every year is a royal pain in the ass.
- Last year’s tax return information – because they ask for it every year and I sure don’t memorize it. Line 150 anyone?
- All T4 slips. ALL. OF. THEM. – Who wants to trigger an audit over $50 you made, forgot about, and didn’t declare?
- All RRSP/RPP contributions – I know I made them, now I’m crossing my fingers that they offset any tax I may owe.
- Any capital gain/loss information – I don’t believe I have any this year, but I’m going to need to double check that.
- Charitable donation receipts – One of my goals last year was to donate more to charity. Now it will help me as well as them.
- Rental income total – Need I say more? Same story as the T4 slips here.
- Mortgage and utility information – If you have a renter, the interest and utility costs on the area you’re renting is tax deductable. I do up a spreadsheet each year with this info because trying to keep track of it any other way is just onerous.
That’s what I’m going to be looking for personally, but there are other things that you might want to gather up for your own taxes that don’t apply to me:
- Day care receipts
- Children’s sport receipts
- Medical receipts
- Moving expense receipts
- Transit passes and pricing information
- University tuition and book receipts
- Business expense receipts
I’ve been trying to do a better job of keeping everything together so that come time to file it’s all in one spot. I have a folder per year in my filing cabinet for this. That way I should be able to grab the last two years’ folders and hit the ground running. The 2012 folder isn’t up to date just yet because I still have a handful of charitable contribution receipts to print off, along with all of the misc paperwork (T4, RRSP, etc…) that still needs to come in the mail.
Last year a handful of major banks offered discount codes to their customers to cover the cost of using online tax preparation software. I have my fingers crossed that they’ll do it again this year so I don’t need to pay for anything.
Have you thought about what you need to do to get ready to file your taxes? Are you an early filer or a late filer? Can you think of anything in my list of things to organize that’s missing?
Recommended Reading: The Meaning of Life is to Live in the Now