When it comes to doing taxes, does the early bird get the worm? The deadline to file your personal taxes in Canada for 2023 is April 30, 2024. For self-employed individuals, the filing deadline is June 17, 2024 (but all taxes owed are still due by April 30).
If you tend to procrastinate each year, there are many reasons you’ll want to file your taxes sooner than later. In this blog, you’ll learn:
- The advantages of submitting before the tax deadline
- Tips on filing your taxes early
- Situations when you can’t file early
- How early can you file your taxes in 2024?
Advantages of submitting before the tax deadline
Avoid the stress of last-minute tax prep
We get it, tax time can be stressful — especially when trying to meet a deadline. To avoid the last-minute rush of gathering documents and figuring out your finances, we recommend starting to plan as soon as possible. Filing your taxes is a lot easier if you have your documents organized.
See our blog, 17 small business documents to keep safe this year, to learn which documents are most important.
Receive your tax refund sooner
Filing your tax return before the deadline is essential to keeping your credit and benefit payments on track, such as Canada Child Benefit, GST credit and provincial credits. But it also means you can receive your refund sooner, if applicable.
Early filing speeds up the payment of refunds, so you have money for paying debt or making investments. And, if you owe money, early calculations give you plenty of time to save up to pay your tax bill and avoid any late penalties and interest.
Have more time to correct errors
If you’ve filed early and made a mistake on your tax return, you can request the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) amend and reassess the return to include the income omitted or deductions missed.
As your small business accountant, we’re here to ensure your taxes are filed without errors and accurately reflect your financial situation. And if the CRA does come calling, we’ll take care of all their calls for you!
Protect yourself against identity theft
An unexpected benefit of early filing is protection against scammers. If someone gains access to your Social Security number, they have everything needed to file a tax return in your name and pocket your tax refund.
To protect yourself against identity theft, keep your Social Security number private and file your taxes early before someone else potentially does on your behalf.
Tips on filing your taxes early
CRA has some helpful tips on getting ready to file your 2023 tax return.
Register for a CRA My Account
A CRA My Account is the easiest, fastest and most secure way to manage and submit all your important tax documents.
Gather all your expenses and receipts
You’ll want to organize your small business expenses and receipts to take advantage of any available write-offs (and make your bookkeeper one happy camper!).
What’s the best way to organize receipts for small businesses? Watch our video and find out!
Don’t leave any deductions on the table
As a small business owner, knowing what you can write off can save you money — and every receipt adds up. More importantly, it can limit your risk for a CRA audit. The general rule of thumb is if the expense was incurred to earn business income, it’s a deductible expense.
When you can’t file early
While you may be eager to file as soon as possible, many of the required income slips may not be sent until the end of February. Donation receipts may not arrive until March.
Ensure you have all tax slips available before you submit your tax return (the second week of March should be a safe bet). The reason for waiting is to avoid any omissions in your return, which will require refiling your taxes. You may also risk getting assessed for unclaimed revenue, which could carry penalties.
How early can you file your taxes in Canada in 2024?
The CRA will open NETFILE and ReFILE services on Feb. 19, 2024. You’ll be able to file your tax return online starting then.
If you use other tax software programs, they typically update their software for new tax laws and rebates, so you may be unable to file until March 1, 2024. Be sure to check before you file!
Learn how to file taxes in Alberta on our blog.
With True North Accounting, you’re in good hands with our Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) professionals, who have extensive knowledge of the changing tax laws. Let us help you with deductions, write-offs, expenses, tax returns, GST filing and more.
Read more about Personal Tax topics that may be helpful to you and your small business.