Getting the most out of your tax return

It’s time to think about filing your taxes! You may be eligible for certain deductions, tax credits and government benefits. Here are some tips and reminders to help you get the most out of your return.

Updated March 10, 2021

If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) in 2020, read the article CERB or CRB recipients: Filing your taxes properly - This link will open in a new window..

Filing deadlines

Deadline: April 30, 2021

The deadline for self-employed workers is June 15, 2021.

What happens if I file my taxes after this date?

If you file late and have an outstanding balance, a 5% penalty will be applied.

An additional 1% penalty is added to your outstanding balance every month, up to 12 months.
Both of these penalties apply federally and in Quebec.

Interest will also be charged on your outstanding balance. This interest is compounded daily on the amount due as of April 30.

Tip: Even if you don’t think you can pay off your entire balance due on April 30, you should still file your tax return by the deadline. That way, you won’t be charged the late-filing penalty and you’ll only have to pay interest on the unpaid amount.

Government relief measures

For individuals: If you received COVID-19 government benefits (like CERB and CRB) but are unable to pay your tax balance by April 30, 2021, you won’t have to pay interest on the unpaid balance until April 2022. To see the eligibility criteria, visit the website - External link. This link will open in a new window..

For self-employed workers: If your net self-employment income was less than $5,000 and you applied for the CERB, you will not be required to repay the CERB, as long as your gross self-employment income was at least $5,000 and you met all the other eligibility criteria - External link. This link will open in a new window..

TurboTax discount

Desjardins members and clients can save 20% on TurboTax Online - External link. This link will open in a new window..

2020 tax credits and deductions

Here is a non-exhaustive list of deductions and tax credits you may be eligible for:

Something for everyone

  • Medical expenses (in Quebec, this includes premiums paid for the provincial and/or employer-provided drug insurance plans)
  • Charitable donations
  • Tax credits for persons with disabilities
  • Quebec solidarity tax credit, Ontario sales tax credit and federal GST/HST credit

Teleworkers

Governments announced measures allowing employees who teleworked to deduct home office expenses on their 2020 income tax returns.

This includes expenses you incurred while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic (like electricity, heating, internet access fees and rent).

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least 4 consecutive weeks in 2020
  • Have not already been reimbursed from your employer for these expenses

2 calculation methods: Choose the one that’s most beneficial for you

  • Simplified method: You can deduct $2 for each day that you worked from home in 2020, up to a maximum of $400 for each level of government. You won’t have to keep any documents to support your claim, and your employer won’t need to issue any declaration of employment conditions forms.
  • Detailed method: This option is based on your actual expenses during the period when you worked from home. Your employer will need to provide you with certain forms. You’ll also have to keep documents supporting your claim and present them if you get audited.

Links to calculators to compare both methods:

Links to FAQs for individuals:

You may also be eligible for:

You are Tax credits and deductions
Parents
  • Childcare expenses
  • Children’s activities (Quebec)
  • Adoption expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Fertility treatments
  • Tax credits for a child enrolled in post-secondary studies (Quebec)
  • Tuition fees transferred from a child (federal and Quebec)
Seniors1
  • Home care services for seniors (Quebec)
  • Caregiver amount (federal and Quebec)
  • Fitness, arts, cultural or recreational activities for seniors (Quebec)
  • Age amount (federal and Quebec)
  • Pension income amount (federal and Quebec)
  • Tax credit for career extension for workers 60 and over (Quebec)
  • Disability tax credit (federal)
  • Amount for a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions (Quebec)
  • Home accessibility expenses (federal)
  • Independent living tax credit for seniors (Quebec)
Students
  • Tax credit for tuition fees (federal and Quebec; unused portion can be transferred to parents)
  • Credit for interest paid on student loans (federal and Quebec; can be carried forward to subsequent years)
  • Moving expenses
  • Tax credit for recent graduates working in remote resource regions (Quebec)
  • Deduction for scholarships or bursaries
Investors2
  • Deduction for net capital losses from other years
  • Deduction for RRSP contributions
  • Deduction for carrying charges
  • CRCD tax credit (Quebec)
  • Labour-sponsored funds tax credit
  • Exploration and development expenses (federal and Quebec)
Homeowners
  • Tax credit for the upgrading of residential waste water treatment systems (Quebec)
  • Non-refundable tax credit of $5,000 for first time home buyers (federal and Quebec)
  • Capital gain exemption for selling your principal residence. If you sold your principal residence, you’ll need to report the information on your tax return so you can claim the principal residence exemption. If you don’t provide the information required by the federal government, you’ll be expected to pay taxes or a penalty.
You are Deductions and tax credits
Parents
  • Childcare expenses
  • Tuition and education amounts transferred from a child (federal and Ontario)
  • Adoption expenses
  • Fertility treatments
  • Medical expenses
Seniors1
  • Caregiver amount (federal and Ontario)
  • Age amount (federal and Ontario)
  • Pension income amount (federal and Ontario)
  • Home accessibility expenses (federal)
  • Disability tax credit
  • Public transit tax credit (Ontario)
Students
  • Tax credit for tuition fees (federal and Ontario; unused portion can be transferred to parents)
  • Credit for interest paid on student loans (federal and Ontario; can be carried forward to subsequent years)
  • Moving expenses
  • Deduction for scholarships or bursaries
Investors2
  • Deduction for net capital losses from other years
  • Deduction for RRSP contributions
  • Deduction for carrying charges
  • Labour-sponsored funds tax credit
  • Federal exploration and development expenses and Ontario focused flow-through share tax credit
Homeowners
  • Non-refundable $5,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers (federal)
  • Capital gain exemption for selling your principal residence. If you sold your principal residence, you’ll need to report the information on your tax return so you can claim the principal residence exemption. If you don’t provide the information required by the federal government, you’ll be expected to pay taxes or a penalty.
  • Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant (Ontario)

Direct deposits

You can log in to AccèsD online and mobile to sign up for Canada Revenue Agency or Revenu Québec - External link. This link will open in a new window.direct deposit for your tax refund and other government payments.

The Quebec solidarity tax credit is only paid out using direct deposit.

Did you sign up for online statements for Desjardins Funds?

Your tax documents are available in AccèsD. Click Statements and documents > Tax information slips for income tax return - Tax information slips > Fiscal year 2020.

Beware of phishing scams

The Governments of Quebec and Canada will never communicate with you about your tax return through email or text messages. You should never reply to a message about your tax return that asks for your personal and banking information. To learn more about their security practices for communicating with taxpayers, and to protect yourself from this kind of fraud, please visit - External link. This link will open in a new window.Revenu Québec’s page on communicating with taxpayers and - External link. This link will open in a new window.the Canada Revenue Agency’s fraud prevention page.

1. To be eligible for some tax credits, the taxpayer must have been certified eligible (e.g., for the tax credit for persons with disabilities or the amount for a severe and prolonged impairment in mental or physical functions).

2. Attention: If you hold any foreign properties—excluding properties for personal use—worth $100,000 or more, you must fill out the T1135 form.

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