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Lethbridge tax expert discusses tips for 2021 season

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WATCXH ABOVE: This tax season certainly promises to be one for the history books with taxpayers preparing for some complex filings. Taz Dhaliwal speaks to a local tax expert about how the pandemic is affecting this year's returns – Mar 4, 2021

Just like everything else this past year, the 2021 tax season won’t be normal — it’s slated to be extra busy and even more complex.

“A lot of people are nervous, so they want their taxes done very quickly so that they have time to prepare if they do owe taxes,” said Loralee Burton, a CPA at Insight LLP Chartered Professional Accountants in Lethbridge.

“There’s going to be a few more questions for this year too. They’re going to ask, ‘Did you work from home? Did you do this? Did you do that?’… (We are) making sure we get every possible deduction we can for people.”

Burton said much of the complexity this year is due to many Canadians losing their jobs and receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), along with other COVID-19 income supports.

Individuals who received federal COVID-19 benefits don’t have to claim them by the tax deadline, which is April, 30.

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The Canada Revenue Agency has yet to specify when those payments will be due.

People in that situation should expect to receive various tax slips.

Read more: ‘Fear and uncertainty:’ What to expect from your 2021 taxes

“It took a long time and they were very difficult to prepare this year, because you have to do an extra form this year called a PD27, plus the T4s and again separating all the different pay periods,” Burton explained.

The newest tax break many should be taking note of is the working-from-home deduction, which allows people to claim $2 for every day worked from home, up to a maximum of $400, to help take care of extra expenses incurred.

Read more: What to expect from your 2021 taxes and how to prepare

“(It’s) your basic, ‘that I’m using my computer every day, my internet every day,’ the $2 (a day) is meant to cover that,” Burton said.

She added it may also take longer for people to receive their returns this year, but many should expect to be giving money back to the government.

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