Are you in need of a vacation? Perhaps when you peek at your bank balance you can’t exactly justify jetting off on a holiday. Every year I personally rely on getting a tax return so that I can plan another adventure. Past adventures have taken me to the sandy shores of Jamaica, to relax pool side in Dominican Republic and to eat tasty Mexican food in Tulum. If tax time stresses you out, or maybe you’ve never thought of using your return for travel – this post is for you.
1. Know Your Deadline
The most important thing about tax time is realizing that you have up until April 30th to file your return each year. The return is based off of the last year of employment. Everyone needs to file a tax return. If you are too young to do it, often your parents will do it for you. This is the government’s way of balancing the books at the end of the fiscal year. They charge an amount of tax and try to make sure it is the right amount based on your lifestyle. If you overpaid throughout the year, you get a tax return. If on the other hand your taxes were not deducted yet, you will unfortunately have to pay them now. The best way to look at tax time is that if you know your deadline is April 30th, you can work your way back using effective time management to get organized and ensure your taxes are submitted on time.
2. Pay An Expert
Tax time doesn’t have to be stressful. Figuring out what forms you need to collect can be simplified by meeting with a professional and getting them to do all the heavy lifting. Depending on the simplicity of your taxes, they can be completed in about an hour if you make an appointment. The year Chris and I moved across Canada we hired a professional to process all of our moving expenses, to make sure it was done right the first time. The downside? Be ready to shell out some cash to cover the tax preparation costs. However, you can choose the option of paying for the service directly from your return funds, so you won’t notice too much anyways.
3. Do It Yourself
With all the DIY tax preparation software programs out there, this may be your best bet. Some of the options are even FREE. Gone are the days where you have to spend hours filling in your tax forms by hand. Unless of course you want to go old school, this option is still available.
4. Don’t Forget The Extras
When filing your taxes, be sure you have all your forms ready. This includes any T4 employment slips for a very basic return. To maximize your return, check to see if you can include:
- Tuition expenses
- Costs from dependents and child care
- Yearly dues or association fees
- Work from home expenses (rent, heat, hydro etc.)
- Charity Donations
All of these items and more can be included in a tax return. Before filing, check to see what other forms and information you need to collect, so that your taxes can be completed in a timely fashion. Often most forms are available after December 31st, since you are always filing for the previous year. This means you can get organized and only be waiting for that T4 to show up in mid-February to March, and if you have RRSP’s you’ll need to wait until the first 60 days are complete at the end of March.
RRSP’s are a great way to balance out your tax return. If you have calculated that you need to pay taxes back to the government, it is a great idea to invest some money into your retirement fund to balance things out. A financial advisor can help find this magic number or you can browse around on the internet for some great free resources that will do the job.
The best part of tax returns is that if you make a mistake you can file for a reassessment. Thank goodness for this, as I’m continually learning and have left various items off for the last couple years. You have up to 7 years to make changes to any prior tax returns. Another option is to check if there is a carry forward balance for items such as tuition which if you don’t maximize one year, you can take advantage of in years to come.
6. Wait Patiently
To get that super juicy (hopefully) tax return, it can show up in a couple ways. If you’ve used a tax preparation service, you might be able to get the return on the spot. If you filed it yourself, it should show up in 5-20 business days. Depending on how close you get to April, when everyone else is filing as well, it might be a little longer. If you are still a user of snail mail, it could be quite awhile before you see your return.
7. Book That Trip
So the moment has arrived, you have your tax return! Was it as large as you hoped for? Will you be jet setting around the world? Sometimes your return can be a bit of a letdown. I know I personally received returns that left a little to be desired, and I couldn’t afford a cartload of groceries let alone a trip.
If you do fall short on your tax return, or are just waiting for it to show up, it doesn’t have to mean you can’t travel. Another option is to consider financing options such as Loan and Go. They have a wealth of resources for everyone to make that travel dream a reality, no matter what your tax or financial situation.
Like This? PIN IT!
Latest posts by Carolynne (see all)
- On Life, Love & Loss: Is Long-Term #Travel Selfish? - May 12, 2017
- Tax Time Tips: Maximize Your Return So You Can Travel! - April 27, 2017
- Read It Or Leave It Part 7: A House In The Sky - April 17, 2017