1. Do your taxes
Even if you didn’t receive any income in 2017, you may still get a tax refund and be eligible for benefit and credit payments. You, and your spouse or common-law partner, if you have one, have to do your taxes every year so the CRA can calculate how much you could receive, and to continue receiving your benefit and credit payments without any interruptions. This includes payments such as the Canada Child benefit, the GST/HST credit and related provincial payments, the guaranteed income supplement, and advance payments of the working income tax benefit.
2. Make sure you claim tax credits and deductions
There are tax credits and deductions you may be able to claim on your return, like the working income tax benefit.
3. Report all your income
Make sure you report all your income. You should have most of your slips, such as T4 slips, from your employer, payer, or administrator by the end of February. If you have not received, or you lost or misplaced, a slip for 2017, ask the issuer of the slip for a copy. If you registered with CRA for My Account, you may have access to online copies of your slips. We may also have access to these slips online using CRA’s represent a client.
Some income you earn may not be included as part of a tax slip. Tips, money earned providing accommodations, and ride sharing, regularly selling stuff at a flea market or online, providing tutoring services, handy-man or snow removal services – all of this is considered income that must be reported.
Did you sell your principal residence in 2017? If so, you have to report basic information on your return to claim the principal residence exemption.
4. Make valid claims
Make sure you know what you can and cannot claim. Sometimes non-deductible amounts, such as funeral expenses, wedding expenses, loans to family members, a loss on the sale of a home designated as a principal residence, and other similar amounts, are claimed by mistake.
5. File on time
If you have a balance owing and do not file your return on time, the CRA will charge you a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your balance owing on the due date of your return, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months. Even if you cannot pay your balance owing by the filing deadline, you can avoid the late-filing penalty by filing on time.
6. Keep receipts and records
Keep your receipts and other supporting documents for at least six years from the end of the tax year to which the records relate.