Tax season is upon us.
As you get ready to crunch the numbers or maybe pay someone else to do the math, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Jessica Harquail, a partner at Givens LLP Chartered Professional Accountants, might be one of the best people to talk to when it comes to filing your tax returns.
To make sure you are able to get the most out of your tax return, she provided three things to be on the lookout for.
1. Managing CERB repayments
Many Canadians who jumped on CERB payments during the COVID pandemic are now finding themselves in a position where they have to repay what they received.
"CERB was something everyone jumped on and claimed," said Harquail. "In 2022, quite a few individuals found out that they were not eligible and had to repay it."
"So, a few individuals have either repaid it in 2022 by reducing their refund that year or had to actually make some payments to Canada Revenue Agency."
Eligible recipients of CERB would have received a tax slip in 2021 or 2022 in order to claim it as income and pay taxes on it.
Ineligible recipients would have received another slip that indicates a deduction in the 2022 tax year.
Harquail says you have a few options with this.
"You can either deduct it in the 2022 tax year, which would have been the year it was repaid, or you can go back to the 2020 tax year, the year that you received it, and deduct income from that year."
Harquail has some advice for people going through this process.
"What I would suggest is that you deduct that CERB repayment from the year in which you had the highest income because the deduction is likely going to be a little bit better."
"You can also split it between years if you wanted to go about it that way."
2. Home office deductions
COVID threw a wrench into how people work. One of the most impactful changes was the large migration of people working at home.
A tax credit is available for people who work from home.
"As long as you work from home more than 50 per cent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks you are able to claim the flat rate amount, which is a tax credit of $500."
That's the easy way to go about things, but Harquail says there is another option for those who want to be more detailed.
"The detailed method, although there is a little bit more work that goes into it because you actually have to break out what your interest payments on your mortgage are and how much you have for utility payments."
"It's more work, but it is going to be a better tax credit that you're receiving back because likely those expenses are going to be higher."
3. Claiming medical and travel insurance
Lastly, Harquail wants to remind people that they can claim some of their medical and travel expenses.
"All of the medical benefits that you paid out of pocket can be claimed," said Harquail. "Anything from dental, orthodontics, vision."
Travel insurance is also included in this.
"If you had to purchase travel insurance because you had to leave the country or if you had to leave the country because you needed medical care that wasn't available in Canada, you can claim your medical travel."
Harquail also said there is a daily per diem for food that can be claimed during those travels. A claim can also be made for the travel of a companion who came to care for you.
"In addition, one that often gets forgotten is if you pay your own benefits through work or something through Blue Cross you are able to claim that as well as a medical tax credit, which is quite nice."