Paying taxes ranks on the enjoyment scale somewhere between a root canal and taking screaming tween girls to a Justin Bieber concert. Nonetheless, thanks to taxes we have things ranging from street lights to snow removal to hospitals to food inspectors. Yes, the government wastes a lot of money, supports many a questionable enterprise, and there’s plenty of corruption, but it does plenty of good things too. So, pay your taxes.
One of the biggest roadblocks to paying taxes isn’t the paying part. It’s the daunting paperwork that goes with those taxes. And receipts… right, who really keeps those??? Next year, we swear, next year we will save every single receipt!
We all know an accountant can be pricey — far pricer than the return you might get for using one. However, they’re experts, so using one is always a possibility. Of course, some people like to sit down with the forms and guideline books taken from the post office, pull out a calculator and a pencil and go for it. There are programs like UFile and Turbo Taxes make it relatively easy to pay your taxes, especially if you have all those forms from your workplace. They’re also pretty good for businesses taxes, so the $25-45 investment to buy the software (or possibly free if you are under a certain income level OR you belong to certain banks) is worth it. Of course, it’s much harder to take care of your taxes if you DON’T have all the receipts, records, and forms you need. Start amassing all this material now and start saving what you need for next year.
If doing your taxes still seems beyond your reach or you reach an impasse in your own calculating, here are some things that might help out.
Go the Canada Revenue Agency website. In addition to including calculators to figure out your tax deductions and your child and family benefits, every single form and publication is HERE for federal and HERE for Quebec.
Through YES (youth employment service), a workshop entitled Income Tax Basics for Artists is given by Bruno Georgescu AND is also available online. The workshop takes place March 25. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $15/20. You don’t have to be under 35 to register for this workshop.
A fairly good guideline about income taxes for self-employed artists and the meaning of things like being incorporated is available on the ACTRA website.
University Tax Clinics
McGill University’s Frugal Scholar workshops include a number of tax workshops given by tax expert Brenda Shanahan. Students are entitled to specific discounts and it might be well worth the hour to hear if you’re missing out on any. This year, March 24 at 4 and March 25 at 4 in the Brown Student Services building are free clinics.
John Molson Accounting Society and HEC
The John Molson Accounting Society hosts a walk-in tax clinic on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the EY office (800 Rene Levesque, #1900). HEC also offers tax clinics, on March 27-29. Similarly, check out the one at UQAM. There are limitations based on income and other factors.
Volunteer Tax Prep Clinics
Through social organizations like the YMCA, CANA, Union française, and others, free tax clinics are provided. Some are specific to groups such as persons with disabilities, newcomers, those under a specified income (usually under $30,000 for a single person, $40,000 for a couple), come from a specific neighborhood (i.e. NDG, Mile End) or the over 65s. Others are open to all. Dates, times, and appointments can be found at this web site HERE. Unfortunately, these clinics do not help people with self-employment income or a number other criteria (see HERE).
Americans in Canada!
Americans who live in Canada and need to file, need to fill out their F-Bar as well as an income tax form for the US, even if they don’t need to pay anything. Taxpayer information for US citizens can be found on the Embassy website. IRS forms are here with more information HERE. The FBAR filing system is HERE.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a licensed professional.