It’s tax time again! Learn some of the rules before it’s too late, especially if it's the first time you are filing income tax returns. Income tax returns are forms you fill out and send to the Quebec and federal governments. In the forms, you state the money you earned in the year and give other financial information.
Who has to file tax returns? Are the Quebec and federal rules the same? What is the deadline? What happens if you’re late or you make a mistake?
Quebec and Federal Returns: Are the rules the same?
Most of the basic rules are the same, such as the deadline for filing and your duty to declare your income. But some rules are different, for example, the rules on deductions and tax credits. Deductions are amounts you can deduct from your income. Tax credits are amounts you can deduct from tax you have to pay. You can learn more by visiting the websites of Revenu Québec and the Canada Revenue Agency.
Who Must File Income Tax Returns
Everyone must file tax returns. These people in particular must file tax returns:
- anyone who earned income in 2015 and has to pay income tax
- anyone who has to make payments to the government for public programs, such as the Quebec health insurance plan
Liquidators of estates (executors) have to file income tax returns for the people who died. In some cases, they must also file returns for income earned by the estate.
Benefits of Filing Your Returns
Even if you didn’t earn any income, or you think you don’t have to pay any income tax, it is still a good idea to file your returns.
For example, you can get some government benefits only if you file your income tax returns. This is the case for these benefits:
- the guaranteed income supplement for seniors
- child assistance benefits
Also, you can postpone using some tax credits until a year when you have more income. This is the case for tuition fees.
Deadline: Fines if You File Late
As a general rule, April 30 is the deadline for filing your income tax returns.
This year April 30 is a Saturday, so you have until the following Monday (May 2) to file your returns.
If you file after the deadline, you will have to pay a fine (penalty). The fine is 5% of the income tax you owe plus 1% for each month that passes until you file your returns, up to a maximum of 12 months.
Your Employer’s Responsibility to Give You Your Tax Slips
Your employer must give you your T4 and Relevé 1 slips by the end of February.
Paying for Mistakes
If you make a mistake, the government can claim the amount of tax you really owe. You might also have to pay a fine if you made the mistake on purpose.
You have a duty to report the correct amounts. This is true even if an accountant or specialist prepared the returns for you.