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What you should know when filing your tax return this year

Tom DeWolfe is a longtime accountant and has spent his spring every year for more than 50 years filing tax returns.
Tom DeWolfe is a longtime accountant and has spent his spring every year for more than 50 years filing tax returns.

Tom DeWolfe describes himself as an “aging bookkeeper.”

For more than 50 tax seasons he’s been busy preparing and filing taxes for people in Pictou County. Perhaps, it’s not surprising he’s set up with a calculator on his desk this month busily filing taxes.

For years he and his wife Doris ran the business, but after she passed away, chartered accountant Larry MacDonald has assisted DeWolfe.

MacDonald jokes that he was brought in “on a temporary basis” eight years ago.

While it’s a busy time of year, DeWolfe said he enjoys getting to see faithful customers who come back year after year. To him they have become old friends.

“I’ve got a great clientele. I don’t mind telling anybody,” he said.

While there have been changes over the last 50 years, including e-filing which is used almost exclusively now, DeWolfe said it’s not been hard to keep up with.

This year he advises people to take into account that the rural route addresses are no longer being used and they should use their civic address when filing.

He said they’ve already done a lot of returns. Typically people who know they’ll get a refund are quick to file, he said, while those who suspect they owe some are a bit less eager and wait closer to deadline.

While the tax deadline is typically April 31, with it falling on a Sunday people have until May 1 at midnight to file.

He has found the e-file is going particularly quickly this year.

“The turnaround time is really, really good,” he said.

 

Some changes you should know about

Children’s arts amount  – The maximum eligible fees per child (excluding the supplement for children with disabilities) has been reduced to $250. Both will be eliminated for 2017 and later years.

 

Home accessibility expenses – You can claim a maximum of $10,000 for eligible expenses you incurred for work done or goods acquired for an eligible dwelling.

 

Family tax cut – The family tax cut has been eliminated for 2016 and later years.

 

Children’s fitness tax credit  – The maximum eligible fees per child (excluding the supplement for children with disabilities) has been reduced to $500. Both will be eliminated for 2017 and later tax years.

 

Eligible educator school supply tax credit  – If you were an eligible educator, you can claim up to $1,000 for eligible teaching supplies expenses.

 

Interest and investments

Tax-free savings account (TFSA) – The amount you can contribute to your TFSA every year has been reduced to $5,500.

 

Dividend tax credit (DTC) – The rate that applies to “other than eligible dividends” has changed for 2016 and later tax years.

 

Labour-sponsored funds tax credit  – The tax credit for the purchase of shares of provincially or territorially registered labour-sponsored venture capital corporations has been restored to 15 per cent for 2016 and later tax years. The tax credit for the purchase of shares of federally registered labour-sponsored venture capital corporations has decreased to 5 per cent and will be eliminated for 2017 and later tax years.

 

Sale of principal residence – The sale of a principal residence must now be reported, along with any principal residence designation, on Schedule 3. See Schedule 3, Capital Gains (or Losses) in 2016. Under proposed changes, the CRA will be able to accept a late designation in certain circumstances, but a penalty may apply. Go to reporting the sale of your principal residence for individuals (other than trusts) and select question 7.

 

Source: Canada Revenue Agency

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