Tax time! 5 things you need to know when preparing your taxes
By Emily Meyer, first-year Journalism student, Student Content Team
It’s here again. Tax season, that is. With the blur of March 365th, 2020, course work, and job hunting, taxes are likely the furthest thing from your mind. Here are five tips to get you back on track with your taxes.
1. Be prepared
Although the April 30th deadline to file taxes may seem like an eternity from now, it’ll be here before you know it. Save yourself the stress and get prepared.
It’s always a good idea to keep a list of any tax-related documentation throughout the year. Won a scholarship? Write it on the list. Got a new job? Write it on the list. Did some freelance work? Write it on the list. Having a list of required tax forms will help you stay organized and ensure you don’t miss anything important when filing.
2. Know what you need
Yes, there are a lot of forms but here is a quick list of what you might need and where to find them.
- T4 shows employment income and is provided by your employer. It’s usually mailed to you, or you download it from your employer’s intranet. If neither of these have happened, contact your employer and ask for it.
- T2202 (formally T2202A) shows education and tuition. Visit the My Student section of your mySAIT account.
- T4A is for you if you received any scholarships or bursaries in 2020. Visit the My Student section of your mySAIT account.
- T4A is also relevant if you received CERB or CESB. These are provided by the CRA. Check out your CRA account online to download this form, or have it mailed to you.
- Have your SIN or Individual Tax Number and your 2019 Notice of Assessment handy to complete your 2020 taxes.
3. What’s new
COVID-19 threw a curveball into 2020, with Canadians turning to CERB to supplement lost incomes. CERB/CESB is taxable, so don’t forget to report it if you received it.
Canadians may be eligible to claim home office expenses if they were required to work from home in 2020. An entitlement of $2 for each day worked at home, to a maximum of $400 using a flat rate method, or if eligible expenses exceed $400, using a detailed method to claim the home office expenses you paid.
4. Back pocket resources
- If you are still a student and meet the eligibility criteria, you can go through the Saitsa Tax Program to help prepare your taxes for filing.
- SAIT's website is a great resource for navigating mySAIT. Find more information on the Student Tax Receipts page.
- For questions related to completing your tax return, refer to the CRA website or call 1.800.959.8281.
5. The cost of missing THE deadline
Filing your taxes on time helps avoid unnecessary penalties. The CRA charges 5% of your 2020 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return was filed after the deadline of April 30th (max 12 months).
As a student or recent graduate, every dollar counts. Filing your taxes could ensure you are getting all the tax credits, deductions and benefits.
Taxes don’t have to be stressful. Be prepared and informed, and you'll soon be checking taxes off your to-do list.