Programs & Courses

Introduction to Personal Tax Preparation

Tax Planning

By: Walter Harder

Introduction to Personal Tax Preparation

PROGRAM: DFA-Tax Services SpecialistTM


This course is designed for prospective tax preparers who have no experience with preparing tax returns for others.  The course starts with an introduction to income tax in Canada: who is taxed and what is subject to income tax.  By the end of the first chapter students will be able to prepare a simple tax return for a no-income credit filer.  Subsequent chapters will teach you how to prepare returns for singles, families, students; retirees and investors.  Along the way, you’ll learn about the most common deductions and credits available to Canadian taxpayers.

This introductory course provides the student with a solid foundation and understanding of personal taxation in Canada for low and middle income taxpayers including single employees, students, young families, retirees and investors.   The successful graduate will the skills to prepare basic tax returns professionally with a high degree of confidence. 

Students may use their own tax preparation software to complete the course. For those without tax preparation software, student versions of Intuit's ProFile Premier, Dr Tax's DT Max software and TaxCycle are provided with the course.  Case Studies preparing 2017 returns will be done using income tax preparation software.


The student will be exposed to a broad range of personal income tax topics in common scenarios, each featuring short answer and true-to-life case studies which include the details behind reporting income and claiming deductions and tax credits using tax software. The student will be able to prepare basic personal tax returns.


The student prepares case studies using professional tax preparation software.  For students who don't have their own software, student versions of TaxCycle T1, ProFile T1, and DTMax software are available for download.

Quizzes 25%
Case Studies 50%
Final Exam 25%
Passing Grade 60%
Honours Achievement 90%


Table of Contents

Chapter 1:
Introduction to Canadian Tax, Basics: Who is taxed; What is taxed; How income tax is calculated; How tax is collected; Low-income taxpayers and the income tax system. Getting to Know Your Client: the Info screen; Interview Checklist; Who must file; Filing deadlines; Penalties for late filing; Penalties for non-compliance.
Chapter 2:
Tax Preparation for Single Employees, Basic Personal Amount; Employment Income – the T4 slip; Canada Employment Amount; Union Dues, Charitable Donations; No T4 slip; Bank Accounts.
Chapter 3:
Tax Preparation for Employees with Variations, Employment Insurance – the T4E slip; RRSPs; Public transit passes; Goods and Services Tax Credit; Rent and property tax credits; Auto-fill my return.
Chapter 4:
Tax Preparation for Families - Married with Children, Marital status; Year of Co-habitation, Children; Child care expenses; Family Medical expenses; Refundable Medical Expense Supplement; Transfer of Credits between Spouses; Infirm dependants; Other dependants; Family Bank Accounts; Canada Child Benefit; Working Income Tax Benefit.
Chapter 5:
Tax Preparation for Families - Marital Change, Change in marital status; Child Support, Alimony & Maintenance, Child care expenses; Eligible dependants; Costs of Separation or Divorce; Canada Child Benefits.
Chapter 6:
Tax Preparation for Students, Service Industry Income, Scholarships and Bursaries, Moving Expenses, Tuition amounts; Student loan interest; Transferring credits to supporting persons.
Chapter 7:
Tax Preparation for Retirees , Old Age Security – T4A(OAS) and Clawbacks; Guaranteed Income Supplement; Canada Pension Plan – T4A(P); Private Pension Income - T4A slips, Pension income splitting, Penson Income Amount; Age Amount; RRSP and RRIF income; Disability Tax Credit; Home Accessibility Tax Credit.
Chapter 8:
Tax Preparation for Investors – Non-Registered Accounts , Reporting investment income – T3 and T5 slips – and their carrying charges. An introduction to private loan income; Reporting foreign holdings; Making tax instalments; Attribution.
Chapter 9:
Tax Preparation for Investors - Capital Property, Classification of Properties; Mutual funds; Capital gains on disposition of assets; Real estate; Dealing with losses; Principal residences.
Chapter 10:
Basic Tax Planning, Saving for Retirement: TFSA vs RRSP, Home Buyers’ Plan, Lifelong Learning Plan; RESP; In Retirement: Melting down RRSPs; OAS and CPP planning.

What Graduates Say

"It was a good experience. I really enjoyed. Definitely I have more knowledge. It is practical that we can use directly with real cases. Good examples. I am bilingual and it was very understandable. I was feeling active all the time when I was studying and make me practice with normal cases. Some were challenging like the input of principal residence and how much you can decide to contribute to RRSP an how much RRSP to use in the current year."  Amparo Paterson  (Abbotsford, BC)