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Tax return: Do it yourself

Canadians are mixed on the question: 54% of them use the services of professionals (accountant or preparer) while the others do it themselves. How do you know if you should turn to a tax pro or take charge?

Doing your own taxes, is it a good idea? Is it worth it, for the sake of economy, to file its tax return via affordable software? The answer depends of course on your situation and your knowledge in this area!

Is your situation complex?

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If your tax situation is complex, the services of a professional are in order. Depending on the complexity of your tax situation, you may need to hire a professional. If you are self-employed, if you have rental income, if you have received capital gains or if your personal situation is special (inheritance, divorce, bankruptcy, illness, etc.) you should knock on the door of an accountant or a seasoned preparer.

On the other hand, if your situation is simple (you are single with only one income for example), you could try without hesitation with a software. Software on the market costs between $ 20 and $ 50 and is very similar. Good Finance provides you with the list of authorized software for filing the personal income tax return .

Mistakes that are expensive!

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A warning is necessary for those wishing to produce their statement in solo. Since software is not perfect and the law is constantly changing, it’s easy to let an error or oversight slip into your tax return.

An error can be expensive if it leads to an incorrect statement and interest or penalties are applied. In addition, a simple oversight or miscalculation could lead to a non-affected credit or tax refund. It is possible to miss a refund of hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

And if I went bankrupt?

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If you went bankrupt during the year, your trustee will have filed a pre-bankruptcy tax return (for the period from January 1 to the date of your bankruptcy). In general, it is usually your responsibility to have a post-bankruptcy tax return filed (for the period from the date of your bankruptcy to December 31). If this is your case, it is strongly recommended to do business with an accountant with experience in this area. If you do not know, you can contact your trustee in bankruptcy for references.

So, what to do?

Of course, the decision remains yours. If you feel confident, your situation is relatively simple and you may have some experience, making your own statement could save you a small amount. On the other hand, if you hesitate, it may be a sign that you should hand over your statement to an expert. The price difference between the software and the accountant is not astronomical so it’s probably better to do business with an expert!

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