Tackle tax time with the right tools

Tax time doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Having the right tools in your belt will make tax season a little more bearable and knowing how to use them is easier than you think.

Be the pro

Tax software is a great, simple solution for individuals and small businesses who file their own taxes. The software is a dream to use. The step-by-step instructions walk you through finding, transferring and optimizing your credits, including claiming RRSPs, donations, medical expenses and more. When you’re done, just hit send and file your taxes directly with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Intuit Turbo Tax is a software that can help make filing your taxes a less daunting task. Turbo Tax Standard is ideal for individuals, couples or families, while Turbo Tax Home and Business is a good match for claiming personal and self-employment income. If you have investment or income property, look for Turbo Tax Premier. Whatever your needs, there is a software to help make your taxes a breeze.

If you’re digitally inclined, consider the multitude of tax-related apps out there. The beauty of an app is that you can use them anywhere, anytime. Turbo Tax has its own app, but others that you might find useful are MileIQ, Expensify and My Minutes. All are designed to make tax season easier.

A good caluclator is also a lifesaver. We often resort to our simple smartphone calculators, but it’s essential to own a good calculator. A florescent, 12-digit display with solid speed will save your eyes and earn you time. During tax season, your smartphone can’t compete.

Make a clean break

Chances are when you start to go through your files, you’re going to run into some papers that need to be discarded. Whether you have a pile of “to be disposed” or you’re currently creating one, a personal shredder is your new best friend at tax time.

This is also a good time to get rid of some paperwork that you may be holding on to. Look at tax returns older than six years, junk mail with addresses, bank statements, old pay stubs, credit card offers and credit card statements.

Tax season is prime time for identity theft, shredding gives also you peace of mind.

File it under “done”

Once you’ve gone through your files it’s time to get them properly stored for future tax seasons. Think heavy-duty file storage and look for storage that can support letter and legal-size documents. Leaving room to grow and add is always a good idea. Save yourself the tax time headache by looking for file folders that are long-lasting, double-sided, durable and made from 10% post-consumer recycled content. Experiment with colour coding and labelling to easily identify their contents.

There are a lot of tools available to help you get through a stressful tax season. What are some of your favourites? Share them with us in the comments.

Need expert advice? Join the #StaplesTaxTime Q&A with @TurboTaxCanada on Twitter, February 26, 2018 at 3 p.m. ET.