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3 Tax Filing Changes that Everyone Should Know

Recent events around the world have caused many changes affecting Canadians, and taxes are no exception. Read below for three changes that will affect how you file income taxes for tax year 2019.

Change #1 – Deadline to file taxes is now June 1, 2020

The last day to file your taxes 2019 income taxes in Canada has now been extended to June 1, 2020 and payments aren’t due until September.

Sometimes people say that if you have a low income (or even no earned income), you don’t need to file an income tax return, but this is one of the most important benefit applications you can complete!

When you file your annual income tax form, the federal and provincial governments can determine if you should receive benefits like the Canada Worker Benefit, the GST credit, the Canada Child Benefit or the Alberta Child and Family Benefit. Even though the time to complete your taxes has been extended, it’s a good idea to start gathering your tax slips and prepare your forms for filing, now. If you receive a tax refund, the extra money can help with the added stresses on your budget during these times.

If you do end up owing money this year, you can wait until September 2020 to make your payment. Don’t worry, no interest or penalties will accumulate during this period. You can also make arrangements with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to pay in installments.

Click here to read more about these and other changes to tax filing for this year.

Change #2 – Get help with your taxes online and via phone, not in person

Help is still available to get your taxes filed. However, it may be harder to find in-person help.

Fortunately, some agencies that have offered free tax clinics in the past are now ready to help people via phone or email. Some of the options in Calgary are:

As well, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) still has their phone lines open to assist with your tax questions, for free. Keep reading to find the most common phone numbers you can call for assistance.

You can also view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online by using the secure My Account portal.

Phone numbers to get tax help:

1-855-330-3305  Call this number to order 2019 tax packages (be ready to provide your Social Insurance Number)

1-866-474-8272 – Use this number to check balances on your tax account

1-800-267-6999 – Use the automated Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) line to:

  • Request a Proof of Income statement or a Remittance Voucher
  • Find out information about your available Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) deductions and contribution room
  • Personalize information about benefits like the GST/HST credit and Canada Child Benefit including whether you are eligible, how much you could receive as well as the dates you can expect to receive them.
  • Check the status, refund amount,  and expected payment date of your 2019 tax return after you file
  • Click here for more information on TIPS

1-800-959-8281 – Call this number to speak with a CRA agent who can help you:

  • Get a tax form or publication
  • Update your address, marital status, and/or your name
  • Set up direct deposit or change bank account information
  • Get answers to questions about your personal income tax file or if you have issues filing for the first time
  • Access online services such as My Account, NETFILE and Represent a Client or family member
  • Get a security code for My Account including if you are locked out of your online account
  • Get a copy of your notice of assessment from previous years
  • Set up installment payments
  • Get information on Trusts, Registered Retirement Savings plan (RRSP), Home Buyers Plan (HBP) etc.

1-800-959-2809 Call this number for assistance with:

  • Benefits for Alberta residents including the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC), Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) and Alberta Climate Leadership Adjustment Rebate (ACLAR)

1-800-959-1956 – Call this automated number to:

  • Check the status, refund amount,  and expected payment date of your 2019 tax return after you file

1-888-863-8657 – Call this number to discuss payment arrangements if you can’t pay on time.

  • Remember, the deadline to pay has been extended until September 2020

You can find the full list of CRA contact numbers here.

Free Software for Tax Filing on Your Own
You can file your own taxes by downloading a free, or pay what you can tax software, like Simple Tax or Studio Tax.  Simply follow the prompts and enter the information from your T4 & T5 slips into the program. Missing some of your tax forms? Using these certified software options will give you access to Auto-fill My Return service. This is a new feature that automatically fills in parts of your return with information that the CRA has available to them as far back as tax year 2016.

When you are finished, submit your tax file online using Netfile and you’re done!

Pre-approved people with low or fixed incomes should have received a letter from CRA in February with instructions on filing your taxes by using the automated File My Return phone service. If you have questions about this service can call 1-800-959-8281.

Change #3 – Some benefits have changed and new ones are available. 

You may have heard of the Climate Action Incentive Payment, or wondered what happened to the Working Income Tax Benefit. Both the federal and provincial governments have made several changes to tax credits and other benefits that people can receive after they file their taxes. Some of these changes include:

Climate Action Incentive Payment

The Climate Action Incentive Payment (CAI) is new for Albertans, and the amount of the incentive depends on your family size. For example, a family of four could receive $888. When filing online, you will be asked if you want to claim this credit. If you are filing by mail, you will receive the necessary form in your 2019 tax package. The federal CIA replaces the Alberta Climate Leadership Adjustment Rebate (ACLAR) that was canceled by the Government of Alberta last year.

Canada Child Benefit 

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment to help your family with the costs of raising children. If you have children under the age of 18, you may be eligible for the CCB. Use this online calculator to estimate how much your payments may be.

If you have been receiving the CCB, the Government of Canada will be sending an additional one-time boost to your May 2020 payment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta Child and Family Benefit

New in 2020, the Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB) brings together the Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit under a single program. The ACFB will include a base amount for all eligible families and a working component for families with a net income below $61,000. Eligibility requirements will change as will the payment amounts with families most in need receiving a boost.

Goods and Services Tax Credit

The Goods and Services Tax credit is a tax-free payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes. It is sent out four times a year. Use this calculator to find out the amounts you may be eligible for.

If you already receive the GST tax credit, the Government of Canada will be sending an additional one-time emergency payment in early May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada Worker Benefit

The Canada Worker Benefit replaced the Working Income Tax Benefit in 2019. It provides tax relief for eligible low-income individuals and families who are in the workforce. Whether you are filing online, or using a paper return, be sure to look for and fill out a form called  “Schedule 6 – Canada Worker Benefit” in your 2019 tax package.

This is just a small sample of benefits and tax credits you can access once your taxes are up-to-date. To find out about all of the benefits and programs you can access, check out the Government of Canada’s Benefits Finder.

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