New tax return features new tax credits

“Take-charge” taxpayers preparing for their annual income-tax filing will want to take a look at this year’s T1 Income Tax and Benefits return, available online.

The 2012 personal tax return provides a basic checklist of what you will need for the annual tax-filing process. As the gathering of documentation is often the biggest frustration of tax season, it is best to get on it quickly. This year, the T1 return includes an indexing factor of 2.8% on the federal tax brackets and many of the non-refundable personal amounts.

Tax preparers will want to pay special attention to Schedule 5, Amounts for Spouse or Common Law Partner and Dependants. This features the new $2,000 Family Caregiver Amount, which is a special supplement for those who give care to someone who is dependent because of a mental or physical impairment. For the first time, this form will be required when making a claim for the Spousal Amount. If you use software to file, the basic calculations will be automatically entered on Schedule 5.

If you are making a claim under the Family Caregiver Amount, you will need a statement from your medical practitioner indicating when the dependant’s impairment began and how long it is expected to last. So, if you are eligible for the extra claim because of a dependant, now is a good time to see your medical practitioner and request the required documentation.

April 30, that annual tax-filing deadline, does come around quickly. So, do a preliminary tax preparation for each family member now — in preparation for the slips and other documents you will receive shortly so you can file your 2012 tax return.

It’s Your Money.  Your Life. Being organized means understanding the tax changes you’ll need to embrace in this tax-filing year. The new Family Caregiver Amount is but one of many tax credits and deductions you could miss if you are not organized. That could cost you money that you could apply to credit card bills or employ in investment opportunities.

Evelyn Jacks is author of Jacks on Tax, Your Do-it-Yourself Guide to Filing Taxes Online and Essential Tax Facts, Secrets and Strategies for Take-Charge People, both available at www.knowledgebureau.com and leading bookstores.

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