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T4 Slips and Tax Tips: Taking the Stress Out of Filing

By Sandra Sperounes

One of the first signs of spring? T4 slips.

Yes, it’s tax time again. Can’t you feel the impending stress and procrastination in the air?

Whether you file online, by snail mail or use a tax professional, we want to make the experience as painless as possible. (Thirteen percent of Canadians still file paper returns, according to the latest statistics from the Canada Revenue Agency.)

Remember: April 30, 2019 is this year’s filing deadline.

Here are some tips to ensure your tax season is less, well, taxing.

WHAT TO KNOW
Some changes for the 2018 tax year:

• If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, you can now claim expenses for service animals. Pet food, insurance and veterinary care are considered expenses, as well as travel costs to and from animal training sessions.

• If you own a small business, you’ll be paying less corporate tax. The 2018 rate is 10 percent, down from 10.5 percent. (For the 2019 tax year, it’ll be nine percent.)

• Veterans with retirement income security benefits are now eligible for pension splitting, retroactive to 2015.

• You can no longer claim the first-time donor’s super credit or the employee home relocation loan deduction.

• If you receive income from a corporation, partnership or trust controlled by a family member, you might be subject to the tax on split income (TOSI) if you’re not actively involved in the business or you’re receiving an unreasonable return on the investment.

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• If you own a business, you can deduct more for items that depreciate—like computers or office furniture—purchased between November 20, 2018 and 2024. You’re eligible to claim 150 percent of the usual capital cost allowance, up from 50 percent.

ONLINE OPTIONS
• If you’re filing online, make sure the program is NETFILE-certified with the Canada Revenue Agency.

• A complete list of NETFILE-certified tax software is available via the CRA’s website: including free and paid programs from different companies.

• Compare programs before you start to prepare your taxes. Paid software features more options such as transferring last year’s tax data, unlimited tech support, access to tax experts, and adjusting previously filed returns.

SNAIL-MAIL SUGGESTIONS
• Mail your taxes with a tracking option to make sure the date and delivery are recorded.

• Send your return by April 30, 2019 to avoid late-filing penalties.

• Processing times for paper returns can take up to eight weeks—or four times longer than digital returns.

NEED HELP?
H&R Block offers basic tax prep starting at $49.99 (plus GST) until March 31, 2019. “Whether you file in one of our offices or online using our do-it-yourself software, we’re so confident that we’ll get it right, we offer a 100% Accuracy Guarantee and a Maximum Refund Guarantee, so you get back everything you’re owed,” says Kristi Gartner, manager of business development for H&R Block.

HOW TO SAVE
AMA members save 20% on H&R Block’s NETFILE-certified do-it-yourself digital tax software. Or visit one of H&R Block’s 1,200 offices across Canada and save 15% on in-store tax filing.