My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting Organized to File Your 2013 Personal Tax Return

Following my six-part Retirement series, I have no energy left to put together any original thoughts. So, I am going to provide you a summary of the Twitter Tax Tips I posted last year to help you get organized for tax season. I will provide a similar summary for tax preparation tips in the next week or so.

Organizing Tips

1. Make a checklist of all the tax slips you expect to receive this year and follow-up any missing slips, no matter how small. This will help you avoid a 20% penalty when the CRA matches your tax slips next fall.

2. Medical expenses must evidence payment. Have the pharmacy, dentist, orthodontist, chiropractor, etc. provide you with a yearly summary receipt so you don't have to find the twenty different chiropractor receipts you had during 2013.

3. For each donation you made online, ensure you receive or request an official tax receipt. The online confirmations are not official receipts. To clarify; when you donate online, you receive a payment confirmation receipt (this confirmation receipt is not an official receipt) and often, a notice that the official receipt will be sent separately or must be downloaded. Many clients provide me the payment confirmation receipts and do not download the official receipt or request such.

4. If you incur expenses to earn employment income, request a signed Form T2200 from your employer.

5. University/College students must print their T2202a tuition forms issued by their school to claim or transfer tuition credits. Note: University students are notorious for not printing out their T2202a tuition forms and holding up the filing of their parent’s tax returns. These forms are sent by the Universities and Colleges to their student’s portals. Please remind, or in my case, harass your kids to print out the form and email it to you.

6. Ensure your children’s activity receipts are marked paid in full to claim fitness/arts credits.

7. Obtain capital loss, HBP, RRSP & TFSA limit info from your online CRA acct. or your 2012 tax assessment. Note: It is very important to ensure you have updated carry forward information for your capital losses. You want to ensure you claim the maximum amount of capital losses carryforward against any current year gains (it was a good year for the stock market, hopefully you had large gains, whether realized or not).

8. If you have self-employment or rental income, summarize the income & expenses now, so you’re not rushed and miss claiming expenses.

9. If you moved to a new work location in 2013 >40km away, gather & summarize your receipts to support the claim. Note: If you moved to a new job this year, it is very important to gather all your receipts for any expenses you incurred and summarize as required by the CRA. See form T1-M to understand what expenses are eligible and how the CRA wants these expenses aggregated.

10. If you use an accountant, send your information to them as early as possible, they will be very appreciative and have more time to review your return.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.


  1. All very good points. The T2202A from the school can be fixed, by having your kids portal ID and password as well. Important also to check for:

    1) T-4A's if your child got a bursary
    2) Bus fees for Mass Transit stuff, most university fees pay for that too.

    1. Hey BCM

      Two other excellent often missed points. You are more than another pretty face :)

  2. Hi Mark,

    Your point about getting students to forward T2202A forms struck home with me. An added annoyance is that these forms don't actually say what the size of the deduction is. In past years, it has been the tuition plus $465 times the number of full-time months (at least federally). But I have to get my kids to sign part of the T2202A saying how much they sign over to me. But I don't know this amount until I investigate or they do their taxes. It would be so much less of a hassle for me if the T2202A just said the total deduction amount federally and provincially.

    1. Hi Michael

      My only guess is that those numbers sometimes change, so saves having to change actual form, but very true.