It’s the middle of the March Break, so our son Nate is downstairs in the living room watching Netflix and playing Hot Wheels, when really he should be at school with his friends while I get ready for yoga class. There are a zillion things I should be doing this week, like planning out my vegetable garden or getting organized for my upcoming business trip to Idaho, or itemizing our business receipts so that we can get our taxes done.
Yes, it’s that time of year; tax season is upon us.
If you’re anything like me, for the last few years I have dreaded tax season. I used to wait until the last minute to get them done (indeed, a recent Intuit study showed that 42 per cent of Canadians don’t file their own taxes out of fear of making a mistake), and as a broke student or single person working in the hospitality industry or in a lower-paying job, I often ended up owing additional taxes when my return had been completed.
Now that I’m a “grown-up” I know that there are a lot of ways to be smart about taxes, and having kids can actually benefit families when tax season arrives.
Here are some tips for ways you can ensure tax season works to your benefit this year.
Benefits and Credits for Families with Kids
- Got a new baby? Make sure you apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit as soon as possible. This benefit varies from family to family and depends on your family’s income.
- A new benefit available to Canadian parents this year is the Adoption Expense Credit, which allows you to claim a non-refundable credit on adoption expenses up to $11,669 per child for 2013.
- Claim up to $500 with the Children’s Arts Tax Credit for a whole bunch of artsy programs including fine arts, music, performing arts, outdoor wilderness training, language instruction and culture study.
- Claim up to $500 again with the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, for activities for kids under 16 for programs like gymnastics, swimming lessons, team sports and the like.
Caught in the Middle?
- According to StatsCan, in 2012, 28 per cent of the 8.1 million caregivers in Canada were part of what’s known as the sandwich generation. These are Canadians who look after their kids and aging parents. Tax relief is available for Canadians who fall into this category, taking care of dependent relatives including a spouse, common-law partner or kids under 18.
If all of this sounds tricky or complicated, a user-friendly tax filing system like TurboTax will be super handy! We have used TurboTax for the last few years to file our personal and business income taxes ourselves, and have been very happy with the results.
TurboTax guides Canadians through a personalized experience to help them find every tax deduction and credit they deserve, so they know they’re keeping all of their hard-earned money. TurboTax offers Canadians access to expert tax support and advice via phone, online chat, email, Facebook and Twitter.
I love that Canadians can access tax advice through the social media channels we make use of every day!
To make this tax season even easier on you…a TurboTax giveaway!
Five readers of Hearts into Home will win access to completely file their own taxes with TurboTax for FREE!
The contest is open to all residents of Canada, and will run from today until March 31, 2014. That gives the winners an entire month to get their taxes filed before the deadline of April 30, 2014.