Why filing taxes might be a little easier this year

A new service will automatically fill out part of your tax return

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OTTAWA — Tax season is upon us once again and the Canada Revenue Agency has implemented several new measures in an effort to help streamline the filing of income tax returns.

Tax partner Bruce Ball at BDO Canada says missing slips can be a common problem for many people, but the changes make it harder for them to slip through the cracks.

Those registered with CRA’s My Account service can use a new auto-fill service with certain tax software packages that automatically fills in parts of an income tax return.

Ball said it will be a “good check” to make sure that people have included everything in their tax filings, especially if they’re doing their own return.

“I think that will help increase the accuracy in terms of missing things,” he said.

The auto-fill service will help fill in certain information on a tax return including T4 and T5 slips. Filers will still have to check to ensure the information is correct and if they notice a mistake, they’ll have to contact whoever issued the slip.

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The forms, which are sent after the government processes tax returns, includes an account summary, explanation of changes as well as an RRSP deduction limit and other details.

Marc Lacasse, the director of the agency’s international and Ottawa tax services office, said the form has been simplified.

“All of the relevant information will fit on one page,” he said.

Lacasse said the agency’s mobile apps have been improved to allow people to change their addresses and direct deposit information.

If people are using someone to help prepare their tax return, Ball said it’s important to update them on any big life changes. That includes getting married, especially if they are at the lower end of the income range.

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“It might impact their qualification for credits and that sort of thing,” Ball said.

Ball said if people are using a professional for their taxes, they should ensure they have all of their information before they start.

“That’s probably one of the things that would make your bill a little higher, if you bring in some of it and then you discover more of it later and bring some more in,” he said.

“We tend to give clients an organizer, so we give them sort of a checklist of things that we need to get from them. So for the clients who have been with us for a while, they get the process pretty well too.”

The deadline to file tax returns is April 30, but because it falls on a Saturday this year, people have until May 2.

For the self-employed and their spouses and partners, the deadline is June 15, but if they owe the government money, they still have to pay it by May 2.

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