Income tax filing deadline looms

Less than 25 per cent of the population now send their taxes in the mail

The April 30 deadline for filing income taxes is still a few days away, yet Canada Revenue Agency is already crunching the numbers on who filed and how.

As of April 19, more than 13,160,800 Canadians had filed their returns. By the end of the month, that number will balloon to an estimated 21 million.

Almost half of those who have filed their taxes so far has hired someone to do so using the Internet. A quarter filed their own on the Net and just less than a quarter, 23.56 per cent, used the old-fashioned method, Canada Post, to file returns.

CRA goes after individuals who don’t file income tax returns. Five people were convicted in B.C. last year for failing to file. In addition to fines, those convicted must still file returns and pay the full amount of taxes owing, if any, plus interest.

If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of sifting through that shoebox of receipts in order to do your taxes, University of Victoria educational psychologist Allyson Hadwin has some tips, such as breaking up the task into manageable goals.

One day create a CRA online account, she says on her Facebook page, facebook.com/pages/Learning-Strategies-for-University-Success/166536786712626

The next day, before dinner, fill in the T4 information. Later that evening add your T4A information. When you’re done, reward yourself.

That reward could be planning what to do with your refund when it arrives. As of April 19, more than half of those who filed their tax returns will receive refunds. The average 2012 refund amount to date is $1,541.87.

Tax time means scam time

If you receive an email claiming you need to provide banking and personal information in order to receive a refund, don’t believe it, says the Canada Revenue Agency. CRA does not request personal information of any kind via email from tax payers. If you did respond to such a scam contact the RCMP’s Anti-Fraud Centre by email at info@antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

 

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