Changes from Canada Revenue Agency to note in 2019

Whether you outsource your tax preparation or do it yourself, it is important to keep up with the yearly changes that impact what you can claim as a legitimate expense.

According to Canada Revenue Agency (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html), there are a number of changes you need to be aware of this April as you prepare your 2018 tax returns.

One of the areas we are receiving a lot of questions about is something called the Climate Action Incentive (CAI) payment.
If you live in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or New Brunswick, this will impact you.

You will have to complete a new Schedule 14 that will be included with your T1 package in those provinces.

Claim the amounts you may be entitled to based on your family composition, and indicate the amount on line 449 of your income tax
and benefit return.

This CAI payment will initially reduce any balance owing and it may create or increase your refund.

A 10 percent CAI supplement is available to residents of small and rural communities who live outside a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) as defined by Statistics Canada.

Change in allowable medical expenses

If you incur expenses related to service animals who are specially trained to perform specific tasks for a patient with a severe mental impairment that helps the patient cope with the impairment, you can claim these through a change in the allowable Medical Expense Tax Credit.

Eligible expenses you can claim paid in 2018 include the cost of the animal, the care and maintenance of the animal (food and veterinary care), reasonable travel expenses paid for the patient to attend a school, institution or other facility that trains in the handling of these animals, and reasonable board and lodging expenses paid for the patient’s full-time attendance at a school, institution, or other facility that trains in the handling of these animals.

New Services and Ways to Pay

The Canada Revenue also has a new app, MyCRA, which will allow you to view transactions and pay the balance of any taxes owing.

You can view balances and pay online with your Visa Debit, Debit MasterCard or Interac Online debit card, and by pre-authorized debit card.
You can also pay your taxes using this app at any Canada Post outlet for a fee by generating a quick response (QR) code.

Moving with the times, the CRA also set up a new system of email notifications two months ago. The agency merged Online mail and Account Alerts notifications and launched a better email notification service.

You have to sign up for the service, and once you do, you are able to receive an email notification when eligible correspondence is available to view in MyAccount and MyCRA mobile web app or when there are important changes made to your account, such as an address or direct deposit update.

Some enhanced services offered

The CRA has also made a few smaller changes that will make it a little easier to do business with them.

These include:
Modernized telephone service – When you call the CRA now, you will receive an estimated wait time to speak with an agent.

You can decide to wait in the queue, call back later, or use their self-serve options.

They are now also using call recording to improve accuracy and a skills-based routing system that should allow you to get to the right agent quickly.

ReFILE tax software – If you are filing using tax software, the CRA’s ReFILE service will let you change your tax return after you receive notice of assessment.

Redesign of My Account – In the fall of 2018 the CRA launched a redesign of MyAccount that allows you to quickly view your tax and benefit information and easily update your personal information.

Certified professional bookkeeper and certified tax specialist Elena Ivanova is managing director of Piligrim Accounting Inc., a national accounting and tax preparation service based in Richmond Hill, Ont. You can reach her at elena @ piligrim-accounting.com.

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