Angella Dykstra: She Makes Cents


5 Quick Ways to Make Filing Your Taxes Less Painful

Don't Let Taxes Keep You Up At Night

Here in our great nation of Canada, our tax filing deadline for the previous year's income is April 30th. (If you're self-employed, you have until June 15th to file, but any taxes you owe are still due on April 30th, so get everything filed by April 30th to avoid interest and penalties.)

Filing your tax return can be an overwhelming matter, especially if numbers just aren't your thing. I'm a CPA, CA, and I can attest to the fact that taxes can be hard. But! Filing them is not an impossible feat, and I'm here to tell you how.

Five Things You Can Deduct If You're Self Employed

1. Meet with an accountant. If all you have is a T4, you can get away with filing your own taxes, but if you're self-employed, or have a rental property, or hold investments, or all of the above and more, you'll want to meet with a professional. Yes, it costs money, but proper tax planning can save you many dollars (and CRA-related headaches) over the years. This is one of those "worth it in the long run" costs. Budget for it throughout the year if necessary.

2. Figure out what you have to include in your income. I wrote this to help a short while ago: Top Five Tax Tips For Bloggers and Freelancers. Take a few minutes to read and make sure you include everything - this stuff adds up!

3. Deduct as much as you're allowed. Here are five common tax deductions that self-employed people often don't know about. Again - things accumulate quickly, so know ALL your entitlements.

4. Know what credits you can claim. There are a number of ways that you can use your kids as tax deductions, which is something to remember when you're having one of those days where you have to remind yourself that you had three kids on purpose. (Or maybe it's just me who has those days.) Start fresh for next year and keep a large envelope for deductible receipts and purchases. Even if you've forgotten this year, use tax time as a reminder to get your ducks in a row for next tax season - it's worth it!

5. Buy a tax program. If you have a handle on what needs to be done, there's no need to kick it old school with paper forms and calculators. I use Turbo Tax personally and it has a handy dandy wizard that walks you through the entire process. And, many online programs allow you fast access to your refund through eFile.

Okay, class. Any questions for the accountant in the house?