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Updated on January 1, 2019

It’s time to file taxes again and I must confess that I have been looking forward to this day since January 1st! lol.

Generally, Canadians are required to file their taxes on or before April 30, 2019. Individuals with self-employment income have until June 15, 2019. If you are wondering why I’m gung-ho on filing my tax return early? Well, duh! “It’s the refund, stupid!” Haha! 😉

Filing My Taxes in 2019

When we immigrated to Canada in 2011, I initially used the UFile Tax Software in completing our family tax returns. In the first 2 years or so, while doing my post-graduate studies (and earning very little), I was able to use the software free of charge. However, following graduation and starting full time work, that was no longer possible. UFile is only available for free if your total family income is less than $20,000.

It was at this time that I started looking at other online tax software available in Canada – both paid and free versions. Free online tax software versions that have no income restrictions are increasing in popularity and are available from TurboTax Free, H&R Block, StudioTax,  and SimpleTax.
turbotax

While these are free to use for filing your tax return, you may not have access to some premium features including the ability to transfer your previous tax information and store your return online. They may also not be suitable for more complicated tax situations.

I have tried TurboTax Free, but prefer the Standard TurboTax (20% discount link) version for the additional benefits including expert guidance, ability to store tax return online for 7 years, automatic optimizations to maximize refund, and so on.

For a more efficient tax filing, I use the Canada Revenue (CRA) auto-fill option available through TurboTax and CRA My Account. What the auto-fill option does is to automatically fill in parts of your tax return by using information already available with CRA. This option is expected to make tax returns more accurate and also save filers some time.

So, what documents do you need to complete your tax return?

Sample Tax Return Checklist

  • T4 slips – income or pension; T4, T4A, T4E, T4A(OAS), T4RSP, T4A(P)
  • T3 – dividends and capital gains
  • T5 – investment income
  • RC62 – UCCB statement
  • Childcare expenses
  • Children’s fitness and arts receipt
  • Charitable donations
  • Tuition fees
  • RRSP contribution receipt
  • CRA notice of assessment or reassessment for the previous year
  • Interest expenses
  • Public transit passes
  • Professional membership dues related to employment
  • Exam fees to obtain a professional status, license or certification
  • Union Dues
  • Home office expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Rent paid or property tax information
  • Rental income and expenses

How Soon Can You Expect A Tax Refund?

When you receive your tax refund depends on when you file your taxes and how you filed it. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, if you file your taxes on time, you should expect a refund within 2 weeks (electronic filing) or 8 weeks (paper filing).

A couple of issues could lead to delays in getting a refund include:

  • Errors on your return
  • Your tax return is selected for a review
  • Your refund is $2 or less
  • You currently owe the government

You can check the status of your refund by accessing CRA My Account or calling them at 1-800-959-1956.

Tax Changes in 2019

Unlike for previous years (2017 and 2018), there are not so many changes to look out for at tax time in 2019. There were some changes made to how taxes are filed for small business owners, but not much else for the average taxpayer. 

Tax Changes in 2017

The new year came with some tax changes that may impact your 2016 tax return and future ones. Some of these include:

Children’s Fitness and Arts CreditThe maximum eligible amount per child for the fitness credit is reduced to $500 (from $1,000), while the children’s arts tax credit is now $250 (from $500) for the 2016 tax year. Both tax credits will no longer be available after the 2016 Tax Year.

Canada Child BenefitThe Canada Child Benefit (CCB) replaced the Universal Child Care Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit in 2016. The CCB is non-taxable and a majority of Canadian families are expected to receive more child benefits under the new program. This benefit does not impact other income-tested benefits.

Family Tax CutThe family tax cut which allowed eligible families to reduce overall family taxes paid for the 2014 and 2015 tax years has been eliminated. It is no longer available starting with the 2016 tax year.

Federal Income Tax RateEffective January 1 2016, the income tax rate on taxable income between $45,282 and $90,563 was reduced from 22% to 20.5%. However, taxable income exceeding $200,000 was taxed at a new rate of 33%.

Conclusion

As I discussed in my article on “savvy ways to use your tax refund“, a tax refund should not be seen as free money. If we consider the time value of money concept, it is much better if less of your income is withheld by the government in the first place. More tax refund means you loaned lot more money to the tax man interest-free.

That being said, I'm so looking forward to my 2018 tax year refund! Click To Tweet

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