Tax season 101: 5 ways to get the most from your tax return

It's time to get serious about your 2013 tax return

Want to pay less tax? Silly question really - who wouldn’t want to pay less tax? You would be surprised, though, how many Canadians don’t take the necessary precautions to ensure they get everything they are entitled to when it comes tax time.

Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst for H&R Block Canada, offers the following tips to ensure you make the most of your 2013 tax return...


5 tips to maximize your return

  1. Do your homework

Missing a credit is like leaving money on the table. Research credits and deductions you may be eligible to claim, including RRSP contributions, employment expenses, charitable donations, tuition and medical expenses. And if you are missing receipts, it is worth the extra time to track them down. Every piece of paper represents a little less tax you have to pay.

  1. File even with no income

There are benefits like the Canada Child Tax Benefit and GST/HST benefit that are calculated based on your last tax return filed. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for provincial benefits. You do not need income to qualify for these benefits. But not filing means the benefits will not be paid. Both parents have to file in order to receive the CCTB.

  1. Combine receipts

Married and common-law spouses may be able to pool charitable donations and medical expenses to maximize their tax savings. The same is true with the Transit Pass Credit for families. Parents can claim passes for children younger than 19.

  1. File on time

A tax refund is money you have overpaid the government over the course of the year, so file your return and get it back. The government doesn’t pay interest on the money.

  1. Avoid a refund

Ultimately, you want to owe the government nothing when you file your return. If your situation has changed over the year, ask your payroll department if you can update your TD1 Form to reflect the changes. It may mean every paycheque has a few more dollars in it, because you are not overpaying your taxes.

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