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Be sure to reflect life changes when filing tax returns
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By Knowledge Bureau  | Thursday, April 26, 2018



By Evelyn Jacks

The April 30 tax filing deadline is just a few days away. Before you click “send” on Netfile, make sure you’ve covered all the bases. One of the most important ones is to ensure your return reflects life changes. If you experienced any of these in 2017, double-check your returns, as they could impact the size of your refund or subject you to an audit. Read on to learn what these events are, and how you should handle them – before it’s too late!

Marital status

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has very clear rules on what constitutes a “couple” when filing your tax return. If you are married, it’s usually pretty straightforward. But if you’re not and are living together, are you eligible for any tax breaks under a common-law designation? You are considered common-law in the following circumstances:

* If you live together continuously for 12 months or more (separations of less than 90 days don’t count).

* If you have a child together (by birth or adoption), you are considered common-law as soon as you move in together.

* If you have custody and control over your child, and he or she is wholly dependent on your partner for support.

If you meet any one of these criteria, you must inform CRA when you become common-law, and file Form RC65 – Marital Status Change.

Whether you are living together common-law or are married, you can pool receipts such as medical expenses, charitable donations, and public transit passes to maximize your credits and pay less tax.

It is also important to know that you can be required to repay any benefits you received because you reported your marital status incorrectly. Government benefits are based on your household income.

Moving expenses

If you moved to a new home for work or to run a business at a new location, or you moved to be a student in full-time attendance in a post-secondary program, you may be eligible to claim moving expenses.

To qualify, you must have moved at least 40 kilometres closer to your new work or school. Some of the moving expenses that you can claim are:

* Transportation and storage costs for household items, including boats and trailers.

* Travel expenses, including vehicle expenses, meals and accommodation to move you and your household members and your belongings to your new home.

* Temporary living expenses up to a maximum of 15 days.

* Cost of cancelling the lease for your old home.

* Incidental costs related to your move, such as changing your address on legal documents (but not with Canada Post), replacing driver’s licenses and utility disconnections and hook-ups.

* Cost to maintain your old home when vacant, up to a maximum of $5,000.

* Cost of selling your old home or buying your new home (if you sold your old home because of the move).

Some of the costs that cannot be claimed include repairs to make your home saleable, travel expenses for house-hunting trips, expenses to clean or repair a rented house, and mortgage default insurance.

Additional educational resources

Evelyn Jacks’ new book, Essential Tax Facts, can help guide you through the rest of 2017’s tax season in addressing tax issues like these – especially if you are a late filer. More importantly, this is the first book on the market that reflects tax provisions for your 2018 filings. Get your copy today to help you prepare audit-proof returns and claim everything you’re entitled to, this year and next. Knowledge Bureau’s Introduction to Personal Tax Preparation certificate course is another great resource if you typically prepare your own returns, or do so for family and friends.

© 2018 The Knowledge Bureau, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Evelyn Jacks is the founder and President of Knowledge Bureau, which brings continuing financial education in the multiple areas of specialization to advisors and their clients. She is the author of 52 books on tax and wealth planning. This article originally appeared in the Knowledge Bureau Report. Follow Evelyn Jacks on Twitter @EvelynJacks. Visit her blog at

Evelyn Jacks’ latest book, NEW ESSENTIAL TAX FACTS: How to Make the Right Tax Moves and Be Audit-Proof, Too is available now.

Notes and Disclaimer

The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion of the writer. No guarantee of investment performance is made or implied. It is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice.

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