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Tax time is coming - InvestDfsi

Tax time is coming

Do you have all your information slips?

February 20, 2024

Taxable income, deductible contributions, eligible expenses, tax credits… A personal income tax return includes a multitude of items that it’s best not to forget if you want to optimize your tax bill. As we can see below, the federal government estimates that in 2022, some 18 million Canadian taxpayers were entitled to refunds averaging $2,256. So here’s a checklist to help you remember everything for your own 2023 tax return.  

(Please note that some of the information presented here may vary depending on your province of residence, especially if you live in Quebec, where separate provincial and federal tax returns must be filed.) 

Important date: Tuesday, April 30  

First, a quick reminder: you have until April 30, 2024, to file your 2023 income tax return. You may want to get going on this, but make sure that you have received all your tax slips before submitting your return: some of them might not arrive until late March. By the way, if you or your spouse work for yourselves, the filing deadline for your tax return is not April 30; it’s June 15 of each year. Since June 15 falls on a Saturday in 2024, you have until Monday, June 17, to submit your return. 

Worth noting: if you have a balance due and do not meet these deadlines, late filing penalties and interest will start to accrue. Don’t forget that with the increase in the key policy rate over the past two years, the interest rate on taxes owing is much higher than in the past (10% at the time of this writing).  

Your income

You must declare all of your income from any source: wages, self-employment, contract work, retirement income and so on. 

Employment income 

This is usually reported on T4 and T4A slips (and on Relevé 1 in Quebec), which are sent out by employers no later than February 29. If you have billings or rental income not included on these slips, you must declare it on your tax return as well. If you received employment insurance benefits, you should have been sent a T4A or T4E slip showing the amounts. 

Pension income 

If you made withdrawals from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), registered retirement income fund (RRIF) or life income fund (LIF), these withdrawals are considered to be taxable income and will be reported on T4RSP or T4RIF slips (Relevé 2 in Quebec). The same goes for pension payments from a pension fund, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan and federal Old Age Security benefits, which are reported on T4A slips (Relevé 2 in Quebec). 

Mutual fund income* 

Mutual fund companies issue T3 slips (Relevé 16 in Quebec) reporting the amount and allocation of distributions made during the year. 

Investment income 

T5 slips (Relevé 3 in Quebec) are issued by financial institutions to report their clients’ interest and dividend income. Don’t forget to include this. 

Securities trading 

A T5008 slip (Relevé 18 in Quebec) will be sent by your financial institution to report any securities trading you did in 2023. Don’t forget to declare any capital gains (or losses) realized on the disposal of securities, where applicable. 

RESP withdrawals 

Your taxable withdrawals from a registered education savings plan (RESP) are reported on a T4A slip (Relevé 1 in Quebec) issued by your financial institution. 

Your deductible contributions

If you have an RRSP, at the beginning of the year you will have received a contribution receipt for 2023. Between now and the end of March, you will also receive receipts for contributions made during the first 60 days of this year. These contributions have a special feature: you can use them as a deduction for the 2023 tax year or the 2024 tax year, whichever you prefer. (To learn more about the first-60-days rule, watch this video.) Actually, something that many people don’t realize is that you are not required to deduct your contributions in the year you make them: you can carry them forward for use in the future, especially if you expect to end up in a higher tax bracket where your contribution would result in a more substantial refund.  

If you started to contribute to the new First Home Savings Account (FHSA), you will receive a T4FSHA slip (Relevé 32 in Quebec) so that you can deduct the amount of your contributions. 

Note that you will not receive tax slips for your tax-free savings account (TFSA) or registered education savings plan (RESP) contributions, since these are not deductible. 

Eligible expenses and tax credits 

A great many expenses can be deducted to reduce your taxable income, and a large number of tax credits are offered at both levels of government. Your eligibility for these deductions and the amount you can deduct depend on your personal and household financial situations. Here is a partial list. No doubt you will want to confer with your accountant to make sure you that don’t forget any of them.  

  • Support payments (note that support income, on the other hand, is taxable) 

  • Charitable donations 

  • Political contributions 

  • Financial carrying charges, professional fees and interest expenses (when deductible) 

  • Medical expenses 

  • Tuition fees 

  • Interest paid on student loans 

  • Adoption expenses 

  • Childcare expenses 

  • Energy efficiency upgrade expenses 

  • Fitness programs for children 

  • Moving expenses (when deductible) 

  • Home office expenses (when deductible) 

  • Support for a child, spouse or common-law partner 

  • Union dues 

  • Vehicle expenses 

  • Digital news subscription costs 

  • Etc. 

Obviously, this checklist only provides a brief overview for your next income tax return. If you have more specific questions about how your investment income is taxed, don’t hesitate to talk to your advisor.


* Mutual funds are offered by group savings representatives at SFL Investments, a financial services firm. 


The following sources were used to prepare this article: 

Desjardins, “Statements and tax slips delivery dates”; “Tax information.” 

Government of Canada, “Individual income tax return statistics for the 2023 tax-filing season”; “Personal income tax – Due dates and payment dates.” 

H&R Block, “Canadian tax checklist.” 

Liberty Tax, “Tax Checklist.” 

SFL, “Are you familiar with the “first 60 days” rule?.”