What you need to file your income tax return

March 15, 2018

When you file your income tax return you want to make sure you have all the receipts and income records you need to make sure you get every tax receipt and deduction you are entitled to.

By the end of February T4 (income from employment), T4A (pension and other income) and T5 (statement of investment income) slips you require to complete and file your income tax return must be in the mail. However, unlike most other tax slips, Canadian T3 tax slips, or Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations (income from mutual funds in non-registered accounts) and T5013 slips (Statement of Partnership Income) do not have to be sent out until the last day of March in the year after the calendar year to which these tax slips apply.

So even if you are anxious to get your income tax return off your desk and see your tax return deposited to your account, wait an extra week or two to ensure you have all the slips you need before filing or you may have to pay additional taxes later on when your tax return is assessed or re-assessed. Many financial institutions provide a check list so you can check off slips as you receive them.

However, if you have to file a return for 2017, file it on or before April 30, 2018 even if some slips or receipts are missing. You are responsible for reporting your income from all sources to avoid possible interest and/or penalties that may be charged.

If you have not received, or have lost or misplaced a slip for 2017 ask your employer, or the issuer of the slip, for a copy. If you know you will not be able to get a slip on time to file your return, or you do not receive it and you are registered for the CRA My Account for Individuals service, you may be able to view your tax information online. Otherwise, attach a note to your paper return stating the payer’s name and address, the type of income involved, and what you are doing to get the slip.

Use your pay stubs or statements to estimate the income to report and any related deductions and credits you can claim. Attach a copy of the pay stubs or statements to your paper return and keep the original documents. If you are filing electronically, keep all of your documents in case CRA asks to see them later.

You can also obtain Old Age Security (OAS), Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) tax slips electronically for current and prior years. This secure service can be accessed found by visiting Service Canada.

Certain slips such as T2202As for tuition deductions, T5008s for capital gains and losses and RRSP contributions are not always processed by the CRA. While the rules differ across the various types of tax forms, some slips can be generated independently and don’t have to go through the CRA’s system first.

In that case you will have to track them down from the source provider since the CRA won’t have them on file. For example, if you know you’re meant to receive a tuition credit, call the school to request your form. If you’ve made some stock trades in the year, call your bank to obtain a gains and losses report.  Unfortunately there’s no fool-proof way to know that you’ve got all these types of slips – you’ll just need to remember!

If you missed a significant slip that the CRA does not have on file such as a tuition slip, you can file an adjustment to your return down the road if you’re able to track it down. Before you file your return, double checking that you’ve got all your slips covered will mean a faster refund, no interest and less stress.

You can find a checklist of other slips, receipts and documentation you may require to file your return here.

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Written by Sheryl Smolkin
Sheryl Smolkin LLB., LLM is a retired pension lawyer and President of Sheryl Smolkin & Associates Ltd. For over a decade, she has enjoyed a successful encore career as a freelance writer specializing in retirement, employee benefits and workplace issues. Sheryl and her husband Joel are empty-nesters, residing in Toronto with their cockapoo Rufus.
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