With the end of 2010 behind us, now’s as good a time as any to start thinking about income tax returns. In Canada, personal tax returns for the 2010 tax year must be postmarked or submitted electronically on or before May 2, 2011, since April 30 is a Saturday. Even though that’s almost four months off, it’s not too early to get started.
Within the next few weeks you’ll start to receive tax information slips, such as T4 income slips from your employer, T2202A tuition receipts from your school, and investment earnings statements from your bank. Throughout the last year you should also have kept receipts for charitable donations, medical expenses, public transit passes, and other tax-deductible expenses. Now is the time to make sure you know where all of these documents are. If any are missing or incorrect, you have time now to get in touch with the organization that issued them and request a copy. Issuers are required to provide your copy by February 28, 2011.
Another form you should locate is your 2009 Notice Of Assessment, which the Canada Revenue Agency sent you after you filed your 2009 income tax return, along with your refund cheque if you were entitled to one and you hadn’t registered for direct deposit. You will need this to register for the CRA’s My Account service, and to fill in parts of your return, such as your available tuition credits and RSP deduction limit. You’ll need all of these forms together to complete your return accurately, and if you get them all together now, you’ll be able to file your return faster in a couple months. And if you file early and you’re eligible for a refund, you’ll get it back faster!
One more thing you can do now to get your rebates and refunds faster later is sign up for direct deposit, or update your banking information if it has changed. You will need to fill out form T1-DD(1) and send it with a void cheque to your Tax Services Office. It can take some time for the change to take effect, so it’s best to get the ball rolling early. You can update your banking info when you file, but then you will be required to mail in a paper return.
For more information, see the CRA’s tax return information website. If you have questions about your personal income tax return, it’s not too early to contact a tax professional. After all, it’s what they do.