Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tax Time

While yesterday was pretty decent from a productivity standpoint, it was kind of a slap myself upside the head from a financial standpoint. I finally submitted my taxes yesterday.

First things first, when you do a run through, check your numbers. Don't do what I did. On my tax dry run I calculated that I would be getting about $2000 back. On my actual taxes, the number came back closer to $500. Why? Apparently the first go around I had multiplied a line by .25 rather than .15 and didn't catch it. *facepalm* Watch those buttons.

You want to see me freak out about my job search? Take about a month's worth of mortgage payments away from me. That'll do it.

At least I don't owe this year.

After fighting with the H&R Block website for a bit I got my .tax file for uploading into NETFILE. In order to use NETFILE you need your social insurance number, birth date, and a 4 digit access code that can be found on your T1 form.

Do you think I could find my T1 form? I don't even remember getting it.

So I went to "My Account" over on the CRA website. I logged in there last year, so I should be able to get my info there, right? Wrong. They've reset everyone's usernames and passwords, so you have to register again.


I typed in my social insurance number, my birth date, my current postal code, and line 101 from last year's taxes.



I tried it a couple of times to make sure I didn't screw anything up (you get 5 before they lock you out), then I called them on their help line (1-800-714-7257)

I didn't know you could get a busy signal on an 800 number. Apparently it's possible, because I got it twice.

Fortunately I eventually got through and talked to a very sweet girl on the other end of the line. I told her my problem, ran through a flurry of identifier questions, and she figured out what the problem was. My postal code was wrong.

Apparently when you file your taxes the Canada Revenue Agency doesn't actually get the address on your form, and you have to go somewhere else to update your address after moving. I think I knew that at one point, but do you think I remembered that last year when I filed my taxes? Not a chance. Fast forward: I knew that I had filed my taxes using my current address last year, so I figured everything was hunky dory this year. Meanwhile the computer data base was waiting for me to input a postal code for an address that I never even filed a tax return at.

Because, you know, that makes sense.

This really seems like something they should be teaching in high school:

"These are the government agencies..."
"They don't talk to each other..."
"This is who you need to talk to if you do these things..."

It should all come in a little booklet you get as you leave high school, whether you graduate or not. Or be taught in those career and personal planning courses they make us do. Personally, I think this would have been much more useful than drawing a tree with my goals and aspirations on it. Or at least teach us the hard stuff during the day and make us draw the tree for homework. That's my take anyway.

Thankfully the girl on the phone gave me my access code so I could log in and file my taxes, so at least I filed them on time. That's the important part right now.


FB @ said...

Living in Quebec, no one understands the following more than me:

"These are the government agencies..."
"They don't talk to each other..."
"This is who you need to talk to if you do these things..."

Even the services online are separate. They might be called the same damn frickin' names to confuse you but they are different systems if you log on in different websites.

Cassie said...

I've read that Quebec is really bad for that, I don't know how you do it. Kudos if you're doing it in French. I think I'd be in a little ball on the floor weeping if I was trying to figure out government stuff in my second/third/fourth language.

You'd think they'd get their act together and make it a little more clear for the people using it. We don't get wiggle room for confusion errors, so why can't they make it straight forward?

Clemencia Summers said...

I’m sorry that you had a rough time with the filing of your taxes. I totally agree that you need to check your numbers when you do a run-through. I suggest doing a run-through at least twice to be sure. I also think you have a point about teaching tax submission at school. Maybe it could be taught in college as an elective class.

Kathy Gregory said...

It looks like you had a very long day filing your taxes. Even if you’ve been doing it for years, still, making mistakes is acceptable as long as you rectify them. Anyway, next time, you could ask for help or file ahead of time, so that you’ll have a chance to recheck your numbers. Keep calm and don’t stress yourself much about filing taxes.

Elias Brasel said...

I understand that we all make honest mistakes. Well, at least, you did your job to make things right. Prepare your tax earlier, so that you can have it re-checked by a professional to avoid mistakes again.

-Elias Brasel @ OnCoreBookKeeping