Tax time! 5 ways to make your (tax) life easier

Taxes don’t need to be scary. Here are five tips to make your (tax) life easier.

It’s here again. As the saying goes only two things are certain, death and taxes, and if you’re reading this you’ve run up against tax season. Here are five tips to get you on track so your taxes are as easy, and organized, as possible.

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.

This year April 30th falls on a Saturday. Revenue Canada states your return will be considered filed on time if it is received or is postmarked on or before May 2, 2022.

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 has happened, contact your employer and ask for it.
  • T2202 (formally T2202A) shows education and tuition. Visit the My Student section of your mySAIT account to download your copy.
  • T4A is for you if you received any scholarships or bursaries in 2021. 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 2020 Notice of Assessment handy to complete your 2021 taxes.

3. What’s new

Revenue Canada has tweaked its My Account services slightly. Don’t be surprised if the first thing you have to do is provide Multi-factor authentication for your account! It’s easy and fast, just follow the instructions.

Canadians may be eligible to claim home office expenses if they were required to work from home in 2021 for more than 50% of their work time. An entitlement of $2 for each day worked at home can be claimed, to a maximum of $500 using a flat rate method (250 working days).

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. Additionally, the CRA has launched a series of short online courses to “Learn About Your Taxes.”

5. The benefits and costs of missing THE deadline

The earlier you file your taxes, the earlier you get money – obviously if you are owed a return!

But even if you aren’t getting a tax return this year, doing your federal taxes means you will automatically be inserted into the provincial system for benefits, such as receiving your Climate Action Incentive Payments four times a year if you’re eligible for them.

Filing your taxes on time helps avoid unnecessary penalties. If you are late, the CRA charges 5% of your entire 2021 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.