Tax Tips for Seniors from Canada Revenue Agency

When do taxes need to be filed this year?

April 30 is the usual deadline for most people’s tax returns to be submitted. But this year, April 30 falls on a Sunday, so you actually have an extra day to get your taxes done. Your return will still be considered filed on time if you submit it by 11:59 PM on Monday, May 1.
But don’t wait until the last minute! Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and many other benefit amounts are based on information from your tax return. Even Climate Action Incentive Payments and the quarterly GST/HST Credit can’t be calculated unless we have a current tax return on file. So, to make sure that all of your benefits keep coming, it’s best to get your taxes filed as early as possible.

What’s the biggest CRA tax tip you would give people?

Have you ever wondered if the CRA owes you money that you don’t even know about? What happens if a CRA cheque was lost in the mail, was accidentally thrown in the garbage, or even slipped down the side of a couch and was never seen again?
Well, whether it’s a GST credit, a tax refund, or a benefit from many years ago, the CRA keeps track of every cheque that was ever sent to you — and we have a record of all the payments that were never cashed.
We want to reconnect you with these long-lost cheques! So now, you can search for uncashed CRA cheques with just the click of a button. Sign in to your CRA online account and click on the “Uncashed cheques” option on the right side of the Overview page. It will immediately tell you whether there are any cheques that you missed out on – even if they are decades old – and help get them re-issued to you.

Do people need to have a CRA online account to file their taxes?

The CRA wants to interact with you in whichever way is most comfortable for you. If you like to file your taxes with pen and paper, or you prefer to speak to a person on the phone, we’re always here to help.
But if you’re comfortable using online digital services, you should definitely set up your online CRA access, called My Account. In the same way as logging in to your bank’s online portal gives you access to your banking information, logging into your CRA account will give you immediate access to all of your tax forms, upcoming payments, and benefits information.
A CRA account also makes it easy to set up direct deposit, so that any refund or benefits arrive in your bank account faster than ever before. And if you’re filing your taxes yourself, having access to the My Account service will let you auto-fill the details from your slips right into your tax software.

Are there any special tax credits seniors can claim?

Of course there’s the Age Amount that many seniors claim every year, but there’s one pension-related tax deduction that can sometimes be confusing for people.
It’s called Pension income Splitting. If you receive income from certain types of pension and your spouse is in a lower tax bracket, you may be able to use this method to reduce your overall taxes. This option lets seniors split up to 50% of their eligible pension income with their spouse or common-law partner, which can lower the combined tax the couple has to pay.
It’s important to note, though, that OAS and CPP aren’t eligible for pension splitting. Most private pension plans, however, can be split.

Are there any new deductions or credits seniors should know about?

Did you know that you can claim a tax credit for some home renovations, if they help improve the accessibility or safety of your home for a qualifying person? The Home Accessibility Tax Credit allows seniors, or individuals who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, to claim up to $20,000 towards eligible expenses. This amount is double what could be claimed in previous years.
There have also been some changes to the Disability Tax Credit. In addition to a new simplified form, individuals diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes who require life-sustaining therapy will now find it easier to be considered eligible for the credit.

What if people have questions or need help with their taxes?

The CRA has lots of information on our website at – but if you need to talk to a person, we’re always happy to help over the phone! In fact, the CRA’s phone lines are now open in the evening, until 8 PM on weekdays and from 9 to 5 on Saturdays. If you’re not a big fan of our hold music, you can even log onto the CRA website to see how long the current wait time is before you choose a time to contact us.
For people with modest incomes and simple tax situations, there are also free tax clinics available where volunteers and community organizations offer tax filing help. Many organizations host in-person clinics or drop-off options, but if an in-person tax clinic isn’t available in your community, don’t worry! A tax clinic volunteer may be able to do your taxes virtually by phone or video conference.

There’s lots of new scams out there all the time, with people pretending to be the CRA. How can you tell whether it’s a scam or the real CRA calling?

Always be cautious when you receive an unexpected call, text, instant message, or email claiming to be from the CRA. If it sounds suspicious, it probably is! Trust your gut.
Scammers often pose as CRA employees and try to trick Canadians into revealing personal financial information or paying real money towards fake debts. These scams are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated; it can be tough to stay on top them. But there are definitely a few red flags that will let you know for sure that a message is from a scammer and not a real CRA employee.
Is the person who contacted you being aggressive or threatening you with arrest? Are they pressuring you to make a payment immediately? Asking you to pay using gift cards, cryptocurrency, or e-Transfer? These are all 100% tell-tale signs of a scam.
The CRA doesn’t use text messages or instant messages to start a conversation with you about your taxes, benefits, or account. We will also never send personal information (e.g. tax refund amounts, balances owing) over text, IM, or email. If one of these messages includes a specific dollar figure, it’s a scam. When in doubt – delete, delete, delete!
If you receive an unexpected message from the CRA and you’re being asked to click on a link, don’t click it — it’s not us!
But what if you’re still unsure whether the real CRA in trying to contact you? Well, first of all, don’t give any personal information and don’t click on any links. If it’s a call, you can hang up; if it’s a text, IM, or email, don’t reply. Instead, reach out to the CRA through our publicly-available phone numbers and we can verify whether we’re trying to get in touch with you. You can also investigate the situation on your online CRA account.
Of course, there are some situations where the CRA may genuinely need to reach out to you by phone, but it’s always okay to take the time to verify that you’re not talking to a scammer. If this means hanging up and calling the CRA back on our general phone number, that’s okay!
You can always check the most recent letters or correspondence you received from the CRA or you can log into your online CRA account to verify any refunds or balances owing.

2 thoughts on “Tax Tips for Seniors from Canada Revenue Agency”

  1. Amanda Vielhauer

    Hi there,
    I am a fourth year nursing student doing my community placement at Luther Tower. I am interested in finding out information for the seniors I work with. I have heard about tax rebates for seniors with macular degeneration, I am wondering if you can tell me more about that and the process one goes through in order to receive that. I am also wondering about other tax rebates for the senior population.

    1. Hello Amanda,
      This is a link from the Disability Tax Credit section of the Government of Canada website;
      Canada Revenue Agency provides presentations on the Disability Tax Credit if you wished to contact them
      Canada Revenue Agency / Government of Canada Tel. : 1-866-837-1531

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