Tax time for most people is an arduous task best left to the last minute. I on the other hand love tax time. It’s a time for me to get organized and beef up my bank account.
What you say? I thought tax time was about payout?
Nope. It doesn’t have to be. With the right mind frame, a little organization and knowing where to look, I’m going to let you in on my secrets on how to get the best tax refund.
- Organize: Throughout February the government and your employers sends you all kinds of documents you need for tax time. T4, T4E, RESP contributions, RRSP contributions you name it! To make matters even trickier, some are tax deductible, some not. Organize these slips as soon as you get them. Put them all in one place so when it comes time to do your taxes, you have everything at your fingertips and are not left searching.
- Determine What You Qualify For: Following the first point, once you have all your documents from the government, you can determine what tax credits you qualify for. There are all kinds of credits including public transportation, child activity, healthy homes-you just need to look. Here’s a link to some of the available Ontario tax credits for this year.
- T220 Form: Once you’ve determine what tax credits you qualify for, analyze your situation and see if you can use the T220 form. This is my saving grace on my tax return. This form is available for anyone who doesn’t work 100% in an office. So if you’re in sales, freelance, or do any (and I mean any) part of your work from home-this form allows you to write off the outside office expenses against your income. For example, if you’ve got this form you can write off the depreciation of your car (if you use it for work), your home, office supplies, lunches and coffees, gas, mileage-the list goes on! Any expense that is related to working outside the home can be included. That being said, this does need to be signed by your employer so as long as they’re okay with it-you’re on your way to tax savings!
- Mock It Up: Whether you do your taxes yourself or go to an accountant, before tax time I always plug my numbers into a mock spreadsheet get a ballpark of my return. I like this link from TaxTips as it gives a thorough breakdown of your taxes.
Finally, if your comfortable doing your taxes yourself-go for it. There are a ton of softwares out there like Turbo Tax that make tax submission easy. I used to do always do mine myself until one year I took them to an accountant and he got me a great return. I’ve been going to him ever since to get the best tax refund I possibly can:)
*please note I am not an accountant nor endorsed by any of the companies mentioned. This is strictly from my personal experience