Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taxes: check

After catching up on my finances last night, I completed the first draft of my taxes tonight (ending around the same time... one of these days I'll get sleep).

I was pissed off to find out a rather significant RSP contribution wasn't processed by my bank prior to the deadline (and I don't know if they ever even received it!).

Claiming Ontario tax credit for renting is a lot more convoluted this year than it was previously. On top of the Ontario Credits form, you have to fill out the ON-BEN form at the back of the book (which isn't colour-coded pink like the other Ontario forms) whose goal is essentially to write the same numbers, without any arithmetic manipulation, that you then write again in the Ontario Credits form. (there's no addition of the numbers). On the Ontario Credits form, you then have to complete the "occupancy cost", "energy component" (for "long term care home and home energy costs on a reserve"), and "property tax component", even if, for example, you didn't pay property tax or live on a reserve.

It was sort of similar last year, but much more straightforward. Instead of being on two sheets at opposite ends of the forms book, it was all included in the Ontario Credits form, and in the "property tax credit" section it clearly asked you to enter "Rent paid in Ontario in 2009", so you wouldn't have to wonder, as I did, I didn't pay property tax; do I still have to fill out the "property tax component"?. And even though the ON-BEN form is now on a separate page, it still only gives you two lines to fill out residence information. (Not that I've had to use more than one for many years, but I've bounced around in the past).

I guess it's the bottom line that matters. I'm getting a refund, and it's not too much smaller than what I got last year, despite making more money and having fewer credits to claim. It'd have been even bigger if I tended to donate money to groups with charitable tax status, instead of contributing time and money mostly to groups that are too small (efficient; less red tape) or advocacy-oriented to qualify for status.

And with my finances and taxes done, and their respective piles of paper cleared from atop my desk, I can move on to the next pile of things to file.

- RG>

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