6 things to remember when filing taxes this year

This is going to be an unusual tax filing season for many of us. COVID-19 has created many complications in our working lives that are taxing our patience and affecting our taxes.

According to search term data from Semrush, perplexed taxpayers are hunting for information on things like work from home tax deductions and CRA form T2200 (the form your employer provides to certify that you had to pay employment expenses; T2200S is a shorter version for use if you worked from home during the pandemic).

Yet with a few simple steps, you can make filing season less of a pain than it would ordinarily be. Plus, there’s even free software, approved by the CRA, to help.

Things to remember

First, some tips and some information you may or may not have received.

  1. The COVID-19 emergency and recovery benefits are TAXABLE. You will receive a T4A slip for those amounts. You have to report them as income and pay tax on them.
  2. We got a reprieve on filing and payment dates last year, but for the 2020 taxes, the filing date and the date for any payments due is back to April 30.
  3. Home office expenses for employees are deductible, subject to certain rules. The CRA has a good explanation here.
  4. There are new rules for employers, too – check them out here.
  5. Keep your receipts for anything you claim as a deduction. The CRA may request them if it needs to verify the deduction.
  6. If you plan to file online, only use NETFILE-certified software to do your return. If you use something else, it won’t be accepted.

NETFILE certified software

There’s both free and paid software available for filing your taxes. It’s important to remember that the programs must be recertified every year, so you can’t sneak through with last year’s version. And you are only allowed to file up to 20 returns per computer or online account.

The full, up-to-date list of NETFILE certified software is available on the CRA site, with details of the platforms they run on and the tax years they’re good for, and includes links to all of the products. The CRA also offers a detailed page about each product, explaining its limitations and restrictions (for example, some may not support all provincial tax returns). Here’s a selection of approved products, with links to the CRA’s detail page for each.

Free software

The free (or pay what you can) options that are NETFILE certified include:

CloudTax for multiple platforms

StudioTax for multiple platforms

WealthSimple Tax for multiple platforms

H&R Block Online

GenuTax Standard for Windows

TurboTax Free for multiple platforms

TaxTron for Web

Paid software

And here are some paid options (some of them provide free offerings if your income is below a certain threshold):

UFile for multiple platforms

TurboTax for multiple platforms

TaxFreeway for multiple platforms

TaxTron for multiple platforms

MyTaxExpress for multiple platforms

AdvTax online

WebTax4U.ca online

EachTax online

StudioTax for multiple platforms

FutureTax for Windows

eFile Canadian Tax Return for multiple platforms

Tax Chopper Online

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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