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We are well into tax season and whether you’re an eager beaver or a procrastinator, you’re either jumping for joy or frantically searching for last year’s paperwork.
The major causes of stress during tax season are leaving things to the last minute, and not knowing where all your key documents are. Keeping everything organized prior to this hectic season is essential, but not always viable. Receipts get lost, slips go unfiled, and paperwork alone can be daunting.
Here are quick tips to help keep your stress at a minimum during tax season.
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1 Have a checklist and stay organized!
Having receipts ready and organized to show out-of-pocket expenses is easier said than done. And although they do not have to be sent in, if the government needs to see them at a moment’s notice and they’re scattered, you’re looking at hours of decluttering. Whether you use a cloud-based filing system or paper file folders, start by keeping:
[list_item icon=”fa-check-circle-o”]Charitable donations[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-check-circle-o”]Medical expenses[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-check-circle-o”]Childcare expenses[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-check-circle-o”]Annual union or professional dues[/list_item]
[list_item icon=”fa-check-circle-o”]Things relevant to your business or personal situation[/list_item]
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2 Know what has changed for tax claims this year – here are a few:
- Education and textbook credits:
Cannot be claimed but can forward unused amounts from previous years.
- Children’s credits:
Extracurricular activities aren’t eligible for tax claims
- Public Transit:
Claiming public transit is over, and only available for last year from Jan 1 – June 30
- Canada Caregiver credit:
The government has added in three previously existing tax breaks into the Canada caregiver credit.
- Disability tax credit:
Nurse practitioners can certify Canadians living with a disability for this tax break.
- Medical Expense tax credit:
Women are able to claim fertility treatments and can refile their taxes from previous in vitro fertilization during any of the past 10 years.
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3 Get rid of old documents – Time to Store or Shred!
The more clutter, the more confusion. The end of each tax season marks another opportunity to purge. Did you know that after filing your 2017 taxes, you can shred all supporting documents up to 2010*. If you need help organizing or purging, First Stop Services catalogues and stores files for future use and reference, as well as, shreds old documents too!
*laws do vary depending on one’s personal situation therefore we advise all our customers to double check with their accountants prior to purging old tax files.