April 24, 2019 5:03 pm
Updated: April 24, 2019 6:53 pm

Personal finance expert offers tips before tax deadline

WATCH ABOVE: The tax deadline is only days away and there are some new credits to know about. Personal Finance Expert, Rubina Ahmed-Haq explains – whether you're owed a refund or have to pay the Canada Revenue Agency, it's best to file that return now.

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The tax deadline is only days away.

No doubt Canadians who haven’t filled their returns will be scrambling to get it in before midnight on April 30.

If you owe money, filing late will mean increased costs.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Conservatives must provide creative alternatives to the carbon tax

But even if the CRA owes you, delaying your return doesn’t make personal finance sense.

Your refund will take longer to get to you.

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And your benefits could be placed on hold.

The hope is — you are planning to file on time.

If that’s the case, make sure you are taking advantage of all the credits due to you.

New this year – the government of Canada has introduced the new climate action incentive payment. If you are a resident of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or New Brunswick, you can claim it
when you file your income tax and benefit return. A family of four can receive up to $307 in Ontario, 10 per cent more for people who live in rural and small communities. This offsets the fuel charge that kicked in April 2019.

READ MORE: Canada Revenue Agency warning public about tax-time fraudsters

There is also a new medical expense tax credit. Canadians suffering from severe mental impairment will now be able to claim the cost of caring for service animals as a medical expense. This includes the cost of pet food.

There are now new accelerated capital cost allowance rates. Self-employed Canadians and business owners might be able to get more money back for the cost of things like business equipment, office furniture and computers, if purchased after November 20, 2018.

If you hate waiting on the phone, the CRA has a new phone system. No more busy signals when you call. Callers will have the choice to wait on the phone, call back later or use automated options. The new system will also be able to route calls to agents with the skills necessary to deal with the question or issue at hand.

If you don’t like waiting in line at the bank, you can now pay your taxes with an app. Starting in February the My CRA app will let you view and pay your tax balance with Interac, Visa Debit or Debit MasterCard, or by pre-authorized debit.

READ MORE: Volunteer program helps low-income earners file their taxes free of charge

Get free help to file your taxes. If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers at a free tax clinic may be able to complete your tax return for you.

Finally for low-income Canadians, there are free tax clinics available. Go to Canada.ca to see if you qualify for the service and to find a clinic near you.

Remember the deadline for individual filers is April 30 at midnight. If you owe money it’s due at that time too.

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