Last year, I decided to stop procrastinating with my tax return and completed everything in March. I was happily surprised to see how fast I got my tax refund back! I decided to do the same thing this year and I already cashed in my tax refund last week. Sometimes, the Government can be faster than you think!
The notice of assessment (NOA) is the document you get back from the Government confirming how much you earned, your tax credits and how much you have paid in taxes. If you paid too much tax during the year, you get a nice check along with your NOA. This usually happens if you can deduct an amount from your earned income or if you are eligible for specific tax credits. For example, I had deducted my RRSP contribution and I’m eligible for several tax credits because I have children.
My employer calculated the tax to be paid on a salary of X. Let’s say I make 100K/year and I should pay an average tax rate of 35%. This means I pay $35,000 in taxes throughout the year. Imagine I invest $10,000 in my RRSP and I’m eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for my children. My tax able income is reduced by $10,000 (the RRSP contribution) . This means I should pay 35% taxes on $90,000 and not $100,000. The total tax due is then $31,500 (35% of $90K). Then, I receive a tax credit of $2,000. The tax credit doesn’t reduce my taxable income, it reduces directly the amount of taxes due. My taxes for the year drop to $29,500. Since I’ve paid a total of $35,000 from my pay check, the Gov’t will give me back a nice check of $5,500. Wow… I wish my example was the real life! Hahaha!
On the other hand, if you have earned other sources of income throughout the year and haven’t paid taxes on them (investment income, rental income, second job, etc), you may end-up paying more taxes after filling your report.
I always look forward opening this letter from the government for two reasons: #1 I usually get a nice check. #2 This document confirms how much I earned last year. This always makes me proud and reminds me that I should appreciate having such a great job!
The NOA also tells you how much you can invest in your TFSA and your RRSP. This helps me plan my investments for the year.
In fact, I’m not disappointed by the amount but rather what I’m going to do with it. I deposited my checks last week and already used all my tax refund… to repay debts! As fast as it was deposited, it was applied to my loans just as fast. It wasn’t incredibly exciting to use my tax refund to pay down debt but I know it’s the right thing to do.
I’ve already paid for my vacation for the full year (including my summer vacation) so I know I will not have more expenses to come in the next 6 months. Reducing my debt is the #1 priority for the rest of the year and it starts with my tax refund.
The second step is to take my next raise to invest more in my TFSA to fund private school for my three children. Then, I should receive a part of my bonus this summer which will also be applied to my debts. By January 2015, I should have paid everything besides my car loan and mortgage, this will help a lot!
What are you going to do with your tax refund?
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