REGINA - It’s time to get ready to file taxes! The Canada Revenue Agency encourages being organized, and knowing what has changed for the filing year, as residents start to gather the necessary documents and statements to file a tax return.
“It is really important to stay organized, as the best way to have a big impact on your tax refund is to make sure you are aware of everything that you should include on your tax return,” said Joanne de Waal, communications manager, Western Region, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The best way to stay organized is to sign into a CRA online account, and use the online portal to update any information. There are separate CRA online services for both personal tax returns, and business tax returns.
As residents track down any receipts or documents needed for their tax return, it is important to remember that the deadline to contributing to an RRSP is March 1. Employers are responsible to ensure that T4 slips are available to their employees by midnight on February 28.
“We recommend that residents use their CRA account to check if they have any uncashed cheques on their file, if one got lost, stolen, or destroyed. CRA cheques never expire or become stale-dated and it is important to claim the money that is outstanding,” said de Waal.
Medical expenses are important to claim, and residents who use the same pharmacist for their prescriptions can ask for a printout of everything that should be claimed.
“This is also the last year to claim the Saskatchewan home renovation tax credit, and any receipts up to December 21, 2022 can be claimed this year,” added de Waal.
Canadian residents are also eligible for the Climate Action Incentive Payments, which returns fuel charge proceeds to households on a more regular basis. Residents of Saskatchewan will receive four equal quarterly payments of the Climate Action Incentive Payment in April, July, and October of this year and the fourth in January 2024.
Completing a tax return online is also the best way to get critical information to the government on time. “Last year, 90 per cent of Canadians filed electronically. By filing online, those who are registered for direct deposit usually see a return in their account in up to eight business days,” said de Waal.
For most Canadians, the deadline to pay their taxes and file their return for 2022 is April 30, 2023. Because this date is a Sunday, a return will be considered filed on time if the CRA receives it, or it is postmarked, on or before May 1, 2023. A payment will be considered made on time if the CRA receives it, or a Canadian financial institution processes it, on or before May 1, 2023.
It is critical to ensure that tax returns are completed by the deadline, as the Canadian government uses that deadline date to returns to determine tax credits, child and family benefits, and other credits that are based on income.
For those residents who need to call the Canada Revenue Agency, the estimated wait time for the call centres can be found online. The call centres hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
In the upcoming year, the First Home Savings tax-free savings account will be introduced by the Canada Revenue Agency. This new registered plan would give prospective first-time home buyers the ability to save $40,000 on a tax-free basis. “The best way to describe this is that it is a love child of a RRSP and a tax-free savings account,” sadi de Waal. “Like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), contributions would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including from investment income—would be non-taxable, like a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).”