Michelle Hara No Comments

Each year in April, it’s time to file our own taxes, while financial experts warn that saving a few dollars up front might end up costing you more on your tax return.

Alim Dhanji, a certified financial planner in Vancouver, says “If our taxes are straightforward and we want to do them ourselves, it’s not a bad idea, but if it gets more complicated then hiring a professional can save you a lot of money because there’s a lot of items that are often overlooked, and it’s hard for an individual to keep up with all the new tax laws.”

Dhanji comments there are areas that can be used for tax savings that personal filers can forget about, including income or pension splitting and deferring RRSP contribution room. We should take advantage of these credits can result in thousands of dollars of lost savings.

According to the latest statistics available, the Canada Revenue Agency says 26.1 million Canadians filed a tax return in 2010. Among all filers, 48.2 per cent did their own taxes while 51.7 per cent hired a third party. Cost is cited as one of the top reasons why Canadians opt for the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to tax preparation.

Experts say people should expect to pay anywhere from $20 for tax computer software and at least $50 to file at a clinic. Average rates from tax professionals can range from $150 per hour to $500 for a complicated return involving many slips.

It is advised that we purchase the computer tax software. With popular tax software, like UFile or Intuit’s TurboTax, filers are taken through the process step-by-step, and have the option of going back and fixing numbers to see how changes might affect the amount of their return.

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