April: From the Latin Verb “Aperire,” To Open

image design by Emily Rowe
Image design by Emily Rowe

The month of April is an interesting one. We are into spring in some places, though not necessarily in this province, and people are getting out of their houses and into the garden. Usually the sun is stronger and the days are longer. There is something very nice about it.

April is also a month when we, according to the Latin origin of the word, open ourselves up to the Canada Revenue Agency, and month’s end is the deadline for most of us to get our 2021 tax return in. Some of you are keeners and perhaps have all the work completed and have received your refund back already. However, I suspect that most of you are still sitting on your tax details and will not submit your return until the last minute.

You most likely know all this, but this is what financial experts say about what you’ll need to get your taxes done:

  1. Social insurance Number and other personal information.
  2. Any income T-slips (T-4, T-5 etc)
  3. Any records of additional income
  4. Tax receipts for deduction (Charitable donations, childcare, medical expenses, etc.)
  5. RRSP contribution slips or repayments for the Home Buyers Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan
  6. The tax package sent to you

One accountant suggested that medical expenses are the deduction that most people miss out on. For example, he says that the list of tax deductible medical expenses is quite extensive. For example, you can claim prescription drugs, diapers, fertility procedures, ambulance services and more. Certain conditions apply, but he suggests that you hold on to your receipts for all of these things.

The accountant noted as well that since COVID-19 has forced many people to work from home, the Canadian Government has simplified the process when claiming home office tax deduction. Every individual can now claim up to $400 in expenses if you worked from home.

You should also remember, according to that expert, that both the Canada Emergency Tax Benefit (CERB) and Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) are taxable. For CERB, no taxes were withheld by the source, but 10% of the CRB was withheld at the source for taxes. Note: if you were on either of these programs, it is taxable income.

Finally, if you are feeling somewhat overwhelmed or intimidated by the process, I would recommend you hire a tax preparer or an accountant to do everything for you.

Yes indeed, April is a time to open yourself up to CRA. Remember that old saying that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Since we are not too fussy about dealing with death at this point, we may as well bite the bullet and do our taxes.

One final note, in a recent column I referred to the book about the Church of England orphanage. Well, I omitted saying that the book, written by the late Bishop Peddle, can be purchased at the Synod Office. All proceeds go towards the Anglican Charitable Foundation for Children.

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