Remember back to the simple days when you had a whopping ONE T4 to file? Oh those days seem so long ago, don’t they?

Now life as a parent is anything but simple when it comes to taxes. Not only do we have receipts coming out our ears, but we also need to keep them out of sight for fear of inspiring a paper maché party.

Then you sit down after the bedtime routine is finished to sort, add, subtract, and translate jargon. What could go wrong?

Tax season is exhausting and downright stressful for most parents. But it doesn’t have to be!

What would it be like if you felt a sense of calm when you opened your files to get ready for your tax return?

This is a task that comes around as regularly as your birthday, so if you start treating it that way it will get easier. Think of this as an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, find areas to change that will improve your future, and, if all goes well, celebrate with a gift to yourself when you receive a tax refund.

Your mindset makes a huge difference in the experience you have during tax season. But happy thoughts aren’t going to file your return for you, so I suggest to my clients that they plan three, one-hour sessions in a quiet area with a cup of tea and a checklist and follow this simple routine:

1st session: Gather the slips and receipts from the checklist. Be prepared with sticky notes and paper clips.

2nd session: Start to tally either on paper or excel to add up the receipts in each category.

3rd session: Enter the amounts into the software if you are doing it yourself, or send copies of your slips and summary to your tax professional.

Doesn’t that sound simple? It is!

Now to prepare for your three, one-hour sessions the first thing you’ll need is a checklist. If you are using a tax professional to complete your return, ask them if they have a preferred list. If not, you can find one here: yourmoola.ca/resources.

You will save yourself time and energy by keeping your checklist handy throughout the year. Use the list to organize your paper, or digital, file to eliminate the 1st session next year.

Important! The deadline to file Income Tax is Tuesday, April 30. Returns must be filled on time in order to receive your July Canada Child Benefit.

Parent’s Checklist:
Childcare, up to $8000 per year per child
Child/Spousal support received or paid
Adoption related expenses
Medical intervention for conception related expenses
RESP withdraw slips
Medical receipts, including private health care premiums and required travel
Disability Tax Credit, if child is approved
What not to include:
RESP contributions
Child fitness and arts receipts
Canada Child Benefit

Lindsay Plumb is a financial coach and founder of MOOLA Financial Coaches & Advisors. Disclosure: Lindsay is not an accountant. Please consult a professional or do your own research before making tax decisions.