March (Tax) Madness–3 Reasons To Prepare Early

2KSports Classic: Duke vs Michigan

 

 

When you think of March, some of you will think of sports. This is, of course, the month for March Madness, the NCAA finals. It’s also the tail end of the NBA and NHL seasons, with their playoffs starting in April. With that in mind, taxes may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of this month.

If you’re still an employee, you should have received your T4’s by now. If that’s true, then your hatred of doing taxes is now the only thing stopping you from getting them done.

Yes, I know, you’ve got almost 2 full months (in Canada) to get them done. I understand the desire to put this off for as long as possible, but there are some good reasons to get started right away.

Quicker Return

A lot of people will be waiting until the last possible moment to file their returns. That means that the folks at Revenue Canada will be very busy for those few weeks at the end of April and the beginning of May. Filing your return then is like cashing your paycheque at noon on a Friday…it’s going to be a while before you see any money. Only the hyper-efficient taxpayers are sending them off now, which means the turnaround for your return will be shorter. To make things even quicker, make sure to file electronically and have the return automatically deposited to your bank account. This will save you the extra few days it will take to mail you a cheque.

Time To Prepare If You Owe

If you know you’re going to owe money this year, then it’s essential you prepare in advance. Finding out on April 29th that you need to mail a cheque for $3,000 will cover the strongest of you in a cold sweat. Finding out this week won’t make it any less depressing, but at least you’ll have time to prepare. If you can, put aside some money from each paycheque. If you’re paid bi-weekly, you’ll have up to 5 between now and then. If you know you’re going to have to borrow the money, take this time to shop around for the best rates. You don’t want to get stuck taking a cash advance on your 19.9% credit card to pay that kind of a balance, just because you waited until the last minute.

Find the Right Help

Finally, getting started early will give you enough time to find the right person to help. Maybe last year’s return was simple enough to do on your own, but suddenly you realize you’re in over your head this time. Don’t get caught trying to guess your way through it. Making mistakes on your return could result in an exciting visit from an auditor. Instead, take time to search out someone with experience who can help you maximize your return, or at least minimize your bill. It shouldn’t be too hard {cough contact me /cough} to find someone who can give you the help you need.

Need one final bit of motivation? Get it done this week, and your return should be back in a couple of weeks. That’s plenty of time to go pick up a new TV to watch the Final Four on. Of course, if you use my advice, you’re now obligated to invite me to the party. Just let me know what to bring.