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Tips for 2014 tax season

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 10:33 am

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Whether you’re filing your 2014 tax return online, with the assistance of a financial advisor, or the old-fashioned way with paper, pen, a jug of white-out and a calculator, the sooner you get it done the better.

Brandy Horn, a partner at MNP in Airdrie said the sooner you get your tax return filed, the less stress you will cause yourself.

“The longer you wait, the more stressed you’ll get,” said Horn, who said she has seen the entire spectrum of people when it comes time to file. “We have people who come in and have everything organized and others with shoe boxes full of receipts.”

Horn advises that whether or not you’re organized, it never hurts to save all of your receipts from the year.

“Don’t throw out any of your receipts, you can’t necessarily deduct everything, but without the receipt, there’s nothing you can do,” she said.

When it comes to deductions, there haven’t been too many significant changes to what can and can’t be claimed on your tax return, though there are a few items that are often overlooked, according to Horn.

“The most common one I see being missed is private health service plans,” Horn said. “If your employer provides a medical or dental benefit plan, sometimes it doesn’t show up on your T4, but you can claim it.”

Conversely, life insurance plans and disability benefits can not be claimed on your tax return.

The filing process itself is not extremely complex according to Horn and most people should be able to handle filing their own return.

“If you are only filing one T4 it’s fairly easy, there’s a lot of great software out there to assist in the process,” she said. “If you own your own business or rental property or something like that, it might be a better idea to consult a professional so that you can take every advantage on your return.”

One new section on this year’s tax return is first-time donors to a charitable organization can take advantage of the first-time donor super credit, so long as they have the tax receipt as proof.

The Canadian Government is also clamping down on people who hold assets outside of the country.

“If you have property outside of Canada you may have to report it. You should check with an accountant to avoid penalties,” said Horn.

The deadline for most Canadians to file their tax return is April 30; self-employed Canadians have until June 15.


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