Income Tax Is Like A Four Letter Word

Income Tax Return

Image Courtesty of Grant Cochrane /Freedigitalphotos.net

Income Tax for some people is like a four letter word, they just don’t want to hear it, and dread the April 30th, 2013 deadline we have here in Canada to file a personal income tax return.

But it does not need to be like that.

I have prepared and  been filing personal and small business tax returns for over 15 years. What started for me as a seasonal job, with H&R Block to supplement my regular income, has turned into a small business.  I find it incredibly rewarding when I help people take advantage of all tax credits that are available to their families. From arts and sports credits for kids, to home improvement credits for seniors, there are many credits people don’t think of when filing their taxes.

Tax Credits

Tip: Did you know that if your Grandmother needs a shower bar in her bathroom, that she can get a tax credit for having it installed? If you need to have your home wheel chair accessible, there is a credit for that too.

Most people know of the “popular” tax credits, medical, rent, property taxes, and childcare. What they may not realize is that the childcare credit also covers things like paying for a day camp for a PA day, or summer camp in the summer or simply paying the neighbourhood childcare provider who watches your kids for March Break.  The child care credit does not go away because your children are in school.

Charitable donations are a wonderful way to bring down your payable tax bill; registered Ontario Charities give receipts for cash donations, and a fair market value receipt for donations of goods.

For instance, that bag of clothes and old Tupperware you drop off at Goodwill, make sure you grab a receipt.  Are you pledging $10.00 for your nephew to participate in jump rope for heart, keep the receipt?

How To File Income Tax

Most average Canadian families do not need a CPA (Chartered Public Accountant) to prepare their taxes, nor would they want to pay those types of fees.  There are many options for filing your taxes, you can do it yourself using one of the many Income Tax preparing software programs available whether web-based or store-bought. Examples are Turbo Tax Canada, Studio Tax, Genutax, Ufile, Netfile, H & R Block Canada etc. Alternatively you could go to one of the “big box” preparing offices, or find someone like me, with years of experience that will prepare and file your income tax return for a fraction of the cost.

Please don’t ever use “Cash Back” tax services if you don’t need to. In this day and age, if you have an income tax refund coming, you will receive it in about 10 days, after E-File with Direct Deposit. Cash Back services keep a large portion of your return. The amounts that are charged are regulated by the government and are 15% of the first $100.00 and 5% of every $100.00 after that. That can calculate to $90.00 plus HST on every $1000.00 of your return. (On a basic return)

Some Income Tax Deductions Tips to maximize your tax refund and lower your payable:

  • Claim medical expenses- People miss claiming common expenses like Blue Cross, and fees paid to medical practitioners like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and acupuncturists.
  • Maximize babysitting deductions- The maximum dollar amounts claimable have not changed this year, still $4,000, $7,000 or $10,000, which depend on the child’s age and health. Usually it’s the lower earner who should claim these expenses.
  • Minimize tax on severance- If you’ve lost your job, your severance package can help but it can also put you into a high tax bracket because it’s usually paid in a lump sum. One way to reduce your taxes is to maximize your RRSP contribution room.
  • Claim the new tax credits for children’s activities- Many parents are still not aware of this Children’s Art tax credit. Parents can claim up to $500 of eligible expenses per child under the age of 16 at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid or under 18 at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid and if they qualify for disability tax credits. Any eligible expenses in 2011 and subsequent years would qualify for this credit. There are new amounts to be claimed on the tax return for enrolling your children in the arts or sports activities. Because the Children’s Arts Amount is new, you’ll need to remind yourself to dig out the receipts.

What you can’t claim (but I am frequently asked if you can)

  • Interest on your mortgage (unless you have income property)
  • Medical expenses for pets
  • Home Improvements (with some exceptions, the “new healthy home credit, is one)
  • Funeral costs, wedding costs and legal fees paid for separation or divorce agreements
  • Public Transportation costs if paid daily or per use (Monthly Pass purchases can be claimed as a credit in Ontario)
Average Cost To File Your Income Tax Return

However you choose to file your Canadian Tax Return, be sure to keep all receipts and supporting documentation of everything you claim. You can expect to pay anywhere from $30.00-$200.00 to prepare and file a basic return in Canada. You may pay around $200.00 on the high end for a CPA, $80.00 for a “big box” tax preparing office, and $30.00 for an experienced private tax consultant.

I also can’t stress enough the importance of using your maximum allowed RRSP contributions each year. In Canada we have until March 1 st 2013 to make contributions that will benefit our 2012 Income Tax Return. Budget accordingly and try to contribute as much as you can each year. Your maximum allowed limit can be found on your 2012 Income Tax Assessment.

For more information on your tax return: Canada Revenue Agency.

About The Author: Kim Rosa, a mom and grandmother,semi retired from a long career in the restaurant industry.  A red seal chef, Kim spends her time these days, as a part-time chef/consultant at a fine dining Bistro in South Western Ontario, as a small business operator, doing books for a few local restaurants, and preparing taxes during tax season. An avid couponer,and advocate of frugal living. Kim shares her love of couponing and deals on her Facebook page:  Coupon Ontario

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The Saturday Weekend Review #3 January – Are You Really A Mom?

Weekend Review

What’s Been Happening at Canadian Budget Binder?

I know I’ve hidden behind the scenes lately and that’s because Canadian Budget Binder has got so busy. I just finished up with an e-book which I contributed to and am anxiously awaiting the new design of Canadian Budget Binder for all of you. Hang tight, it won’t be long. Once we have everything in place I will hold a give-away for our one year anniversary of Canadian Budget Binder with some special sponsors that have contacted me and want to participate.

Are You Really A Mom?

I know I may be digging into deep waters here but I couldn’t help but tap into what all the noise was about. Mommy Bloggers are not impressed with Elizabeth Banks. I was reading an Interview with People Magazine on Yahoo about Elizabeth Banks an actress in the recent movie the Hunger Games. She was talking about her children now that she has two. She said, “You don’t realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”  I’m not a parent so I can’t really say but I’m guessing she was being a loving mom who meant no harm. When she says “Really a mom” she could have meant that one child wasn’t as demanding as 2? Only Elizabeth can answer that but she may not even care about the apparent fuss because what she says is of her own opinion.

It can be very difficult when all eyes and ears are on you, so you have to choose your words wisely. I couldn’t imagine living in a life where everyone picked apart each word that came out my mouth, then again, would I care, probably not. One thing I know is you will never make everyone happy. Likely why the comments on that post are saying, step back and relax.

Will people calm down already!!! We live in a society now were everyone is so ridiculously opinionated and touchy. Get a life.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you care about every word that comes out of your mouth and how others may perceive words that you might not mean? It happens all the time in email at the office, blog posts, social media, with friends. How do you handle that?

cinnamon roll cake

cinnamon roll cake

I just had to add something ooey gooey sweet in for you to drool over and this works for me. Nothing like a hot cuppa tea and easy cinnamon roll cake. A home filled with the smell of sweet cinnamon. I’m thinking cinnamon apple roll cake… what do you think of that idea?

Canadian Budget Binder’s Weekly Post Recap

I’m currently accepting guest posts. If you are a blog owner or fan who wants to share a story email me today with your topic ideas! I can’t guarantee everyone a spot but give me your best topic pitch and show me what your work looks like!

web search terms

What People Searched to Find Canadian Budget Binder:

Search terms really help me to understand what people are looking for at Canadian Budget Binder! Any typos below are simply how the person who searched typed it in search, or me ;-) Search terms make up a huge amount of my visitor traffic and it keeps increasing month to month so I hope that means I’m. I was super excited this week when I had a couple days with over 1000 searches per day!

 

Top Pick: Is eating KFC bad for health especially the filler meal>>> For those that aren’t aware KFC is Kentucky Fried Chicken NOTE: FRIED...I don’t even think I will answer this one.  I’m guess this came from my post last Saturday about the KFC Brain A.K.A Kidney a bloke found in his meal in the UK.

  • Do you hear me?>>> Do you hear me?
  • Gail Vaz Oxlade Vs Dave Ramsey>>> Sounds like some financial boxing to me, nah!
  • Go to No Frills at Night time>> That’s when the party starts!
  • I’m not sure where all the math is coming from but here we go>>>
  • If 3 boxes of cereal are on sale for $6.90, and a daycare provider needs 17 boxes, how much will she pay?
  • You and a friend both would like a salad and a small drink. between the two of you, you have 8.00. a salad costs 2.49 and a small drink in .99. can either of you afford it?
  • She only wants me for Money>>Well then take it or leave it, you have your answer.
  • Men Want Women For Money>>>> Not the first thing on my mind, how about you? Funny how it goes both ways men vs women and money.
  • Value Village Owners Millionaires?>>> Who would have thought, >>please drop your stuff for free, we’ll take it  so I can re-sell it and get rich>>.. it’s the easy stuff we miss I guess.
Blogs That Shared Us With Their Fans This Week!

Check out these Bloggers>> these are some of a few that I mention on my social media’s and around the web because they take the time to do the same for me!! High Five! (If I miss You..please let me know as I didn’t get the Ping back and I will include your post next week as this runs Sat to Sat so if you linked me on Sat it will show up next week)

Carnivals

 

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Photo Credit: Cinnamon Roll Cake