Every year around tax time, many Canadians call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to ask a variety of questions. The tax filing deadline is fast approaching, but for anyone who has yet to submit their forms, here are some of the most asked questions.
1. Do I need to do my taxes? Doing your taxes may put money in your pocket. You need to do your taxes if you want to receive, or continue to receive, certain benefit and credit payments you may be eligible for, such as the Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, the guaranteed income supplement, and many more.
You also have to do your taxes if, for example, you owe taxes, have a balance owing under the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan, or sold your principal residence in 2017.
2. Where can I get help with my income tax and benefit return? If you need help doing your taxes and you have modest income and a simple tax situation, local community organizations and their volunteers host free tax preparation clinics through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, where the volunteers can do your taxes for you.
This year there are tax clinics at the Ashcroft Library on April 27 and May 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Cache Creek Library on May 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the Clinton Library on May 3 from 12:30 to 4 p.m.
3. How do I notify CRA of a change in my address? If you’re registered for the CRA’s online services, you can change your address by going to http://bit.ly/2qSIscw or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
4. How do I notify CRA of a change in my marital status? You can change your marital status online by selecting “Change my marital status” at http://bit.ly/2qSIscw or by calling the CRA.
5. How do I know how much I owe or where my refund is? Find the amount of your balance owing or your refund by logging into My Account at the CRA’s online service at http://bit.ly/2qSIscw. If you are getting a refund, the details will include the refund method (direct deposit or mailed cheque), the date it was sent, and the amount. You can also call the Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) at 1-800-267-6999 to ask about your refund. TIPS is available until December 2018.
6. How can I get a copy of my notice of assessment or reassessment? If you do your taxes online using certain NETFILE-certified software products, you can receive an express notice of assessment (NOA) in the software shortly after you submit your return. If someone else is doing your taxes for you, they can request an Express NOA on your behalf.
You can also get a copy in My Account at http://bit.ly/2qSIscw. You will be able to view and print detailed information of an assessment or reassessment of your income tax and benefit return for the current year and the 10 previous years. To get your notices online, sign up for online mail at http://bit.ly/2K98z7V and the CRA will send you an email letting you know when you have new mail to view in My Account, such as your notice of assessment.
7. What are my payment options? If you owe taxes, there are several payment methods to choose from, including online banking, CRA’s My Payment service using your Visa, MasterCard, or an Interac Online debit card, and pre-authorized debit from your account at a financial institution. If you prefer to pay in person, you can now pay by cash or debit at any Canada Post outlet.
8. Can I arrange to make payments? If you cannot pay all of the amount you owe before the due date, consider making a payment arrangement. If you’re eligible, a payment arrangement will let you make smaller payments over time until you pay the whole amount (you will still be charged daily compound interest on any outstanding balance starting May 1, 2018, until you pay your balance in full). To set up a pre-authorized debit agreement, use My Account or call the CRA at 1-888-863-8657.
9. Where is my benefit or credit payment? Find the amount and date of your benefit and credit payments by logging into My Account at http://bit.ly/2qSIscw. Make sure you do your taxes on time and keep your personal information up to date to continue to receive your payments without interruption.