How to submit your income taxes on time

Canada's 2012 income tax filing deadline is Tuesday, April 30. Will you make it? If not, here is Sandra's "worst case scenario" guide.

Photo: emyerson/iStockphoto

It’s down to the wire this year. Despite our best intentions, Matt and I will be putting the finishing touches on our income tax returns this weekend. Yes, that’s right: the last weekend before Tuesday’s deadline.

But you know what happens to best intentions: Life gets in the way. Both Matt and I have been busy at work, and we’ve both been away on travel for our jobs this month. (As a matter of fact, Matt is still away — we’re on Day 11 of not seeing each other in real life.)

And I’ve been writing about personal finance for long enough to know that we’re not alone. According to Turbo Tax Canada, my fellow Torontonians hold the record for largest proportion of citizens who file on the very last day possible. (Runners-up on the wait-till-the-last-minute list are, in order, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa.)

Thankfully, Matt’s and my returns are done; we only need to review it, then mail it to the CRA office for our area. If you haven’t started yet, though, you’re probably wondering if you should burn the midnight oil to file by midnight on Tuesday. Here are some things to consider before adding to your parental sleep deprivation:

1. Rushing increases your risk of making a mistake. The good news is that if you do mess up, you can make a correction by filing a T1 Adjustment Request Form, by writing a letter to the CRA informing them of the error and correction, or by logging into your My Account profile with the CRA online.

2. Being late is really only a problem if you owe money. The CRA minds less (and won’t ding you for late fees) if you file a late return that indicates you have a tax refund coming. However, if you owe taxes, starting May 1 you’ll be charged daily interest on the amount you owe, plus interest on the penalty charge for filing late (click here for full details).

3. Help is available. Affordably priced tax-filing software such as Turbo Tax, TaxTron and UFile make the task faster and easier. Plus, if you file your return electronically, and you are owed a refund, you’ll get it much faster than when you paper-file.

So, spill: Have you already filed your 2012 income tax return, or will you be scrambling to get it done this weekend, like me?

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