Tax Returns: What to Know Before Asking for Help

In the News

It’s tax season! This means that it’s time to file your taxes. Do you feel like you need help filling out the forms and preparing the documents? No need to worry: someone can prepare your returns for you!

You’re responsible for filing your taxes

“Filing your taxes” means declaring your annual income to the federal and provincial governments (the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec). The tax forms enable you to calculate the taxes you must pay or the refund to which you’re entitled.

You have two choices. You could either

  • prepare your tax returns yourself, or
  • ask someone to prepare them for you.

Important! You don’t need to have a particular reason to ask someone to prepare your tax returns for you. For example, you could choose this option if you’re running short on time or if your tax situation is complicated. You can either ask a professional whose job is to prepare tax returns or a volunteer who works in an organization that offers these services. Even a family member (spouse, parent, etc.) can prepare them for you.

Review your tax returns before signing anything

It’s important to review your tax returns before signing them, whether they were prepared by you or someone else. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself while reviewing them:

  • Are the numbers right?
  • Is the information accurate? For example, is your family status (single, common-law, married) accurate? If not, the amount of tax calculated based on your tax returns might not be what you truly owe.

This review is essential because you will be responsible for any additional taxes that you might owe if the tax-preparer made a mistake.

Your tax returns, your responsibility

If the person who prepared your tax returns makes a mistake, you can’t ask them to pay for the difference you end up paying in tax. This is because the law considers that you’ll simply be paying what you truly owed from the beginning (based on the tax laws in place). In other words, you can’t ask the tax-preparer for compensation, because you haven’t really suffered any damages.

However, if Revenu Québec or the Canada Revenue Agency adjust or correct your returns and impose a penalty, you can ask the person who filed them to pay for it. In this case, the penalties are considered true damages, because they wouldn’t have been imposed if the tax-preparer hadn’t made a mistake.

Important dates to remember

There are deadlines to file your taxes. The deadline depends on whether you’re employed or self-employed.

If you’re employed:             May 1, 2023 (because April 30 falls on a Sunday this year)

If you’re self-employed:      June 15, 2023