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Nova Scotia tax deadline: What you need to know before filing

Saving money doesn't have to be an insurmountable task. By incorporating a few, barely noticeable changes, you can save anywhere from hundreds to even thousands a year. JGI/Jamie Grill

Tax season is upon us in Nova Scotia — a time of year to look over how much money you’ve made, hoping the government will have to pay you back some to leave a little extra cash in your pocket.

READ MORE: Canadian tax deadline: 9 things you need to know

Tax season can be overwhelming and confusing for some, though, with all the various forms, receipts and tax breaks.

Here’s a list of tips for filing your taxes in Nova Scotia:

What is the deadline for filing my provincial tax return?

April 30 — If you have a balance owing.

June 15 — If you or your spouse or common-law partner ran a business in 2016. But you still have to pay by April 30 if you owe money to the government.

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You can file your tax return online as of Feb. 20. This year, the April 30 deadline falls on a Sunday, so CRA will accept your return as “on time” if it’s received by midnight on May 1.

What are the provincial tax brackets?

The first $29,590 of taxable income – pay 8.79 per cent in tax.

Next $29,590 up to $59,180 – pay 14.95 per cent in tax.

Next $33,820 up to $93,000 – pay 16.67 per cent in tax.

Next $57,000 up to $150,000 – pay 17.5 per cent in tax.

Any taxable income over $150,000 – pay 21 per cent in tax.

What documents do you need to file your taxes in Nova Scotia?

Along with the federal documents you need for filing your taxes, there are some Nova Scotia-specific forms you will also need.

  • A T1 General 2016 form, which allows you to note your income, credits and deductions
  • Form NS428 for provincial tax and credits
  • Provincial worksheet, which can help with filling out Form NS 428
  • Schedule NS(S2), which is used to claim a transfer of the unused part of your spouse’s or common-law partner’s provincial amounts
  • Schedule NS(S11), for students to calculate Nova Scotia tuition and education amounts, determine provincial available for transfer to a designated individual and to determined the unused provincial amount, if any, available for carrying over to a future year

What are some new provincial tax credits and deductions to take advantage of?

Food bank tax credit for farmers: This tax credit is for farmers, or their spouses or common-law partners, that make agricultural donations to eligible food banks. This credit is at Like 73 of the NS428.

READ MORE: Tax credit to offer incentive to NS farmers donating produce to food banks

Dividend Tax Credit change: The rate for calculating the dividend tax credit has decreased by 3.33 per cent.

The Nova Scotia Overseas employment tax credit has been eliminated.

What are some Nova Scotia-specific tax credits to take advantage of?

Nova Scotia child benefit: This child benefit is a non-taxable, monthly amount paid to low- and modest-income families with children under the age of 18. The benefit is combined with the Canada child benefit.

READ MORE: How will the Canada Child Benefit affect Nova Scotian families?

Nova Scotia affordable living tax credit: This benefit is handed out four times a year to help low- and modest-income families live more comfortably. The affordable living credit is combined with the federal GST/HST credit.

Nova Scotia political contribution tax credit: If you made a contribution to a recognized political party or candidate seeking election to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, you can claim a credit of 75 per cent of your donation, to a maximum of $750. This credit is at Line 71 of the NS428.

Nova Scotia volunteer firefighter and ground search and rescue tax credit: This credit is available to volunteer firefighters or ground search and rescue members, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, who were not paid for their service. This credit is at Line 81 of the NS428.

Age tax credit: Nova Scotians 65 or older on or before Dec. 31, 2016, with income from line 260 of their tax return less than $24,000 are eligible for this credit. This credit is found at Line 79 of the NS428.

Nova Scotia equity tax credit: This is available for investments in eligible shares acquired in 2016, that weren’t claimed on your 2015 return, or in the first 60 days of 2017. To claim the credit, you have to complete Form T1285. It can also be found at Line 77 of the NS428.

What is the deadline to contribute to my RRSP?

There is no deadline to contribute to your RRSP. But if you wanted to claim your contribution as a tax deduction against your 2016 income, it’s too late, unfortunately. You had to make your contribution by March 1.

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What do you need to do before filing your taxes?

You’ll need to gather a number of documents, based on how you made your money. That can include the following:

  • A T1 General 2016 form, which allows you to note your income, credits and deductions.
  • If you’re an employee, a T4, Statement of Remuneration Paid form, which shows how much your employer paid you.
  • If you’re retired, a T4A, Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity and Other Income, which shows you much you earned in retirement payments.
  • If you have investment income, you’ll need a T5.
  • If you received Employment Insurance (EI), a T4E, Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits.
  • If you received worker’s compensation or social assistance, a T5007, Statement of Benefits.

How are taxes calculated?

The amount of tax you pay is determined based on how much money you make. You can make various deductions that reduce the amount of income you have to pay tax on.

 First, you declare the total, or gross income you made throughout the year, according to TurboTax, a tax-filing software company.

That can include employment income, as well as any money you made from your own business, investments, interest, capital gains and dividends.

Then, you look for tax credits and deductions to reduce the amount of income you have to pay tax on. They can include the amount for young children, public transit amount, which allows you to claim the cost of your transit passes, the home buyers’ amount, which lets people who purchased homes claim $5,000 in the years that they bought; or even your moving expenses, under certain conditions.

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Your federal tax is calculated on whatever income is left after deductions.

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