In 1945, the Canadian tax return package was only 3 pages.
Today, the T1 General is 4 pages, plus there’s a 4 page worksheet, 13 schedules and depending on your province of residence, an additional 2 to 5 pages for provincial taxes and credits.
That’s up to 26 pages in the 2013 tax return package! Not to mention the 66 page General Income Tax and Benefit Guide!
With this new complexity CRA encourages all tax payers to use a software package to file a tax return.
However, the CRA also provides a disclaimer that the taxpayer is still responsibility for programming, tax legislation or calculations errors made by the tax software.
If a programming error affects the calculation of income tax and contributions payable you could be faced with interest and penalties as a result of the error.
So, you still need to thoroughly review your tax return and you need to be knowledgeable on tax laws.
Do you have the time to become knowledgeable and keep up-to-date on the ever changing tax laws?
5 Signs it’s Time to Hire a Tax Specialist
- You have more than just employment income.
If all you have is employment income, the basic tax software package is all you need.
If you have investments with capital gains or dividends, rental properties, or own a small business, a tax specialist can ensure you’re receiving all the deductions you’re entitled to and paying the least amount of tax.
- You want a more strategic plan for your taxes.
Some of the more advanced tax planning software may include some scenario component, but that is typically limited to one component of your taxes.
A tax specialist can look at your tax return, your spouse’s and dependant’s tax returns and your business as a whole to provide a tax plan that ensures you’re timing deductions and credits for the most benefit on the current year and in future tax years.
- You want a live person to talk to.
Many software packages today include wizards that walk you through the whole process, but if you’re not sure of something or have a question, you’re limited to the support you can receive.
A person on the other end of the phone providing support for your product can only provide general advice and doesn’t have access to your records or know your specific situation.
A tax specialist can sit down with you and get to know you and your business to ensure your tax return is tailored to your specific situation and you’re receiving all the deductions and grants you’re entitled to.
- You want to avoid errors.
It may be cheaper to buy tax software and do your return yourself, but if you’re missing deductions or worse, making errors that leave you open to interest and penalties, you’re not going to be any further ahead.
A tax specialist keeps current on tax rulings and legislation and many larger organizations have a quality control process to double and triple check returns for errors and omissions.
- You don’t want to waste time doing your taxes.
The do-it-yourself approach takes time. There’s time sorting your records and a learning curve for the software.
Last year, the average American taxpayer spent 23 hours to prepare and file a tax return. The time for the average Canadian tax return is probably comparable. Realize that if you have other than employment income, your time spent will be longer.
This is lost time where you’re not earning income and not spending quality time with your family.
Is it time for you to hire a tax specialist?
The deadline to file your taxes is April 30. If you or your spouse is self-employed, you have until June 16 to file your 2013 tax return.
Note, even though the self-employed filing deadline is June 16, if you have taxes owing, they must be paid by April 30 to avoid interest and penalties.
Call 1-800-265-1002 or email email@example.com today.