A tax specialist offers advice as the deadline approaches

A national tax expert offers tax advice as the May 2 tax deadline approaches.

UFile’s Gerry Vittoratos says this tax season, what’s old is new again.

He says that in the 2020 tax season, the government introduced a platform for home office spending as a result of the pandemic. The government has implemented the temporary flat rate method, with a deduction of $2 per day that can be claimed.

Vittoratos says the program has been extended through the 2021 tax season. They have also improved the maximum claim, up to 25 business days for a $500 deduction.

In addition, he says, the Canada workers benefit has also been enhanced.

He says most official slips can be picked up directly from the CRA. The only things that cannot be retrieved are receipts for items such as medical expenses and charitable donations, as these are not official slips.

Vittoratos says there are benefits to filing your tax returns early.

He says the first benefit is that you receive your refund sooner, allowing you to pay off debt or invest faster. Second, the benefits you are entitled to may be time-limited, which means that if you are late, you could delay paying those benefits.

Vittoratos says that even if you are liable, be sure to file your return on time because the penalties imposed by the CRA can be “quite severe”.

It says that the minute you are late, penalties are applied on top of your balance owing, 5% of your balance, plus daily interest charges.

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