It’s the least loved season of the year and it’s now upon us – it’s tax time. While we can’t take the sting out completely, what we can do is offer some tips that may help make filing go a little faster and a little smoother.
- Don’t dawdle. Sure, it’s an unpleasant task, but putting off doing your taxes and then rushing right up to the deadline means you may make mistakes or miss possible tax savings. Do it early so you have a chance to look everything over, and double check all your math while you’re at it. In addition to possibly submitting a sloppy return, if you happen to miss the deadline and file late you may have to pay a penalty.
- Get organized. If you’ve never been great at keeping track of your tax information, now is the perfect time to start. If doing your taxes seems to take way longer than you think it should, the way you’re storing and organizing your information could be part of the problem. If it is, make changes now so it’ll be easier and faster for you next year. Maybe it’s creating more folders for your different documents and receipts or somehow improving on the ones you have, but whatever the case, take the time to get organized now while it’s top of mind. You’ll thank yourself next year.
- Gather everything you need. Before you put pen to paper, gather every single scrap of information you need and have it in front of you. That includes things like your SIN or Social Security number, all the tax documents from your employer and documentation of all other income, last year’s tax return for reference, all your charitable donation receipts, any loan or mortgage documents, retirement account contributions and, last but not least, your checking account information for payment or refund.1
- Learn what you can deduct. Since deductions reduce the amount of your taxable income, they are a critical part of the filing process. But just as critical is knowing exactly what you can and cannot deduct. Visit the IRS and CRA to find out more about what deductions you can claim.
- Consider filing online. It may be new to you, but it’s worth giving it a try since online filing can be quicker and easier. It’s also free! For information about filing online in Canada visit the CRA, and for information about filing online in the US visit the IRS.
Remember that as a Foresters member you have access to Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline that connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting. Visit MyForesters.com for more information and resources.