Tax Day in Canada 2021

Barring a reprieve from the CRA, tax day for 2021 is today. Time to get your taxes done!

I have written many articles about taxes, I will include a few at the end of this article.

Reasons folks tell me they haven’t done their taxes:

I Don’t Owe Anything

Are you sure about that one? Unless you do your taxes, you can’t be sure you owe nothing. If you are owe nothing, why not do your taxes? Get it done. If you are owed money, you enjoy loaning the government money? That is what you are doing if you are owed a refund, and you don’t file your taxes. Who can afford not getting all their money they earned? I suppose Elon Musk maybe?

I Can’t Be Bothered

Usually followed by, “the CRA will come get me if I owe money”. You do realize if you owe money, and haven’t filed they start charging interest on the money owed? This is not the IRS, but the CRA can garnish your wages, if you ignore them long enough.

I Had No Income

Well, that is a great reason to file your taxes. How else will you get HST rebates and many other things? Find someone to help you file, if you can’t do it yourself. Many support programs rely on you showing you have no income, and your taxes is where that can be done. For young folks this is important as well, for things like OSAP, if they are going to claim they are self-supporting. For RDSPs this is important for disabled young folks so they can receive the Canada disability savings grant at a higher level and Canada disability savings bond. The Bond is $1000 if you put no money into your RDSP account for the year (i.e. free money).

I Can’t Get Into My CRA

Yes, that was a big problem for about 800,000 of us, but that is not an excuse (evidently). You needed to spend a while on the phone with the CRA to clear that up. They also (evidently) fixed the problem for a lot of folks too?

Mother's Day

I am Dead

Yes, this is a reason, for you. OK a bit morbid, and maybe not that funny given the COVID times that we are living in. Someone needs to submit your taxes in this instance (your executor most likely), to make sure the CRA knows this as well.

Frederick's of Hollywood

Other Fun Tax Articles

Some other articles I have written over the ages about Income Tax in Canada

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How do You do your Taxes?

Gone are the days where I did my taxes with pen and paper. Happily those days are over.

I use TurboTax to do my tax returns and for those of my direct family. Other software solutions work just as well, but I am comfortable with this tool, so I keep using it.

Typically I do my taxes over about a 1.5 month period. I must wait while the various tax receipts and such arrive at my house.

Typically the methodology followed would be something like:

  • Purchase TurboTax, at Costco. This is usually the cheapest place to get it.
  • Update TurboTax. The software does this automatically, but needs to be done. The updates are important.
  • Create this year’s tax returns for my family, based on last year’s TurboTax files. The software manages to bring forward a lot of useful info like personal info.
  • TurboTax allows you to import data from the CRA site. This year, it is more exciting, as I am locked out.
  • Use my last pay stub for most data needed, until my T-4 arrives.
  • Go into Quicken and glean out whatever information I think I can get, and do a rough estimate of what my taxes might be. Inevitably I overestimate how much tax I have paid and I start getting delusions of large tax refunds, but that is soon remedied.
    • TurboTax does have an import from Quicken tool. Every time I use it, it has not gone well, so I eschew this tool.
  • With this estimate I will see if there is a need to buy RRSP’s to lower tax owed, which usually is not the case
  • As each receipt and/or T-4 or such arrives I then type it into TurboTax and watch my estimate become a closer to reality number
  • Over this time I will remember things I have forgotten to input. I will add them with glee seeing my refund number inflate.
  • By the time the first week of March rolls around my return is 95% complete and factual (i.e. not based on estimates). I can then start thinking about E-Filing my return.
  • Finally the decision whether to submit my returns via E-File. This usually happens on a Sunday morning.
    • Sometimes, there are issues E-filing, so keep all receipts and take screen shots.

And Then?

With that, I await to see whether I forgot something (inevitably a receipt will appear near the end of March, which I have forgotten about), or whether I made an incorrect assumption, when the CRA sends me their response to my submission.

Addendum

This is a rewrite of an article from 2010.

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My CRA Error ERR.021

I have spoken about My CRA before, it allows access to your CRA account. The error I received (Error – ERR.021) was shocking. Updates for this can be found here.

I am now locked out from this with the following screen:

CRA Error ERR.021
Lock Out Error ERR.021 for My CRA account

The access I used was using my Banking Access (i.e. my bank card log in credentials). I have not applied for CERB (as background).

I managed to call the CRA, and was told that someone would call me back about the ERR.021 issue. This would allow me to get access to my account. I was attempting to see what my RRSP room was (as background).

Then I received the following email to the email address I have on file with the CRA.

CRA Email Deletion Message

So now, I cannot log into my CRA account, and I cannot receive emails either. I will receive something using Canada Post, explaining what is going on, and how to fix this issue.

The CBC has posted the following:

Christopher Doody, a CRA media relations representative, said in an email it was meant “as a security precaution in the context of ongoing investigative work, and is not due to a cyber security breach of CRA systems.” He said affected users can expect a letter in the mail with instructions on how to unlock their account.

CRA locks online accounts amid investigation, leaving users worried – CBC

Current Status

Still locked out of my CRA account. Conjecture is that my log in credentials were being sold on the Dark Web. (Feb 17th)

The CRA answered my tweet, with the following:

No phone call, and no letter as of yet either. The Dark Web Sale may have been of older data, however, can’t fault CRA for security. I can fault them for slow response. I have a T4 and most of my other tax forms, but I can’t actually check with CRA or submit my taxes yet. (March 1, 2020)

OH BOY! I get to call them, AGAIN!🤦🏻🤦🏽🤦‍♀️

I will have to dedicate a whole day to do this too. Yea! (March 3)

The call was made, I spent 4 minutes going through menus. They were too busy, so they hung up. 🤦🏻🤦🏽🤦‍♀️ (March 4)

Finally, Success!

I called on Monday at 8:05 AM (EST) (March 8), and finally got through after a short (10 minute) wait. Lots of resetting of things, but I now have access back to My CRA account .

You will need to set up:

  • A new 6 digit PIN Number for calls with CRA in the future
  • Have your 2019 return in front of you to answer questions
  • Have all of your direct deposit banking information as well
  • Your cell phone number for Multi-Level Authentication
  • An Email Address for correspondence.

(March 08)

And Now a Knuckleball

Just got the same email as before saying my account is now suspended. Problem is I can still log in using my banking credentials (for now). Also a very quizzical comment added:

If you are unable to use this online option, we ask that you please try again after March 22, 2021 and call the CRA only if the online option doesn’t work for you after this date.

CRA Email of March 13 2021

I have all the information I need, so I am OK, for now. I will check tomorrow, and see if I can log in. Come back and look for an update.

(March 13 2021)

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Moving Expenses for Students

For students, there are a few well known tax credits, however, many forget about moving expenses.

As long as you are going farther than 40 KM from home to go to school, you should be able to claim line 21900 Moving Expenses.

Save up to 50% on life insurance.

Kind of Moving Expenses

Transportation and storage costs?

You should be OK claiming those but remember to keep all receipts.

Travel expenses

Yes, but be careful how you claim your usage. Check the CRA for exactly how to claim these. Remember to keep all receipts for meals, gas, and incidentals.

Expenses while looking for a place

Up to 15 days of expenses if you have to hunt around to find an apartment.

What if I am in CO-OP?

Moving every 4 months or 8 months can get expensive. The documentation states:
For co-operative students moving back after a summer break or a work semester, you can also claim your moving expenses as long as you meet the previously-stated requirements.

What if I am graduating?

For those graduating if you are moving out of your University living quarters and are moving to a new city to get a job, that is a moving expense. If your employer reimburses you for it, then you cannot claim it. The 40 KM rule comes into play here as well.

As a former Co-Op student, I ended up moving every 4 months. I became quite adept at making my life fit the trunk of a Mercury Zephyr.

Remember it is important to keep all receipts and proof of distance in case the CRA wants proof of moving.

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Taxes Delayed, Money Lost

This was for taxes delayed in 2020 when there was a long extension. Normally taxes are due April 30th in Canada.

This year (2020) is a very odd year in terms of submitting your taxes. Thanks to the COVID19 outbreak, the current official date for submitting your 2019 taxes is: June 1, 2020 (check the link for any updates)(you only have to pay on September 1st though). Just remember Taxes Delayed is Money Lost (to you).

get your taxes done
Tax Time

September 1st, is the date when you must pay your taxes if you owe money. If you are owed a rebate, what are you waiting for? There are so many good reasons to do your taxes now:

  1. If you are owed money, and are unemployed due to the Pandemic, you really could use the tax free money, right?
  2. If your tax return is simple, why not do it now. You know the CRA is busy doing other things as well, but they are pretty quick on returns.
  3. Most of your specific information is on your My CRA account, you can pretty much do it, with that data (if you are missing data). Hopefully you aren’t locked out of your CRA account.
  4. If you owe money, better to know now what you owe, and then you can plan accordingly. The CRA will send you a response, and you could even appeal if you feel they are wrong.
  5. See (1) again, and re-read a few times if you are not sure.

Do you like loaning the government your money? Why are your Taxes Delayed ?

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