We’re chartered accountants. We’re probably the only people in the universe allowed to use an exclamation mark after the phrase “tax time.” But we do – because this is our time to shine, and to help you get the most from your income whether personal or business tax services are needed.
March is here…you can feel that spring is just around the corner. Warmer temperatures, longer days, fewer layers of down…the nice signs that winter is on its way out.
And tax season…is on its way in. Now is the time to start getting ready to organize and prepare your income taxes. We’re here to help.
By now, you should have already received most of your employer and investment slips. To make sure your returns are prepared as efficiently as possible, you need to organize your information now. This will let us minimize your 2011 income taxes as much as possible.
Here are a few things to start thinking about:
- Personal life. Were there changes in your personal situation in 2011? That could be an address or phone number change…or a new job, new business or investment. The same goes for anyone in your family. Did they get married, start university, have or adopt a child, start a new business or acquire new investments? Did you turn 71 in 2011?
- Slips. Little pieces of paper with big importance. Make sure you have all the necessary information slips from your various sources of income: employment, interest and dividends, pensions, employment insurance, registered retirement savings plans and tax shelters.
- Deductible expenses. If you’re self-employed, own rental properties or are required to incur expenses as part of your employment have you started assembling your deductible expenses and summarizing all your income?
- Other income. If you received income with no information slips, such as tips, business income, partnership income, rental income, taxable alimony or child support, interest or directors fees, you need to summarize it for the year.
- Capital gains/losses. If you sold any assets in 2011 that may give rise to capital gains or losses (ie. stocks and other investments, real estate, businesses) you need to have information available about the original costs, any additional costs you incurred while you owned it, and what you received for the asset when it was sold.
- Other deductibles. There are a whole lot of deductible expenses out there – make sure you keep track of things like: RRSPs, professional or union dues, employment expenses, interest on money borrowed for investment purposes, investment counsel fees, moving expenses, childcare expenses, business investment loss and deductible alimony or support payments.
- Tax credits. Have you made payments that make you eligible for a tax credit? These include rental property taxes, student loan interest, adoption, tuition fees, charitable donations, medical expenses, political contributions, children’s fitness programs, children’s recreation programs, monthly transit passes and more.
- Foreign property. If you own any foreign property that has total original costs greater than $100,000, it needs to be disclosed annually to the CRA.
But wait…there’s more. You need to make yourself aware of changes to the income tax act since last year. To help you with this, we have a summary of recent tax changes in the 2011 budget on our website.
Once you have assembled and organized all this information you can start preparing your returns. To help you with your year-end challenges, we also have a complete income tax organizer on our website that we hope will help make the process a little less daunting and stressful.
Oh…and we thought of one other group that’s allowed to say “Tax Time!” so excitedly…the CRA. So make sure you’re ready for them.