Income Tax Season in Canada: Claim Changes and Updates to How You File

April 6, 2018

The deadline to submit and pay your annual taxes in Canada is quickly approaching. New changes to key claims and different services being offered by the Canada Revenue Agency could impact what you receive back and how you file your 2017 income tax report

The deadline for filing your income tax in Canada is quickly approaching; April 30, 2018 at midnight is the cutoff time for Canadians to send in tax returns and pay for 2017 taxes. For those who are self-employed, June 15 is the filing deadline. However, individuals that are self-employed and owe taxes must pay for them by April 30 to avoid additional charges.

Since last tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made some tax changes that will impact certain expenses. As well, the CRA has introduced new ways to file, pay and view personal information, making the overall process of filing taxes easier.

If you’re unaware of these new CRA services and tax changes, here’s what you should know about filing your taxes this year.

READ MORE: Expecting A Big Tax Return? Ways to Apply It To A Car

CRA TAX CHANGES

Infertility Claim: Prior to this tax season, individuals who needed medical help to conceive a child could only claim tax back if they had a medical condition. According to the government of Canada, 1 in 8 couples experience infertility, and the expense to medically conceive a child is high. The new infertility medical claim allows Canadians who don’t have a medical condition to receive tax relief when, benefiting couples in same-sex marriages and single woman who want to conceive. Canadians who couldn’t claim tax back on infertility treatment in the past can now file for previous treatments received up to ten years ago.

Child Program Claim: The government of Canada has cut children’s fitness and art programs as an allowable tax expense, as the claim wasn’t an effective way to get children more involved with extracurricular activities. Eliminating these credits will save the government approximately $75 million yearly, and the government of Canada says it plans on using the extra cash to enhance the Canada Child Benefit program for eligible families.

Disability Claim: Alongside Canadian doctors, nurse practitioners can now certify an application form for disability tax credits. This change made by the federal government is expected to speed up the application for people with physical and mental disabilities. It is also expected to give Canadians with a disability more options when applying for the tax credit.

READ MORE: How To Claim Tax Back On Allowable Motor Vehicle Expenses

Education Claim: Students and families are eligible to claim money back on tuition fees for occupational skill courses, however as of January 1, 2017, the federal education and textbook credit has been removed from allowable tax expenses. Cutting these two educational credits will save the government close to $900 million. To compensate, there will be more student grants and loans available to Canadians enrolled in post-secondary education.

Public Transit Claim: The government has axed the claim that transit passes can be deducted. It used to allow public transit riders 15 per cent off their monthly transit expense, however the government stated that the claim was ineffective at encouraging Canadians to use public transit.

Caregiver Claim:Canadians who care for and live with their parent or grandparent over 65 years old can no longer make a claim. Unlike last tax season, the CRA has changed this expense so that now, the parent or grandparent must be infirm for the caregiver to be eligible to claim.

Alongside these tax changes, the CRA has introduced new ways for Canadians to file their taxes. New systems like the pre-filed tax service allows people to enroll in an online service that pre-inputs tax forms with information gathered from important documents like T4 slips. Instead of visiting a Canada Post or Service Canada, now Canadians will be sent their income tax forms via mail. Alongside this, Canadians who owe money to the government can pay in-person at any Canada Post across the country. Individuals who don’t have an extensive tax return can complete their taxes over the phone with an automated service through the CRA.

READ MORE: 3 Tax Breaks You Don't Know About

BEFORE YOU FILE

It’s important to ensure that your tax return is 100 per cent mistake-free before you file. An income tax form that has any errors on it might mean having to pay more money towards taxes or having to provide the CRA with more information which could prolong the overall process.

Make sure that the CRA has your current address to avoid any documents being lost in the mail! Otherwise, it could deny specific claims that might result in a bigger tax bill.

READ MORE: 7 Ways To Get A Bigger Tax Return

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