It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s tax return!

Most people at this time of year are caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, sales, gifts and the overall holiday spirit. But once all the decorations are put away and all the New Year’s wishes have been wished, we enter into a new calendar year with tax filing season not that far away.
 
In order to avoid the stress and last minute rush of trying to gather all your information to meet the filing deadline, you can use these tips to help you start planning ahead of time for next year’s upcoming tax filing season:
 
Gather information when “life” happens. Some life events, such as a change in marital status, the birth of a child, buying a home, starting a business, or moving to a different country can change the type of return you need to file and/or amount of taxes you owe. When such an event occurs during the year, you may want to consider discussing with your tax preparer ahead of tax filing season to see if there is any impact on you as a result of the life event that occurred. For example, with the birth of a child you could then be able to apply for child benefits. With the starting of a business you may need to apply for a GST or Business number. When moving to a different country, there are things that you need to do before you depart from Canada and/or the U.S. to minimize your taxes.
 
Keep records safe. Put your prior year tax returns with all supporting documents in a safe place. That way if you ever need to refer to your return, you’ll know exactly where to find it instead of spending countless hours searching. You may need to provide a copy of your return if you apply for a loan, or you may receive a time-sensitive request from the CRA or the IRS or other taxing authority regarding your return. You can also use this tip as a guide when gathering information for next year’s tax return.
 
Keep records organized and together. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the point above. To avoid the search for misplaced records, be sure that you and your family put all tax records and receipts in the same place throughout the year. This will also help ensure that you have all receipts and information to be able to maximize your deductions that you claim, thereby reducing your taxes. In addition, organized records also assist your tax preparer in being able to more efficiently prepare your tax return. If you’re not sure what information you need to gather and/or save, just ask your tax preparer and they would be happy to assist you.
 
If you are shopping for a tax preparer, start now. If you already have a tax preparer that you have been working with from year to year and the working relationship is a good one, that’s great! If you are in the market to hire a tax preparer for the first time, or if you are looking to establish a relationship with a new tax preparer, now is the time to start searching. You want to find a tax preparer that is going to work well with you and prepare your returns accurately and on time. Even though you hire a tax preparer, you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of your return. Stay tuned for our tips on what to look for when shopping around for a tax preparer!
 
Keep up with changes. Each and every year there are changes made to the tax regulations, not only in Canada or the U.S., but around the world. There are a number of ways to stay informed on tax law changes that could affect you in the upcoming tax filing season. You could request to be kept informed by your tax preparer. You could also keep an eye on the websites or subscribe to e-newsletters of the CRA or the IRS or other taxing authorities.
 
We at Quon & Associates can assist you with your Canadian and/or U.S. tax filing needs. Call us or visit our website for more information. 403-250-5111

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