The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a few pointers ahead of this year’s tax deadline, including what you can claim, how to pay if you owe money and how to spot scams.
Normally, taxes must be filed by April 30, but the deadline has been adjusted slightly this year.
“Since that date falls on a Saturday, you have until Monday, May 2 to get your taxes done, so you have an extra two days this year,” said Robyn Brouillette, CRA spokesperson. “For any individuals who are self-employed or if their spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, then the filing deadline is June 15.”
Brouillette said filing on time will ensure no interruption to any benefits or credits. A late filing penalty may be imposed if you don’t file on time and you owe money.
“If you owe money and you can’t pay the full amount, you can call in and set up a payment arrangement and we can help you, at your convenience, pay that amount,” said Brouillette.
Brouillette said if you need to call the CRA for help, their phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, with extended hours available during tax season from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Call wait times are usually posted on the CRA website, and a callback feature is integrated into the automated phone system.
That said, she noted that if wait times are long, you can also visit the website to see if the answer to your question can be found there.
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed some workplaces to transition to an online format. Brouillette explained what you can do if you worked from home.
“If you worked more than 50 per cent of the time from home for four consecutive weeks, due to COVID-19, you might be able to claim up to $500 annually with the home office deduction.”
Brouillette said any COVID-19-related benefits, such as CERB, must be reported on your tax returns, as this counts as taxable income.
It’s also important to remember to get all of your personal information up to date when you’re filing, such as your address, marital status and direct deposit information.
“This will ensure there are no delays when receiving your notice of assessment or any refund and benefit payments you may be entitled to,” said Brouillette.
With the tax deadline approaching, fraudsters may start reaching out to Canadians in an attempt to steal money while claiming to be with the CRA.
“If a caller is demanding immediate payment by e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid gift cards, like iTunes gift cards, or if they’re using aggressive language or threatening you in any way, like with arrest or calling the police, those are tell-tale signs of a scam,” explained Brouillette.
“Just err on the side of caution and trust your inner voice. If you get any uneasy feelings, feel free to hang up that call and contact our general enquiries line and you can verify with one of our agents if we were actually trying to get in contact with you.”
More: CRA website