There is often some confusion around what you do and do not need to provide when someone is doing your taxes for you. To make it simpler for yourself and the tax preparer, I am going to give you some ideas as to what you don’t need and hopefully it will save you and your tax preparer some precious time.
Here is a list of the things you don’t need to provide to your accountant when they are preparing your personal tax return:
- GST Credit statement – If you receive a GST cheque or deposit from the government, this is not an item that is taxable, so you don’t need to provide it.
- Provincial Health Care deduction limit – Some provinces have a program whereby after a certain amount of medical expenses are reached, the province will cover the rest. This is not something used for preparing your tax return.
- Massage receipts – Although people may get massages for medical reasons, at least for now, the government does not allow massage therapist receipts to be claimed as a medical expense. You also cannot claim beauty products even if purchased from a dermatologist.
- School expenses – There is no need to include school parking fees, textbook fees, etc. Just provide your tax preparer with the T2202A slip that your school will send you. The textbook portion is calculated using tax software and no receipts are necessary.
- Medical expenses from prior years – If you go by the calendar year for your medical expenses, then there is no need to bring in medical expense receipts from prior years as they cannot be claimed. Here’s a hint: Even if your medical expense was incurred in a prior year, it gets claimed in the year it was actually paid.
- Tax slips from prior years – Go through all your tax slips and make sure they all have the current year on them. Any from prior years should be stored with prior year tax return information. If you provide tax slips from prior years it is a recipe for error.
- Donation receipts without their charitable registry number clearly on them. Merely providing a letter of thanks or acknowledgement is not sufficient if you want to claim your charitable donations. Make sure the receipt is for the current year, has a charity number, and shows the amount clearly. If it doesn’t, then there’s no need to include it.
- Duplicate donation receipts. Another common recipe for error is to cut up the donation receipt pages and then include all of them separately. It’s better if you just provide one copy or simply staple all duplicate copies to the original.
- Childcare Fitness and Arts credits receipts without children’s names on them. If you have more than one child, it is always wise to include names of the children on the receipts so that your preparer knows who took what.
- A mess of documents. If you want to ensure that your taxes are prepared correctly, organize your documents by slips, medical expenses, donations, children’s credits, etc. Don’t just hand your tax preparer a big bag full of disorganized chaos. Remember, you are most likely paying your tax preparer, so the easier you make it for them, the less they will charge you.
Follow these tips and you will ensure that your taxes will be prepared efficiently and correctly.