Business

The 2024 tax season kicks off Monday. Here's what you need to know

Canadians can begin filing their income tax returns online as of Monday, with several changes in store for the 2024 tax filing season.

Taxpayers can enter FHSA deductions, but expect changes to home office claims

Here are some changes to expect when filing your 2023 taxes

2 months ago
Duration 1:31
Feb. 19 is the first day you can file your taxes online and there are some key changes that will affect the tax filings of many people in Canada.

Canadians can begin filing their income tax returns online as of Monday, with several changes in store for the 2024 tax filing season.

Those filing by paper should have received their income tax package in the mail by now, according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Most Canadians must file their tax return by April 30, which is also the deadline to make a payment for those who owe money to the government.

Canadians who are self-employed, along with their spouses or common-law partners, have until June 15. Since that day falls on a weekend, the CRA will consider a return to be on time if it is received by or postmarked on or before June 17.

Self-employed Canadians must still pay money owed to the CRA by the April 30 deadline to avoid paying interest.

FHSA, home office claims among changes

This marks the first year that taxpayers will be able to enter deductions on the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), a type of tax-free account rolled out by the federal government last year to help Canadians save on their first home.

"Your contributions to the FHSA are tax-deductible, while your withdrawals — as long as you use them for the down payment of a purchase of your first home — are tax-free," said Gerry Vittoratos, a national tax specialist with UFile.ca.

A picture of a house with a for sale sign on the front lawn.
The First Home Savings Account allows prospective homebuyers to start saving for up to 15 years once they open an account, with an annual $8,000 deposit cap and a lifetime contribution limit of $40,000. Contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals are tax-free. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The program allows prospective homebuyers to start saving for up to 15 years once they open an account, with an annual $8,000 deposit cap and a lifetime contribution limit of $40,000.

Canadians who've opened this type of account will receive a new slip called the T4FHSA, which will provide the details needed to complete your tax return, Vittoratos said.

CBC News spoke with several experts last year who weighed in on the potential upsides — and downsides — of the First Home Savings Account and what it could do to make home ownership more accessible.

WATCH | CBC News dug into the potential benefits, downsides of the FHSA last year: 

Financial institutions and employers have until the end of February to send tax slips to the CRA. So most taxpayers might not even get their slips until early March, "and that's really the kick-off of the season," Vittoratos said.

Canadians might also notice that the temporary flat-rate method for claiming employees' home office expenses — such as rent, electricity, internet and office supplies — is no longer available, John Oakey, vice-president of taxation at CPA Canada, wrote in a post on the organization's website.

From 2020 to 2022, eligible employees could claim $2 for each day worked from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. up to an annual maximum of $400 in 2020 and $500 in 2021 and 2022. Employers were not required to complete and sign a T2200 form, nor were employees required to keep documents to support their claims.

For 2023 and future years, employees must now follow the CRA's detailed method to make these claims, Oakey wrote.

Tax credit for some multigenerational families

Taxpayers also no longer have to apply for advance payments of the Canada Workers Benefit when they file their tax returns, Oakey said. Those payments are now issued automatically to those who were eligible to receive the benefit in the previous tax year.

He also noted that taxpayers can now claim the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit. It's a refundable credit meant to assist with the cost of renovations that create a secondary unit for a senior or adult eligible for the disability tax credit.

LISTEN | Why some people are overcontributing to their TFSAs:
Mark Ting, our guide to personal finance and a partner with Foundation Wealth, explains what is causing many people to over-contribute to their Tax-Free Savings Account and what can be done if they're charged a penalty by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The credit is available for up to $7,500, or 15 per cent of the costs of a qualifying renovation incurred after Dec. 31, 2022.

The CRA said it processed more than 18 million refunds for the 2022 tax year at an average of $2,262. About 78 per cent of refunds were issued by direct deposit, while the rest were sent by cheque.

The agency said those with a modest income and simple tax situation who need help filing their returns can speak with volunteers at a free tax clinic in their area or make a virtual appointment. Details are available online through the CRA's free tax clinics page.

With files from CBC's Jenna Benchetrit and Anis Heydari

now