What’s NEW for the 2016 Income Tax Season?

With a new year, comes new rules & updates for the 2016 income tax season. From important changes to services and credits, to changes in the amounts that can be claimed for individual taxpayers for the 2016 tax-filing season - You may want to sharpen your pencil and make a note or two for yourself, while you take a moment and read over these quick facts of importance before filing your taxes this year.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has changed the notice of assessment. It will be a new, simpler format providing the most important information about your assessment on the very first page. This enhancement was made to improve correspondence with tax-filing individuals. Don’t forget, online tax records are as official as paper records and although it's an online forum - It's never a bad idea to print off a hard copy for your own records.

The CRA’s "auto-fill my return" service has been made available through (some) certified tax software. This service lets you automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return to save you time along the way. To use this “Auto-fill” service, you need to fully register for “My Account” so that all of your details can be properly filled in for you.

Online mail is now available and is a fast, easy and secure way to manage your tax correspondence. You can get statements (such as your notice of assessment) online in your "My Account", as opposed to having it sent to you by mail. If you would like to register for online mail, all you need to do is provide the CRA with an email address on your income tax and benefit return. You can also register directly online at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/myaccount. You will also see that new correspondence like benefit statements will be added to this system later this year.

Updates have been made to the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). For the 2015 tax year, under the UCCB, families will receive $160 per month for each child under the age of 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 – 17.

This year, Canadians claiming the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will be able to file their T1 return online, regardless of whether or not they have submitted their Form T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate to the CRA for that tax year.

As of January 1, 2015, The Children's Fitness Credit is a refundable tax credit. It’s available to families with children enrolled in a prescribed program of physical activity. In the past, this credit was non-refundable.

As of the 2015 tax year, the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits have increased by $1,000. The maximum amounts that can be claimed are now $8,000 for children under 7, $5,000 for kids aged 7 to 16, and $11,000 for children eligible for the DTC.

There's an app for that! Get your tax information anytime on your mobile device with the new MyCRA mobile app. In October 2015, new features were added to the MyCRA mobile app such as personalized benefit payment information, enhanced tax return status', and Canada child tax benefit application status'. Starting in February 2016, you’ll also be able to update your address, manage your online mail with CRA and sign up for direct deposit.

We recommend keeping this list of enhancements handy this tax season, and enjoying the benefits and conveniences added to the 2016 tax-filing season for individual taxpayers. If you would like to know if you qualify for any of the tax credits or others you may have heard about, please give us a call at 705-728-6469. We'll happily take a look into it for you.

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