Written by Meaghan Brugha, Eva’s Financial Literacy Toolkit Creator

This is the seventh and final post in a series that will use the advice from the Eva’s Financial Literacy Kit to share tips on budgeting, spending, debt and credit. This post offers some sage advice about why you should file your taxes and what you need to make the process as painless as possible.

I find the metaphors used for taxes are damaging to their reputation. Nothing is sure in life except death and taxes – isn’t that how it goes?

Personally, I’ve always found this statement slightly disturbing. First of all, why aren’t we sure about more things? There are a lot of certainties in life that I can think of right now, and I wouldn’t say that taxation really raises itself to the top of my list. With the equation with mortality, no wonder we’ve terrified youth about doing their taxes. With this attitude, we’re  educating youth on taxes in all the wrong ways.

Now, hold onto your hats because I’m going to say something quite bold: taxes are just not that bad! Yes, sure they can be annoying but so are most things that we also have to do. We gaffaw at the price of a cappuccino, but don’t even fully understand where large portions of our paycheques go to or what sales tax means for our country. It’s crucial for our population to understand, at a minimum, the tax basics here in Canada and resources which exist for Canadian taxpayers. We need to encourage ourselves and youth to use these resources, to self-educate and to keep atop of changing rules, breaks and credits. We owe it to ourselves!

Meaghan’s 5 Tax Tips:

1) Keep ALL important papers! You do not want to be in a situation where you’ve thrown out important documents and then need them – it can be a lengthy process to get everything back. This is especially important for self-employed people. Find an organizing system that works for you!

2) Take a tax basics course! Or research your province’s or municipal tax here: www.taxes.ca

3) If you decide to take out an RRSP, make sure it’s the right decision for you and you understand the tax benefits fully.

4) DIY: Turbotax, Ufile, H&R Block – the options are out there if you need some extra assistance. Try it out! It may be easier than you think.

5) Do your taxes on time! Don’t procrastinate. Pick a date (earlier the better) and stick to it.

Check out our full Financial Literacy Toolkit here: www.evasfinancialkit.ca

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