Filing your income tax return can seem daunting, especially if you are new to the process. Although the April 30, 2019 deadline to file may seem far away, it is a good idea to get a head start. In addition to the Government of Canada’s Income tax webpage, below are suggested tips and resources to make your book-balancing experience as stress-free as possible. Whether you prefer to access these resources online or in person, there are plenty of options!
Free Income Tax Clinics
If you prefer to have someone guide you through the tax process in person, here are some locations at the University of Toronto and surrounding area offering free income tax clinics:
- University Settlement is hosting a “Filing Individual Tax Returns” workshop for international students and student partners/spouses on February 25, 2019 with a group session from 2:15 pm – 3:45 pm and individual drop-in sessions from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
- The Association for Undergraduate Students (APUS) plans to offer a tax clinic. Last year this clinic required an appointment to attend, so keep an eye on their website for exact dates.
- The Centre for International Experience is hosting information sessions specifically for those new to filing income tax returns in Canada. You can register for evening sessions scheduled for March 5, 18, and 29, 2019 or for webinars scheduled for March 2 and April 3.
- Several Toronto Public Library branches host tax clinics at locations across the City of Toronto for low-income community members.
- The Woodgreen Community Centre has a free, year-round tax clinic offering a variety of services, including preparation of simple income tax returns and interest relief applications. Appointments are necessary: book yours by calling 416-645-6000 ext. 1187 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Tax Preparation Clinics are available across the City of Toronto. They offer year-round and multi-lingual services.
If you choose to file your income tax return on your own, take note of these resources:
- The Centre for International Experience website has a helpful income tax resources.
- Young and Thrifty has a comprehensive web guide to filing your income taxes, including deadlines, and changes to last year’s CRA rules.
- If you plan to file your taxes electronically using the Internet, UFile is a straightforward system that is free for post-secondary students and links directly to the Canada Revenue Agency’s Netfile system.
- Before getting started, you may also want to check out TurboTax. They have an income tax calculator which estimates your 2018 return based on annual income, taxes paid, RRSP contributions, and location.
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
Post-secondary education can be extremely expensive, which is why setting up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your child(ren) is a great idea. RESPs are funds dedicated solely for your children’s post-secondary schooling. With these registered plans, you can contribute up to $50,000 dollars per child and the savings can grow without taxation while the funds remain in the plan.
Also, the Federal government’s Canadian Education Savings Grant will add up to $500/year/child to your RESP until your child turns seventeen. Although the grant’s lifetime maximum amount is $7,200 per child, families with lower income may qualify for additional provincially regulated top-ups. For more details on how to open an RESP for your child, read this Today’s Parent article.