For me, tax season begins when I get the Tax software (this year I started fiddling around about 2 weeks ago, using some estimates), but it really starts when I get my T4 form.
For folks like me who are working stiffs the T4 is the tax form that describes your income and taxes paid, etc., which your employer has done for you to pay for the previous tax year. Once I get this form, my Tax preparation becomes much more concrete and tangible, because this form gives me the real numbers that cover 85% of my tax information (effectively).
The real danger I have is once I have my T4 I start getting giddy and want to send my return in, without trying to remember the important forms that may not have shown up yet, such as:
- Any and all of my charitable contributions, which do tend to take a while to show up (I usually check out my Quicken log to get an estimate of those).
- Receipts for tuition that I might have paid for my daughter’s university (yes, some schools do take their sweet time to get those receipts out).
- My wife’s tax forms from the Government, for the UCCB, this year it doesn’t matter since we didn’t receive it, but I almost forgot that income one year.
There are many other things that I must patiently wait for, and as a final double-check, I go over my previous year’s tax form (which I print as a PDF when I e-filed), making sure I didn’t forget anything from the previous year. This doesn’t catch any new income that I may have forgotten about, but it has stopped me from making many big boo-boos over the years.
This year’s major gaff (so far), is that I forgot to include my Pension Plan payments in my estimated values. This lowers my effective income a great deal, so I am glad the T4 reminded me!
I don’t do any RRSP day-dreaming these days, but I do try out Turbo Tax’s RRSP estimator for fun (I don’t have money lying around to put in RRSPs, but it is still fun to try it out).
Is it Tax Season for you yet?