Perhaps Hog Town should change its name to Slog Town. According to Intuit Canada, Toronto has topped the list of Canadian cities that house the most last-minute tax filers.
It's a dubious honour, and the title comes for the third year in a row, says Intuit, maker of tax-preparation software. First runner up is Calgary, followed by Vancouver (No. 3), Edmonton (No. 4), Ottawa (No. 5), Mississauga, Ont. (No. 6), Winnipeg (No. 7), Victoria (No. 8), Montreal (No. 9) and Surrey, B.C. (No. 10).
Cleo Hamel, senior tax pro and national spokesperson for H&R Block, knows all about tax-filing procrastinators. She joined us to offer last-minute tips on income tax filing.
Ms. Hamel joined H&R Block in January, 2000, as a tax associate and was a tax course instructor, an assistant district manager and district manager before taking her current position in 2006. Prior to joining H&R Block, she was an independent financial adviser, with a broker's license, in the Calgary area.
For all the tips, discussions and advice you'll need
Here are Ms. Hamel's Top 5 reasons to procrastinate at tax time:
1. You know you owe Just because you will be writing a cheque to the Receiver General on April 30th does not mean you should wait to prepare your return. Getting the documents together and your T1 Form completed early means no pressure when it comes to the deadline. You can even file your return early and then send payment later.
2. Outstanding debt means no refund If you fall behind on your student loan payments or child support payments, the debt can be registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. It means that any tax refund or benefits like the GST/HST payment are designated to pay off the loan. Just because you don't get the money doesn't mean you shouldn't file. You have to pay off your student debt eventually.
3. Dog ate your slips You moved two times during 2009 so your T4s slips and other information receipts have gone astray or you haven't found them in your new place. Or your employer did not send a T4. You can track down replacement slips or get duplicates from other sources. Under Canada's self assessment system, you are required to provide an accurate estimate of the income you earned in 2009. You need to find your paperwork.
4. You don't owe money Your tax refund is money you have already paid in taxes, so not filing means you are letting the government keep your money interest free. If you want your money to work for you, it should be invested where it earns some interest at least at a better rate than the CRA offers ... which is zero.
5. Weather is too nice For many parts of the country, it has been a beautiful spring but the deadline for filing remains April 30. Though taxes and rainy days seem to go well together, you still have to file when the weather is nice.