If you’ve lost your tax receipts or didn’t save them, filing taxes late may seem reasonable but it can cause you more harm than good.
The 2017-2018 tax deadline is April 30 for personal taxes and June 15 for self-employed workers (i.e. sole proprietors and contractors). If you find yourself in a situation where you have no tax receipts, here’s what you need to know:
Filing Taxes Late Won’t Solve the Problem.
The first thing to know is that filing taxes late won’t make the problem go away — in fact, just the opposite. If you miss the tax filing deadline, it means CRA can tack on more fees and penalties, plus if you ever miss it again in the future you’ll be penalized even more. And think about it from a larger perspective — if filing your taxes before the deadline feels scary, missing the deadline is only going to make it feel worse and no one needs that added stress in their lives.
Claims That Need Receipts
Generally, you need to have receipts to make a tax claim to Canada Revenue Agency. Many assume a bank or credit card statement will be enough, but if you’re audited, it often isn’t. In most cases, you need the original receipt. While you don’t need the original receipts to file a claim, CRA can request that you provide them. There are some exceptions, but in most cases receipts are required if an audit happens.
How to Move Forward
If you’re missing receipts, don’t panic. A first step you can take is to try to retrace your steps.
- Start off by reviewing bank statements to determine which payments you may be able to obtain receipts for.
- Go through your email and look for electronic receipts associated to purchases that may have been emailed to you.
- If you can figure out what receipts you’re missing, and the dates you made the purchases, you may be able to contact the sellers directly and get copies of your receipts.
Second, consult a financial professional to help you determine what receipts you absolutely need and what is an exception. The financial professionals at Fuller Landau Debt Solutions, for example, offer free consultations.
Third, make sure a system is in place for the future, so you can easily and efficiently track your tax receipts. Whether it’s choosing computer-based accounting software for small business owners or setting aside a specific file folder for your receipts, staying on top of those papers in the future will save you a lot of stress at tax time and set you up for a bigger return. There are even apps where you can snap photos of your receipts, organize them, and send them to yourself.
Need tax help so you’re not caught filing taxes late? Fuller Landau Debt Solutions can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call (416) 927-7200.