Tax season is upon us, which means that it's time to put our big boy pants on and act like adults. If that means nothing to you, don't worry: I know it can be really confusing. Whether it's your first time filing a tax return, or if you've done it before and are still confused, this post is for you: I'm gonna walk you through the why, when, and how of filing your tax return.

Oh, and I know that finance is boring. But, oh look! A cat!

Thank me later.

The Why

Taxes are like a mandatory GoFundMe: you give money to both the provincial and the federal government because you believe that it's going to a good cause that will pay off in the future. The government does a lot with your taxes, from providing healthcare to (sort of) fixing roads.

Not to mention that there are penalties for not paying taxes: other than some circumstances out of your control (like losing your job and not being able to pay your taxes), the Canada Revenue Agency will charge interest, and may even redirect your paychecks to itself. In rare cases, you can even go to jail.

Puppy break time:

The When

The Canada Revenue Agency started accepting electornic tax returns on Monday. The deadline to file for most people is April 30, though if you are self-employed you have until June 15 (or June 17 if you are sending in a hard-copy). However, any amount owed must be paid by April 30.

In Quebec, you have to file two tax returns: a federal one and a provincial one. Luckily, the two are very similar, and the deadlines are the same.

The How: Federal Taxes

The Government of Canada's website is pretty comprehensive when it comes to taxes: feel free to browse their different pages here.

Bored? Take a dance break.

In essence, the steps are the following:

  1. Step 1: Provide and update your personal information

  2. Step 2: Report your income

  3. Step 3: Claim your deductions, tax credits and expenses

You can do this on a hard copy, which you can find on the CRA's website, or through one of these approved online filing methods. Doing your taxes online is much quicker.

Oh look: something cute.

In order to file your taxes, you will need your tax "slips," which are commonly provided by your employer. If you don't have a tax slip, or you don't know which slips you need, contact your employer.

Once you've filed, you will know exactly how much you owe the government, or how much the government owes you. Payments must be made to the government by April 30 to avoid interest rates.

Payouts will be received as soon as 8 days after you file your claim. Yay, money!

The How: Provincial Taxes

The steps are pretty much the same, but with a few differences.

The first difference is where you file. Again, you can choose to do it online or on paper, but you'll be referring to Revenu Quebec for guidance. And, you'll have to send your hard copy to a different address. 

The other main difference is the tax slips. You'll be using separate tax slips for both your federal and your provincial taxes. You can find our which slips you need by combing through the tax return file. You can find specific information for your case by navigating the well-organized Revenu Quebec website here.

See? Adulting isn't so scary! Now go and file your taxes! I believe in you!

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