It’s that time of the year again. Tax filing deadlines are coming up fast and there’s one thing we love putting off until the last minute more than anything else: paying our taxes. (Well, that and going to the dentist.)

Despite this tendency, there are many reasons to file your taxes on time. If you are anticipating a refund, you may want to submit your return as quickly as possible.

Even if you don’t file early, there are compelling reasons to get started on your tax preparation as soon as possible. For starters, it provides you the time you need to gather the paperwork and information you’ll need to claim all of your deductions—avoiding the stress of scrambling for receipts at the last minute. Furthermore, if you hire an accountant, he or she will have greater freedom and may be able to begin working on your accounts sooner.

Here are just some of the very good reasons why you should strive to file your tax return as soon as possible.

  1. You won’t have to pay interest or penalties

If you file late and owe money to the government, the CRA will charge you interest and penalties based on the schedule below:

  • The interest on your unpaid taxes begins to accrue the day after the deadline.
  • Penalty interest begins to accrue the day after your filing deadline.
  • Penalties for late filing are 5% of the tax owed, plus 1% for each full month your return is late, up to a maximum of 12 months.
  • Starting May 3, 2022, the CRA will levy late filing penalties and interest on unpaid taxes.

Even if you are unable to pay your owed taxes immediately, you should file your return on time to prevent late-filing penalties and having to pay even more. If you require additional time to pay, you can request it when you file.

  1. You’ll get what’s rightfully yours sooner rather than later.

If you don’t owe any taxes, there will be no penalties or interest if you file late. Nonetheless, you should file your tax return on schedule to guarantee that your benefits continue to be paid.

Many Canadians qualify for tax-free monthly payments including the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and GST/HST credits. The information on your return is used by the CRA to determine your eligibility for these payments. If you do not file your return on time, your payments may be delayed or you may miss out entirely.

Furthermore, the sooner you file, the faster you’ll receive your refund, as well as any credits you and your spouse or dependents are entitled to.

  1. You can protect your refund from identity thieves

The sooner you file, the less time an identity thief has to file in your name and steal your money. This can cause mayhem, especially if the thief claims false deductions, fails to report income or otherwise taints a tax return filed in your name. It might take months to clean up a mess like this.

Tax refund fraud happens more often than you think, and while it’s a problem the CRA is trying hard to address, the system is far from foolproof yet.

You might not realize your personally identifiable information has been stolen until you try to file your tax return and it is rejected as a duplicate. You may be denying someone else the opportunity to exploit your information first if you file on time.

Tax Deadlines

Unless you’re self-employed, the deadline to file your 2021 return is April 30, 2022; however, because this day falls on a Saturday in 2022, you have until May 2, 2022, to file.

The deadline to submit if you’re self-employed is June 15, 2022. Remember that if you owe federal taxes, you must pay them by May 2, 2022.

If you and your spouse are preparing your returns jointly and only one of you is self-employed, you can still file both forms by June 15, 2022, if any outstanding balances are paid by May 2, 2022.

Do you need assistance with your tax return? Not sure if you’ve got it all figured out, or how to handle issues like requesting time to pay back taxes owed? Do you simply want to ensure that you are receiving all of the tax credits to which you are entitled? It’s not too late to contact us and have our tax experts assist you in filing your tax return, as well as offer you strategies for making the process even faster and smoother next year.