Money Matters

What you need to know about CRA forms

Business people working late at computers in office

In Canada, you have to fill out and turn in your Canadian Revenue Agency income tax forms by the end of April. You would be wise to investigate what paperwork you need long before staring down the deadline. Here is some basic information about CRA forms that could help you prepare your taxes with plenty of time to spare:

Choose the right form for you

The first thing you must do is decide which CRA form or forms are right for you. As an individual, you will need to fill out a TD1 Personal Tax Credits Return. If you own a business, there a few different resources you will need.

Small business owners who are the sole proprietor of their organization can fill out Form T2125: Statement of Business or Professional Activities. If your business is a corporation, you’ll need a T2. Any company that hires employees must provide the government with a T2200 Declaration of Conditions of Employment.

It’s important you discover which tax forms are necessary for you early, because some filing options have unique dates. For example, the usual deadline for income tax is April 30, but self-employed Canadian citizens may file by June 15 as long as they pay the due balance from that year by April 30 deadline.

There’s more than one way to fill out forms

You don’t have to constantly scratch out mistakes on a physical form; most people prefer to do their taxes on their computer. The Canadian government provides an online option for filing most forms. If you want an Internet CRA form, you need to request it from your province or territory by the end of the tax year.

If you want to do your taxes on your personal laptop but not in a single online session, you can download the proper forms with CRA-approved software. Canada One said there are numerous free software programs people with income below a certain threshold can obtain. You can check government websites for a list of certified software options and see if you qualify for free download.

There are other specialty forms you can obtain. The CRA provides customizable forms for businesses that complete large numbers of documents. As a business owner, you may be able to fill out customized income tax returns, summary forms or schedules. Those with vision problems could also order forms in large print, braille or audio format.

You might need help

Once you get a handle on which forms you need and how to obtain them, you have to be ready for changes. Canadian tax laws are constantly evolving so the CRA forms you used last year might look a little different or you might need new paperwork.

You can keep up with new tax regulations by joining a free tax preparation class. Businesses and civic organizations often provide free seminars to help the public stay on top of changes and tips for better filing.

If you are a business owner you may need personalized help to make sure you file every form correctly and you don’t miss out on the breaks new regulations provide. You could explore the possibility of working with a professional accountant or business software program, like Sage 50 Accounting, that tracks daily finances against all CRA form demands.