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  • Personal Income Tax
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Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to process my tax return?

If a return is e-filed it generally takes 6 to 8 days depending on how backed up Revenue Canada is. If a return is paper filed please allow 6 to 8 weeks for processing.

What is the Amount for an Eligible Dependent? Can I claim an Eligible Dependent if I am married?

You may be able to claim this amount if, at any time in the year, you met all of the following conditions at once:

  • you did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person;
  • you supported a dependant in the year; and
  • you lived with the dependant (in most cases in Canada) in a home that you maintained. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you. In addition, at the time you met the above conditions, the dependant also must have been either:
  • your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption; or
  • your child, grandchild, brother, or sister by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption and either under 18, or deemed mentally or physically infirm.


Your dependant may live away from home while attending school. If the dependant ordinarily lived with you when not in school, we consider that dependant to live with you for the purposes of this credit.

Even if all of the preceding conditions have been met, you cannot claim this amount if any of the following applies:

  • You are claiming a spouse or common-law partner amount (line 303).
  • The person for whom you want to claim this amount is your common-law partner. However, you may be able to claim the amount on line 303.
  • Someone else in your household is making this claim. Each household is allowed only one claim for this amount, even if there is more than one dependant in the household.
  • The claim is for a child for whom you were required to make support payments for the year. However, if you were separated from your spouse or common-law partner for only part of the year due to a breakdown in your relationship, you can still claim an amount for that child on line 305 (plus any allowable amounts on lines 306, 315, and 318) as long as you do not claim any support amounts paid to your spouse or common-law partner on line 220. You may claim whichever is better for you.

How do I claim Employment Expenses?

You need to have your employer fill out form T2200 – Declaration of Employment Expenses.

Can I claim my prescription costs?

Yes, provided they total at least 3% of your income. You can also include dental, physical therapy, chiropractor, eyeglasses (lenses only) and eye exams. Vitamins and herbs that were purchased from a health food store are not claimable unless they were prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner and recorded by a pharmacist. You can claim eligible medical for expenses for your dependants as well as for yourself and your spouse. Usually the spouse with the lower income claims the expenses.

I’ve recently moved, can I claim my moving expenses?

Moving expenses can be claimed only when you have moved for your employment by filling out form T1-M Moving Expenses Deduction. If you were reimbursed or given an allowance that is not included in your income you must deduct the amount that you received. You must have moved at least 40 km’s closer to your place of employment. You may also claim moving expenses if you were a student that moved to attend a post-secondary educational institution (full-time students). You can read more about the moving expense deduction by accessing the Canada Revenue website or by calling 1-800-959-8281.

Should I bring in my Notice of Assessment?

Yes, this helps us with the RRSP contributions on your current year tax return as well as any carry forward numbers for deductions such as tuition etc…

Do I have to claim the child support that was paid to me?

The tax rules that apply to child support changed on May 1, 1997. Under the current tax treatment, receiving parents do not include child support payments as income and paying parents do not claim child support payments as a deduction.

These changes do not automatically apply to child support orders and agreements made before May 1, 1997. But, if both parents agree to apply the current tax treatment to their existing child support amount, they may file Form T1157, Election for Child Support Payment with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This form states that, by joint agreement, both parents want the new tax treatment to apply to their existing child support amount.

If parents send this form to the CRA, they can avoid the court process, since the face value of the order does not change. Once parents sign the form and submit it to the CRA, the current tax treatment applies and they cannot return to the previous tax treatment. (Department of Justice Canada – Child Support – Frequently asked Questions)

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Tax Tips

  • Remember to file your tax return on time, especially if you have a balance due. There is a penalty of 5% of the balance due if your return is filed late, plus 1% per month, for a maximum of 12 months. You can avoid penalties by filing your return on time, even if you cannot send in the money owing at the same time.
  • Be sure to claim the dividend tax credit for any dividends you receive from taxable Canadian corporations. If your income is too low to benefit from the credit, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to report the dividends instead, in order to take advantage of it.
  • If you worked for more than one employer, you may have overpaid your CPP/QPP or EI premiums for the year. You can claim the excess as a credit and it may be refunded to you.
  • You are not required to pay income tax on any profit you make on the sale of your home if you used it as your principal residence for the entire time you owned it.
  • Foreign Corporations dividends are not eligible for the dividend tax credit. However, you may claim a foreign tax credit for any foreign tax withheld.
  • Consider making spousal RRSP contributions if your spouse or common-law partner does not work, or does not have a pension plan. This enables you to split your RRSP or RRIF income when you retire.
  • If you, your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, the deadline for filing is June 15. For most taxpayers, the filing deadline for tax returns is April 30. However, interest on a balance owing will still be charged starting May 1st.
  • If you do not need to use the full amount of your tuition fees and education amount on your return, you may transfer them to your spouse, common-law partner, parent or grandparent, or carry them forward to a later year.
  • If you receive income from a foreign country, tax may have been withheld at source. You may claim a foreign tax credit or a deduction on your Canadian return, if the tax was in the nature of an income or profits tax.
  • Medical expenses can be claimed for any 12 month period ending in the year. You can save them for a possible claim next year, if your income is too high to claim medical expenses in the current year.
  • Child support payments are not taxable if your agreement was charged or dated after April 30, 1997. Also, the person making such payments is not allowed to deduct them.
  • You may be able to deduct certain moving expenses if you moved in order to begin working at a new location. To qualify, your new residence must be at least 40 kilometres closer to your new work site than your old residence.
  • By filing your return electronically, you can speed up your tax refund, especially if you have it deposited directly into your bank account. In most cases, you should receive your refund in less than two weeks.
  • It may be more advantageous for the spouse or common-law partner with the lower net income to claim all the medical expenses. Medical Expenses are reduced by 3% of net income.
  • If you are earning a commission income, you may be able to deduct certain expenses that you incurred to earn that income, such as entertainment expenses, travel, etc. Your employer must complete and sign Form T2200 to indicate that you meet the necessary qualifications.
  • If you are turning 19 year of age after December 31 and before April 1 , make sure you file an income tax return and apply for the GST/HST Credit. You will start receiving the credit on the next payment date after your birthday.
  • You are required to pay income tax on only 50% of your capital gain if you make a profit on the sale of a capital property.
  • Tax Loss/Tax Gain selling may work for you. Generate losses to offset capital gains in the year, or carry back losses to recover taxes paid in prior years. Generate capital gains to use up exempt gains balances left over from the 1994 capital gains elections. This can be done in December, and in consultation with a professional tax advisor who can work out various scenarios for the current and prior tax years.
  • Contribute to an RRSP. It pays to remind yourself, all year long that double digit returns result from the tax savings offered by an RRSP contribution. At year-end, consider gifting an RRSP to your family members. When you add your tax savings to the deferred taxation on the earnings within the plan, you are given an added bonus! Remember the leveraging opportunities presented through the Lifelong Learning Plan and the Home Buyer’s Plan, for those who wish to access RRSP funds to go back to school or buy a home. It all adds up to an investment you can’t afford not to make. Remember, the RRSP contribution is instrumental in increasing refundable tax credits like the lucrative Child Tax Benefit, which is based on family net income.
  • Maximize your tax deductions. Taxpayers often under-report eligible deductions such as moving expenses, child care expenses, employment deductions, and carrying charges. Taken together with frequent under-contributions to RRSP’s, it means that net income is being overstated in many cases, causing taxpayers to lose out on the full benefits they could be entitled to under non-refundable and refundable tax credits. They may also be over exposed to claw-backs of the Age Amount, OAS and Employment Insurance Benefits. So, at year end, take some time to organize all the data and be ready to maximize your tax savings results for the next tax season!
  • Adjust previous errors and omissions. You can adjust most Federal provisions under CCRA’s Fairness Package all the way back to 1985, if you find that you missed a tax deduction or credit. File form T1ADJ with the applicable receipts. This can make for a lucrative and most welcome year end bonus, especially if you are looking for creative ways to pay off your credit cards in January!
  • File returns with a family view. Your goal in filing your tax return should be to file the family’s tax returns to the best benefit of the entire household. Remember, spouses are able to act as agents for one another regarding certain tax provisions, for example, the claiming of dividends, medical expenses, charitable donations and political contributions. Make the decisions on who should claim what, preferable before year end to maximize potential savings.
  • Transfer non-refundable tax credits amongst family members. There are two formal transfer provisions relating to certain non-refundable tax credits and their use within your family. Amounts can be transferred from the lower earning spouse to the higher income earner include the age amount, pension income amount, disability amount, and tuition and education amounts. Latter credits can also be transferred from child or grandchild to supporting individual, to a maximum of $5000 per year. It pays to watch net income levels of all family members. Reducing net income of the lower earners – possible with RRSP Contributions – can pay off for higher earners. Remember once again plan before year end to minimize net income of both spouses.
  • Be sure to file a tax return if you have a child age 18 who has little or no income. This will generate a GST rebate in the quarter after the child turns 19, and accumulate RRSP contribution room on actively earned income sources, to assist with maximization of non-refundable tax credit provisions. Remember you can recover missed provisions by filing tax returns in retrospect under CCRA’s Fairness Provisions.
  • Minimize taxes on self employed earnings. Proprietors should be sure to buy office supplies, reward special clients with gifts, pay year end bonuses to staff, and fill up the gas tank before December 31 to reap tax benefits sooner. It may also make sense to acquire new assets at year end to initiate half year rules on capital cost allowances in the current tax year. You’ll have to wait until the spring to recover benefits if taken to January of the next year.
  • Reduce tax withholding on next year’s employment earnings. Refunds are not a good thing, contrary to their popularity! If your average tax refund is $1000 a year or more, that is money that should have been working for you all year long. File Form T1213 if you have deductions that don’t show up on a TD1 Form: for example, RRSP contributions, significant medical expenses, charitable donations, child care or other deductions to get your refund every two weeks instead of at the end of the year. Same principle applies to quarterly installment payments: pay only the correct amount – not one cent more! Remember, you can adjust your installments if you income has dropped significantly from the prior year.
  • File family tax returns on time to avoid late filing charges. The deadline for filing tax returns is April 30 for individuals. For proprietorships it is June 15. Proprietors should stick to filing by midnight April 30 if they owe money, as the interest clock starts ticking on May 1. Remember that the late filing penalty will only kick in if you owe; however there is also a penalty for those who receive refunds and fail to file on time: your money will not be earning any investment income and will in fact become eroded by inflation. It pays to file on time and put your money to work for you!
  • Contribute to a spousal RRSP if your projected income upon retirement will be higher than your spouse’s. This will lead to significantly less tax on your retirement income.
  • Increase your RRSP with a $2,000 over-contribution. Although the over-contribution is not deductible, it compounds tax-free.
  • Twenty percent government grants are given yearly on the first $2,000 contributed towards your RESP, while the beneficiary is under 18 years of age, up to a maximum of $7,200.
  • The higher income spouse should pay household expenses and the lower income spouse should make investments. This ensures that the invested income is taxed at the lower rate.
  • Assigning CPP benefits to the lower earning spouse allows you to split income, provided both are over age 60.
  • You can contribute a spouse RRSP if you turned 69 in the tax year. Provided you have earned income in the previous year or have unused contribution room.
  • Unused tuition and education credits can be transferred to your spouse, parent, or grandparent (up to a maximum of $5,000) it can also be carried forward to be used in subsequent years.
  • Make approved spousal RRSP contributions earlier in the year, instead of later, so it can be drawn a year earlier without attribution.
  • To achieve maximum credit, combine your family’s medical expenses on one return.
  • Self-employed individuals may deduct premiums for drug and dental plans.
  • Interest on student loans qualifies for a tax credit in the current year. It could also be carried forward for up to five years.
  • Individuals can withdraw from their RRSP for full time training or post-secondary education up to $20,000, this must be repaid beginning 60 days after the 5th year of the first withdrawal and over a 10 year period.
  • If your donations total more than $200 to take advantage of the higher tier credits, combine two or more years of charitable donations into one charitable year.

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Telephone Numbers and Links

Here are some numbers that are helpful to have and below are some links you may find helpful.

  • Individual Income Tax Enquiries: 1-800-959-8281
  • Individual Tax Refund Enquiries: 1-800-959-1956
  • Business Enquiries: 1-800-959-5525
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit: 1-800-387-1193
  • GST/HST Credit Enquiries: 1-800-959-1953
  • Forms and Publications: 1-800-959-2221
  • T.I.P.S. – Tax Information Phone Services: 1-800-267-6999



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