Tax season happens every year. To make the most it, be sure you’re prepared - and learn how to make your money work for you!
What’s the biggest group activity that millions of Canadians do at the same time each year? Why, tax preparation, of course!One thing I love about this activity is the fact that there’s an end to it. When you complete your return and sign it, you’re done. And, of course, many Canadians are treated to a refund for money overpaid to the government during the year.
Here are some tips to make tax preparation as painless and profitable as possible—whether you do your taxes yourself or work with a professional.
In addition, there are strategies you can use to pay less tax in the future. Getting good financial planning advice that takes your entire financial situation into account is the first step.
Everything is easier when the required information is in one place. It’s even better if it’s organized into categories.
Your method could be as simple as using an envelope, a folder, or even a shoebox labelled “this year’s taxes” where you place all the slips that come in the mail or are printed off from your online account. You may opt to save everything securely online instead and do away with paper altogether. Whichever method you prefer, if you didn’t make a point of putting aside and organizing your documents for this tax year, get started now—and make it a habit in the future.
Crucial tax slips include T4s (employment income), T5s (investment income), T3s (trust income), and RRSP receipts. These are all typically available in February and March of each year.
Once the pile is in place, organize the slips by type. Put an appointment in your calendar now to get started, with an alternate date in case of unforeseen scheduling conflicts.
It’s important to make sure all the numbers add up—and not just at tax time. Luckily, financial planners can help ensure that your money works for you.
To find a CFP® professional or QAFP® professional who can help you put a solid financial plan in place to minimize your tax burden, use the Find Your Planner tool.
David Christianson, CFP, is a Portfolio Manager with Christianson Wealth Advisors at National Bank Financial Wealth Management in Winnipeg.