Myth #1 – Filing your income taxes is difficult and expensive.
There are ways you can get your taxes done for free. Many non-profit organization across Calgary offer free tax clinics to people living on low incomes. Typically, to qualify for services at a free tax clinic, your annual income can’t exceed:
- $30,000 for single individuals.
- $40,000 for couples.
- $35,000 for adults with one child (with $2,500 added for each additional dependent).
Some local non-profits providing free tax clinics this year include: Aspen, CIWA, Centre for Newcomers, Sunrise Resource Centre, CUPS, 1000 Voices, Women’s Centre, Carya, First Lutheran Church and Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre.
You can also try filing your own taxes by downloading Studio Tax, a free tax preparation software. Simply follow the prompts and enter the information from your T4 & T5 slips into the program. When you are finished, simply submit your tax file using Netfile and you’re done!
Myth #2 – I won’t get a refund.
Many people worry that they will owe taxes and simply avoid the situation all together. In 2014, a whopping 58% of Canadians received a refund and the average refund was $1696! That means you also have a good chance of receiving money back from the government this year. However, if you do end up owing money this year, you can make arrangements with the CRA to pay in installments. You can also let your employer know that you need more taxes taken off this year so you don’t end up owing again next year.
Myth #3 – There are no benefits to filing taxes
This is the biggest myth of them all. Filing your taxes opens up a world of government benefits and programs that can only get claimed if your taxes are up to date. This is true even if you made $0 in 2015. Some of these benefits include:
- GST/HST tax credits
- Federal and provincial child tax benefits like the new Alberta Child Benefit, Canadian Child Tax Benefit, the Canada Learning Bond and the Universal Child Care Benefit.
- Federal and provincial benefits for seniors like Alberta Seniors Benefit program, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Security.
- Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), a refundable tax credit for low income individuals and families. Use the Schedule 6 form in your tax software to find out if you’re eligible.
- Municipal programs like City of Calgary’s Fair Entry System
That is just a small sample of benefits and programs 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 Benefits Navigator.
Happy tax season!