Last-Minute Tax Tips

May 19, 2020
Jackie Porter

Article written by Jackie Porter

Have You filed your taxes yet?

Good news for tax filers.  Due to the pandemic, the government has extended the tax deadline to June 1st.   This means that you now have until June 1st to file your taxes and until September 1st to pay your taxes should you have taxes owing.   For Canadians who have yet to file their taxes, the 2019 tax deadline presents a unique opportunity:  you have an extra month to cash in on tax credits and deductions you may be entitled to.  Research your eligibility for tax benefits before its too late!

Many Canadians Have Missed the Original Tax Deadline.

 Keep in mind, if you have not filed yet, you are not the only one who has put off this important task in the midst of the coronavirus.    In fact, according to H and R Block, 45 percent of Canadians have still not filed their tax return as of May  1st.    This suggests that as a country, Canadians were not ready to file their taxes on April 30th.   Were you one of them?  Do you tend to procrastinate filing your taxes because you find the process onerous and confusing, especially with some many other tasks on your plate right now?  It doesn’t have to be this way.   Read on for last-minute tax tips to increase your refund and to minimize any taxes owing to the government for 2019.

Avoid Late Filing Tax Penalties

Now that you have more time, be sure to not miss the June 1st tax deadline.  Also, be aware that the tax deadline for self-employed professionals and corporations have not changed.  Penalties for missing the deadline start to add up quickly.  Late filing costs start at 5 percent of any balance owing, plus 1 percent for each month your return is late for up to 12 months. Filing taxes on time means you will also avoid any interruptions to benefits you may be entitled to such as the Canada Child Benefits, HST and seniors benefit ( to name a few).


Get Organized

Have all of the documents you will need for filing on hand, including tax receipts, childcare receipts, social insurance numbers, and dates of birth for your immediate family members. It is also helpful to have a copy of your last year’s tax returns to get a sense of what receipts and benefits you claimed and to guide you as you fill out your current tax return.  If you are a business owner you will need to review your statement of business activities to see what you have claimed and to ensure you have captured everything. Documents on hand should also include prepaid tax installments.   

DoYour Taxes Online and Register For My Account

CRA is experiencing significant delays in processing paper tax returns.  In fact, paper returns pose a unique challenge as we navigate the coronavirus.  You are advised to refile your taxes online with a certified tax software provider if your tax return has not yet been processed.  You can file online directly with CRA for free using U  file or E file.    If you have filed taxes online before you will be able to get through your taxes faster as the information from the previous year is saved and can be automatically filled out along with any unclaimed credits, losses not used from a previous tax return.

You should also register for My Account so that stay informed on your taxes after you file it. My Account will send you detailed information on your tax credits and benefits along with sending you any alerts regarding your personal tax return and Notice of Assessments.


Last Minute Credits You May Be Entitled To:

Moving expenses

Have you moved due to a new job or a full -time academic course?  You may be entitled to deduct moving costs from your tax claim.   You will need to have all the receipts related to the move on hand when filing your taxes.  Check out the CRA website to find out if you’re eligible.

 Disability Tax Credit

If you are living with a disability or caring for someone in this position, you can qualify for additional tax credits. A medical practitioner must verify your eligibility as it will likely mean there are other benefits you should be receiving as a disabled person.

Other Medical Expenses

The CRA provides a list of medical expenses that may be tax-deductible. Commonly known expenses include prescription medications. Lesser-known expenses include air filters, orthopedic shoes and B12 supplements.

Interest Deductions on Investment and Student Loan Debts

If you are paying interest on loans taken out for investment purposes or student loan debt, the interest may be deductible.


Get Educated and Seek Support

Even though the government had provided extra time to file your taxes this year, don’t wait until the last minute.  It is a good idea to stay on top of your receipts and eligibility for tax programs throughout the year so you are less stressed out close to the deadline.   Many more benefits will likely be offered to taxpayers due to the economic impact of the coronavirus so checking CRA’s website on a regular basis gives you a chance to stay informed on what you will be entitled to for the 2020 tax year.  Seek support if you need help with filing your taxes. You are not alone if you are feeling overwhelmed and just can’t bear to add another task on your To-do list.  Community organizations are hosting free virtual clinics. A number of professional tax businesses are also providing online support.