In honour of Financial Literacy month, and amid an unusual year for many people’s finances, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has introduces a series of “tax tips” for Canadians.
In a press release shared on November 27, the CRA acknowledged that it has been a “challenging” year for many Canadians.
However, the agency stressed the importance of “financial literacy,” which means having the “knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.”
This is particularly important right now, the CRA explains, during these “times of uncertainty.”
Their advice includes tips related to savings accounts, government benefits, getting tax help and avoiding fraud.
With that in mind, here's what you need to know:
Want to lean more about how taxes work? Our website has info on the basics of the Canadian tax system, why you pay… https://t.co/jVFBicxlM6— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency)1606493707.0
Do your research & ask for help
According to the CRA “knowledge is power,” which means it’s worth doing your research when it comes to decisions that will affect your money.
Whether you’re thinking about opening a savings account, or making a mega-expensive purchase, the agency recommends asking questions, comparing different options, reading the fine print and always getting a second opinion.
“Exploring all of your options is always less expensive than learning through experience,” reads their advice.
In addition to this, the CRA suggests asking for help if you’re confused or unsure about your finances.
For example, if you’re struggling or confused about paying your taxes, you can actually get free tax help from volunteers at tax preparation clinics all over Canada.
Need to repay #CERB? Make sure you do so before December 31st to avoid impacts to your T4. Here’s how:… https://t.co/HjYtymLRRu— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency)1606763709.0
Consider your benefits and credits
It’s been an unusual year, which means some Canadians may have claimed COVID-19 benefits from the federal government.
The agency recommends checking and double-checking you were eligible for any money you claimed, as you could end up paying it back if you weren’t.
If you think you incorrectly claimed a benefit like the CERB, you can pay it back online before the end of the year.
“It's best to repay it by December 31st, 2020 so your tax slip is correct,” explains the CRA.
There are no penalties for accidentally claiming funds you weren’t eligible for.
If you correctly claimed one of Canada's COVID-19 benefit programs, it’s worth remembering that these payments are still taxable.
Did you get a call asking for your passport number? Last year, about 20,000 Canadians just like you were victims of… https://t.co/X1GjR88xml— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency)1606496711.0
Be wary of fraud and tax scams
One of the most important pieces of advice relates to fraud and tax scams.
The CRA reminds Canadians that official government agencies would never use text messaging or social media to contact taxpayers about tax-related issues.
Additionally, the government would never use these platforms to ask for personal information, to request money transfers or prepaid gift cards or to ask for information about your passport, health card or driver’s license.
“If you get a call or email that sounds like a scam, it probably is!” they added.
The more you know, eh?