The April 30th tax deadline is quickly approaching. Yes, we know, doing taxes might not rank at the top of your “to do” list. Call us crazy, but we love tax time! We enjoy helping you get the maximum refund possible.
While we’re at it, we want to have some fun too.
Win Coupon Codes!
We’re giving away coupon codes to use TurboTax Online for free. For your chance to win, simply comment on this blog post telling us why you want to use TurboTax.
Next Sunday, April 21st at 7am ET, we will randomly draw five winners from all comments received. That’s not all! Each winner will also receive an additional coupon code to email to a friend or family member.
Already filed your taxes this year? Not a problem, the coupon codes can be used next year as well.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention a few reasons why you should consider using TurboTax.
Here are our top three:
Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win a coupon code to use TurboTax Online for FREE!
Official contest rules (PDF)
I recently started my own company, providing operations consulting for small businesses. I don’t have an office, I just use a spare room in an apartment that I rent. Can I claim my rent to be a business expense?
Since you are self-employed, you can claim a certain percentage of your rent as a business-use-of-home expense – so long as you use the room as your principal place of business.
Anyone works from home as an employee, conversely, will need a T2200 form in order to claim rent and other business-use-of-home expenses. T2200 forms are provided by employers.
Please refer to this blog post for more information on business-use-of-home expenses.
Throughout tax season, Caroline, a tax analyst with TurboTax, will answer your tax questions. Have a question you’d like to ask? Click here.
Your son needs braces. Your one daughter wants to take gymnastics and the other wants to play hockey. We don’t have to tell you that raising children is an expensive proposition that just seems to cost more every year.
The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) can help.
It provides non-taxable monthly payments to help eligible families with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. And one of the great things about it is that you can use it for whatever you want – to help pay for braces, gymnastics or hockey as you choose.
How much money you get each month depends on your income and whether or not you are also eligible to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) and/or the Child Disability Benefit (CDB).
Let’s look at some details:
To be eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you have to meet all of these conditions:
Parents who share custody of a child can be eligible for the CCTB too.
The National Child Benefit Supplement provides extra help for low-income families while the Child Disability Benefit provides funds for qualified families caring for children with severe and prolonged mental or physical impairments. (See Canadian Disability Tax Credits to learn more.)
If you qualify for either or both of these, they will be included in the CCTB you receive each month.
How much Canada Child Tax Benefit you receive every month is determined as well by your family net income (line 236 of your tax return plus the net income from line 236 of your spouse or common-law partner’s tax return).
If you also receive the Universal Child Care Benefit, which is a taxable benefit, (see Family Tax in Canada), your family net income will be adjusted to exclude this.
Two Things You Need to Do to Get the Canada Child Tax Benefit
Getting monthly cheques or deposits is always nice but especially so when you have a family to provide for. But to get the CCTB you have to do these two things:
You are not automatically signed up to receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit when a child is born; you need to apply to receive it if you are the person who is primarily responsible for caring for your child.
You should apply as soon as possible when your child is born, when a child starts to live with you or when you meet the eligibility conditions outlined above.
BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have an Automated Benefits Application service to register your child for the Canada Child Tax Benefit when he or she is born.
If you live in a different province or territory, or are applying for a child that has come to live with you through other circumstances, you can apply by completing RC66 – Canada Child Benefits Application or by using the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account service.
2) File your income tax return – even if you have no income.
Because your income tax form is used for calculating the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you can’t get it unless you’ve filed a tax return. So make sure you complete and file one even if you have no income to make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
For more information on tax credits, please visit the TurboTax website.
If you are, you won’t want to miss out on the Tradesperson Tools Deduction; it provides an income tax deduction of up to $500 of the cost of eligible tools bought to earn your employment income.
The Requirements for Claiming
1) You can only claim the cost of eligible tools.
These are tools that, according to the Canada Revenue Agency,
2) As you see in the second point above, to claim the Tradesperson Tools Deduction, you need to have your employer complete and sign Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment (PDF); he or she has to answer question 11 on part B of the form to certify that the tools you are claiming the cost of were necessary for your work and that you bought them.
Your employer will need a list of all the tools you are proposing to claim to do this. (You don’t have to include this list with your income tax return, but you need to keep it in case the Canada Revenue Agency wants to see it at some time; you also need to keep all the receipts for your tools for the same reason.)
How Much You Can Claim
Remember that the cost of your eligible tools includes any GST, HST or provincial sales tax that you paid when you bought them.
The amount of the Tradesperson Tools Deduction you can claim is determined by this formula:
The maximum deduction for eligible tools is the lesser of:
a) $500; and
b) the amount, if any, determined by the formula
A – $1,095
A = the lesser of:
1. the total cost of eligible tools that you bought in 2012; and
2. your income from employment as a tradesperson for the year
plus the amount you received in 2012 under the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant programs;
minus the amount of any Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and Apprenticeship Completion Grant overpayments that you had to repay in 2012.
The resulting amount is the number you will enter in TurboTax.
Employed apprentice mechanics may also be able to qualify for an additional deduction; see Deduction for Tools for an Eligible Apprentice Mechanic.
Claiming the Tradesperson Tools Deduction in TurboTax
One of the great things about using TurboTax to complete and file your tax return is that TurboTax ensures that you don’t miss any of the income tax deductions that you’re eligible for – and gives you the information you need to make the most of those deductions.
The Tradesperson Tools Deduction is no exception.
TurboTax uses an EasyStep interview process to guide you through the process of completing and filing your tax return.
The very first question you’re asked in your ‘Personal Tax Profile’ is whether or not you worked in 2012.
Answer “Yes” to this question, select the t-slips that apply to you, and another set of questions will drop down, where you will answer “Yes” to the question, “Did you have expenses related to your employment?”
Then, when you get to the ‘Income’ part of the EasyStep interview, when you come to the ‘Employment Expenses’ screen, and are asked if this applies to you, click “Yes”.
The ‘Employment Expense Profile’ will then appear. Just check off “Other Employment Expenses” and you’ll be taken to a screen that lists possible employment expenses, where you will enter your Tradesperson Tools Credit Claim.
To learn more about potential tax deductions and credits for tradespeople, see Tax Savings for Tradespeople.
Whether part-time or full-time, if there’s a student in your family taking courses or programs at an eligible institution, you and the student could both get a break on your taxes this year.
That’s because as a student, your son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter may be able to claim the Education Amount and tax credits for their tuition and textbooks – and, as Tuition and Education credits are among the very few income tax credits that can be transferred to other people, they could transfer the unused portion of their tax credits to you.
Here’s how it works:
1) The student claims the Tuition and Education Amount they’re entitled to on their tax return. If there is an amount left over when they’ve used their tax credits to bring their income tax payable down to zero, they can transfer the leftover amount to a parent, grandparent, spouse or common-law partner, or their parent or grandparent.
2) Then, if you’re the person the student has chosen to transfer their leftover Tuition and Education Amount to, you claim the transferred amount on your income tax return.
Full-time students can claim the Education Amount of up to $400 a month and up to $65 a month for books for each month they were in school in 2012.
Part-time students can claim the Education Amount of up to $120 a month and up to $20 a month for books for each month they were in school in 2012.
Students can also claim eligible tuition fees, such as admission fees, exam fees, and the fees for enrolling in specific courses if they are more than $100 and if they were paid to one of the following:
See What tuition and education expenses can a student claim? for more information.
Students can transfer up to $5,000 federally, and an additional $5,000 provincially ($5,914 for Ontario residents). These amounts are reduced by the portion of this year’s tuition and education amounts that the student used on his or her own return.
Our FAQs about transferring tuition and education amounts gives more details about what students can claim and transfer.
(If you’re a student, you’ll also definitely want to read Student Tax Deductions in Canada to see if there are any other deductions that you may have missed.)
Transferring Tuition and Education Amounts With TurboTax
1) For the Student: How to Claim the Tuition & Education Amount
TurboTax guides you through the claims process.
Start by clicking on the ‘Personal Profile’ tab near the top of the screen. You’ll see a list of simple questions about what happened to you last year, one of which is “Were you a student in (Tax Year) or did you have student expenses for yourself in previous years?”
When you answer “Yes” and check off the student expenses that apply to you, such as tuition fees or textbooks, TurboTax creates a ‘Student Profile’ (see the screenshot) for you that makes claiming your tax credits a simple process.
Notice that besides listing the different student expenses you may have had, the same ‘Student Profile’ screen that you see above lists the “Transfer of tuition and education to a spouse, parent or grandparent”.
Check the box provided, hit the ‘Continue’ button, and you’ll be taken to a screen to enter your tuition fees.
Once you do and click ‘Continue’, the Transfer Tuition and Education (Federal) screen will appear. Enter the amount you want to transfer, up to the maximum allowed ($5,000 minus the amount needed to reduce your own tax payable to zero) and select the person to whom you want to transfer this amount.
Do the same thing with the Transfer Tuition and Education (Provincial) screen, entering the amount you want to transfer, up to the maximum allowed (which varies from province to province), and selecting the person to whom you want to transfer this amount.
You must transfer provincial amounts to the same person to whom you transferred your federal amounts.
TurboTax will automatically put the right amounts in the right places on your tax return. And when your tax return is completed, all you need to do is give the person you want to transfer your Tuition and Education credits to the information from the “Bottom Line Summary” that TurboTax provides.
How do I transfer my unused tuition credits to a parent or spouse? provides more details about the process.
2) For the Parent or Spouse: How to Claim the Transferred Tuition & Education Amount
It’s easy to claim the leftover Tuition and Education Amount on your tax return using TurboTax too.
First, as noted above, the student will provide you with the information about the leftover amount that you are able to claim. Then:
If you are the student’s spouse or common-law partner, and you are preparing a coupled return, the leftover tuition is transferred automatically. (How easy is that?)
If you’re preparing separate returns, you will use Form Lookup and use the keyword S2; TurboTax will then transfer the result of Schedule 2 to line 326 of your T1 General.
If you are the students’ parent or grandparent, you will transfer the Tuition and Education amount by using the ‘Take Me To’ icon to search for ‘Children (dependant claims)’.
This will take you to the Claims for Dependants screen where you will click “Yes” to be taken to the Dependants Credits screen.
Once there, just choose the child that you want to claim a dependant credit for and check off the “Transfer my child’s tuition and education amounts” box. You’ll then be taken to the Transfer my child’s tuition and education amounts screen where you will enter the amounts the student designated to transfer to you on their tax return, T2202 or T2202A form.
You’re a busy student. We get it. Between writing papers and exams, giving presentations, working part-time job(s), and having a social life, keeping your finances in line often takes a backseat. At TurboTax we understand that you have precious little downtime, let alone time for taxes. That’s where we come in.
We’ve put together some helpful tips to make filing effortless. We know that this may be the biggest cheque you receive all year and we want to ensure that the money you deserve ends up where it belongs: back in your pocket!
Tip #1: Take advantage of every saving opportunity
You work hard, so reward yourself. Become familiar with the tax credits and deductions out there for you. TurboTax will lead you through your filing journey, helping you take advantage of key saving opportunities, including:
Tip #2: Pay it forward
You can carry each year’s tuition and education amounts forward until you have enough income to use them all up.
Tip #3: Give back to those who gave to you
You have the opportunity to help others reduce their taxes by transferring your tuition and education amounts to them. Consider giving back to parents, extended family, or anyone else that made it possible for you to go to school.
Tip #4: Ask the experts
Almost one third of students rely on their parents for tax advice. Sage though they may be, parents are not always aware of which tax credits you are eligible for. You can rely on TurboTax for immediate, jargon-free, and completely accurate answers.
Tip #5: Value your time, file in a snap!
Your smartphone and tablet have near infinite uses. Now, thanks to SnapTax, they can help you file your taxes. Using SnapTax, you can take a picture of your T4 with your iPad or iPhone and easily and securely continue your return with TurboTax Online. SnapTax now covers most student tax situations, including tuition, scholarships, transit passes, and RESPs.
You can complete your taxes for free with the TurboTax Student Online Edition – as long as you paid tuition during the tax year and your gross annual household income is less than $20,000.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a bunch of medical receipts and a bunch of questions about claiming medical expenses on your income tax return.
The medical expenses puzzle is another great reason to use TurboTax to do your income tax. TurboTax simplifies the process of claiming your medical expenses by providing answers to common medical expense questions before and during the process of entering your medical receipts, questions such as:
TurboTax: Your Expert Guide to Medical Expenses
Let’s take a look at exactly how TurboTax helps you sort out the mysteries of medical expenses and make the most of your medical expenses claim.
For instance, suppose you’re wondering how much of your medical expenses are tax deductible. You and your family have had a few medical expenses over the course of the last year, but for nothing really serious. Tallying your receipts, you see that the grand total is $1,800.
If you’re using TurboTax to complete your income tax return, you’ll encounter the screen shown below before you go to the trouble of entering any of your medical expenses.
As you see, it informs you that you can’t claim medical expenses until your medical expenses reach more than 3% of your income or top $2,024 in 2012, whichever is less.
To make it even easier for you to see if it’s worthwhile entering your medical expenses on your return, TurboTax tells you how much of your income three percent is. We even point out, right on this same screen, that generally, the spouse with the lower income should claim the medical expenses, if applicable – in case this is a scenario that might provide you with a tax advantage.
Wondering if you can claim a particular medical expense? TurboTax makes it easy to find out.
Suppose you had laser eye surgery, for example, and you want to know whether or not you can claim the cost of the procedure.
In the Personal Profile section of the Easy-Step Interview you’re asked whether or not you have medical expenses. Click on the big blue ‘Guide Me’ button that follows the question and you’ll be taken to a screen that lists common medical expenses and medically-related expenses that you can’t claim.
When you scan this list, you’ll see that laser eye surgery is listed as one of the common medical expenses that you can claim (as long as you weren’t reimbursed for the expense already. Also, as we explain on the same page, if your employer or a private insurance or drug plan paid a percentage of the expenses, you can claim the remaining portion that you paid.)
The screen also provides you with a list of expenses that you can’t claim as medical expenses, such as payments to a provincial health insurance plan and non-prescription birth-control devices.
And if the medical expense you’re wondering about isn’t listed on this screen, there’s also a link to an A-Z list of Expenses which includes medical expenses.
Medical Expenses Are Easy to Enter
Entering your medical expenses in TurboTax is straightforward. Answer “Yes” to the question “Did you have medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or your dependants?” near the beginning of the EasyStep interview, and you’ll be led through the process of entering medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and your dependant children under 18.
If you’ve chosen to use TurboTax via CD or download, you can also enter your medical receipts in Forms view, entering your medical receipts in the window provided.
File With Confidence
Whichever method of entering medical expenses you use, TurboTax will automatically total your medical expenses, and put the amount of your medical expenses claim in the proper place on your income tax return.
So you can file your income tax return with confidence – knowing that it’s not only right but that thanks to TurboTax, you’ve made the most of whatever medical expenses you have to claim.
For more information, see our FAQ Medical Expense Tax Deductions in Canada.
If you or anyone in your family used buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains or local ferries to get around in 2012, you may be able to claim the Public Transit Amount on your income tax – and if you qualify, TurboTax makes it easy to do that.
Who Qualifies for the Public Transit Amount?
Basically you and/or your spouse or common-law partner can claim the cost of transit passes used by you, your spouse or common-law partner and children who were under 19 years of age on December 31st, 2012 (assuming the full cost of the transit pass(es) were not claimed on your T4 slips).
(Note that the Public Transit Amount is a non-refundable tax credit, which means that the amount you claim is multiplied by the lowest personal income tax rate for the year and then deducted from your tax otherwise payable.)
Two Conditions That Have to Be Met
There are two conditions that you have to meet before you can claim the Public Transit Amount.
1) To claim the cost of a transit pass, the pass must permit unlimited travel within Canada on a local bus, streetcar, subway, commuter train or bus or local ferry – so ride or trip passes are not eligible.
You can claim the cost of shorter duration passes as long as:
And you can claim the cost of electronic payment cards as long as:
2) The second catch is that you need to be able to support your tax credit claim.
You can do this in several different ways.
Keeping your used transit pass(es) will work, as long as each pass displays all the following information, according to the Canada Revenue Agency:
If a pass doesn’t have all this information on it, then you’ll need to keep receipts as well as your used passes. Cancelled cheques or credit card statements will work, but be aware that the Canada Revenue Agency does not generally consider a bank statement to be a valid receipt.
For more information on the Public Transit Credit, please visit our website.
The Public Transit Tax Credit is just one of the tax credits and deductions that TurboTax helps you find and, if you qualify, apply to your income tax so you get the biggest tax refund possible.
In response to high consumer demand, we are thrilled to announce that TurboTax is now available for Commodore 64 and the Atari 2600.
Whatchya talkin’ about, you ask? Well, we’ll tell you what we’re talking about.
It’s clear from our market research that there’s a growing number of Canadians embracing retro-culture. Radio stations that play Psychedelic Furs, Flock of Seagulls, and Nena have popped up across the country. Bo and Luke Duke made a comeback (yee-haw!), and Dallas did too. Even fashion trends are reappearing, such as jumpsuits, patterned pants and blazers with the sleeves rolled up. It’s all the proof we needed to offer Canadians the choice to file on Ataris and Commodores using TurboTax this season.
So put those tabletop editions of Frogger, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong aside, forget about solving Rubik’s Cube, and get set for a gnarly experience filing your taxes on your favorite platform. All of the features you’ve come to expect from TurboTax have been included, such as our EasyStep interview process and RRSP optimizer – enabling you to attain a maximum refund.
For those of you with a Commodore 64, relax and enjoy some quiet time while you load TurboTax using nine 5 1/4″ floppy disks. Atari 2600 users will be particularly excited to pop in their TurboTax cartridge and use the classic Atari joystick to navigate their tax return.
These great products are now available at Consumers Distributing, Woolco, K-Mart and many other fine retailers.
Income tax season is here again and while that doesn’t mean you have to drop anything and get your income tax completed and filed pronto, it does mean that it’s time to start gathering together all the information and forms you’ll need to get the job done. Canadian income tax is due April 30th.
So grab a file folder or a shoebox and start putting together your own “tax package” so when the time comes, all the information you need is at your fingertips.
Tax Information Slips
While most of these information slips were mailed in February, there are a few, such as the T5013 (Statement of Partnership Income) and T5013A (Statement of Partnership Income for Tax Shelters and Renounced Resource Expenses), that aren’t usually mailed out until March.