If your income is low and you need help preparing your income tax return, check into the community volunteer income tax preparation clinics run by the Canada Revenue Agency. These clinics are staffed by trained volunteers to help low-income Canadians with straightforward income tax returns. The clinics are free and run at locations across the country.
Remember, even if you don't have to pay any income taxes, by filing an income tax return you can claim certain benefits, such as the GST/HST credit, Canada Child Tax Benefit payments, or Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance benefits.
However, in 2014 Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins in most parts of Canada at 2:00 am local time on Sunday March 9. In Newfoundland and Labrador it begins at 12:01 am. The province of Saskatchewan does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except the Battle River area which includes the city of Lloydminster.
The rule for changing your clocks is "spring forward, fall back," so be sure to set your clocks ahead an hour. If that's difficult to keep in mind, just remember that you lose an hour of sleep in the spring.
The names and abbreviations of Canadian time zones also change until we go back to standard time on the first Sunday in November: Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), Central Daylight Time (CDT), Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), and Newfoundland Daylight Time (NDT).
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If you're not sure which ones to expect, or what exactly they report, there's information on the most common ones in T4s and Other Canadian Income Tax Slips. Click through on the links for details on each one and to see samples.
If you don't receive a tax information slip when you should, you are responsible for asking your employer, bank, or the issuer of the slip for a copy. Even if you are missing a slip, make sure to file your income tax return by the April 30 deadline so you don't risk penalties for filing your income taxes late. If you have to file without an information slip, add a note to your paper return giving the name and address of the organization which is supposed to issue the slip, the type of income, and what you have done to try and get the slip. Include any supporting information and documentation you have about the amount of income and related deductions and claims. If you're filing your taxes electronically, be sure to keep that information handy in case the CRA asks to see it.
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More on Canadian Income Taxes
Filing Your Canadian Income Taxes - The Basics
Where to Get a Canadian Income Tax Package
NETFILE - Filing Your Income Taxes Online
How to Check on Your Income Tax Refund
More About Banks in Canada
Canadian Bank Branch Locators
ATMs and Bank Machines in Canada
If you haven't looked at your income taxes yet, Filing Your Canadian Income Taxes - The Basics has quick information to help you get started.
Most Canadian residents and some international and non-residents should file a Canadian income tax return for last year by April 30. Even if you don't owe taxes, you may be required to pay back an overpayment from a government program, such as Employment Insurance. In some cases, filing an income tax return is the only way you can claim certain government benefits, like the GST/HST Credit or the Guaranteed Income Supplement under the Old Age Security Program.
Photo: Courtesy Canada Revenue AgencyMore on Canadian Income Taxes:
Where to Get a Canadian Income Tax Package
Ways to File Your Canadian Income Taxes
Access Your Personal Income Tax Information Online
If you haven't already made a contribution to your RRSP for the 2013 income tax year, there's still time. The deadline is Monday, March 3, 2014.
RRSPs - the Great Canadian Tax Break provides the fundamentals on RRSPs. If you're not sure how much you're allowed to contribute to your RRSP for the 2013 tax year, here's how to quickly find your RRSP contribution limit.
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Canada Post has begun its five-year plan to phase out all home mail delivery in Canada. It has announced the first 11 communities that will lose door-to-door delivery in the fall of 2014. They say that only a third of Canadian addresses get door-to-door delivery now, but that's still five million households. You won't be affected if you get mail delivered to an apartment lobby, condo, seniors residence or to a rural mailbox. Some businesses with large volumes of mail will also not be affected.
Canada Post has been working on redesigning community mailboxes to make the compartments bigger and more secure, to make them safer from the elements and to make them more accessible to people with mobility issues. They are still working on it. They are also consulting with municipalities about placement, and it's likely that major urban centres will be the last to be converted as they try to find suitable locations.
Photo: © Flickr user MSVGMore About Canadian Postal Services Stamp Prices Go up in 2014
Postal Codes in Canada
Postal Abbreviations of Provinces
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start.
1. Not everyone can use NETFILE, so check the restrictions ahead of time.
2. Be sure to pick the level of software package that fits your tax situation. For example, you might need a different version of the software if you have RRSPs to report, or rental or investment income.
4. Read the NETFILE security tips.
Remember, if you get frustrated or feel uncomfortable filing your taxes online, you can always do them the old-fashioned way. Get an income tax package, complete it by hand and send it by regular mail.
Photo: File Your Taxes Online
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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was quick off the mark this week as Parliament came back from a six-week recess. Accepting the fact that the Senate was going to continue to be an issue, he had consulted some experts and listened to a lot of Canadians in his travels around the country, and worked with staff to come up with creative ideas for tackling some of the Senate problems that were so distracting last year. He honed in on two issues - partisanship and patronage - and came up with unique solutions that don't require Constitutional amendments. It's too early to tell how well his ideas will work out, but first reactions are that they don't look like they'll do much harm. Read Justin Trudeau Moves on Senate Reform and see what you think.
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