This week the National Revenue Minister announced a new program called “File My Return” that will allow Canadians with low and fixed incomes to complete their returns over the phone.
In this reincarnation of the discontinued Telefile system, CRA will use information it has on hand to automatically fill in returns including deductions through and automated phone service. Paper tax returns will also be mailed to some Canadians this year.
The new phone program’s goal is to simplify the annual tax filing process for about 950,000 Canadians categorized as low or fixed income, provided their income is consistent year over year. Eligible Canadians will be receiving invitations by mail this February if they qualify for the program.
The CRA promises that individuals using this system will be able to access the deductions, benefits, and credits they’re entitled to without having to complete a formal tax return first. Instead the CRA will ask users to give personal information and answer a series of short questions through the automated phone service.
Having automated access to the deductions and credits Canadians are entitled to and ensuring people take advantage them without sound guidance from knowledge experts, who are up-to-date with the effect of complex tax change and vigorous audit requirements, are two different things.
The new Canada Caregiver Credit, which is the just one of the many changes next week’s CE Summits takes on, is a case in point. Learned tax and financial advisors will consider this claim in conjunction with other complicated provisions under claims for medical expenses, attendant care costs and disability tax credits. It’s very complex and fraught with audit risk, but an important tax support to families undergoing lifecycle change.
Professional assistance can ensure that Canadians file accurate returns and receive the appropriate credits and deductions and is especially important for newcomers, those suffering a change in health or career circumstances who may find themselves qualifying for new tax provisions that can affect their net after-tax results, or refundable tax credits going forward.
There are lots of good reasons to stay connected to a trusted tax advisor, who can help to ensure every tax deduction and credit that is available to the family unit as a whole is taken advantage of, including pension income splitting or the transfer of tax credits between spouses. Professionals can also help focus on filing and correcting prior filed returns and resolving audit issues for those who may have been impacted by the CRA’s inability to meet service standards in the past. They are also an important part of a professional advisory team to executors when someone dies.
As the CRA’s audit practices become increasingly aggressive, professionals who invest in their tax education can fulfill greater roles as educators and advocates for financial literacy so that families can also benefit from their tax education.
Knowledge Bureau’s CE Summits winter session will focus on providing an advanced personal income tax update for 2018. This is Canada’s best and most comprehensive personal tax update seminar. Workshop sessions offered in six Canadian cities between January 18 and 26 will cover the following topics:
The early registration deadline is January 10, so register today in order to take advantage of the best prices (please note that Regular Fees apply after deadlines), ensure you get your hard copy of the coveted Knowledge Journal, and to acquire the critical knowledge that you’ll need this tax season to help taxpayers, whether or not they opt to try the new automated phone filing service at CRA.
Can’t attend these workshops? Additional educational resources: Introduction to Personal Tax Preparation, Intermediate Personal Tax Preparation.
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