It pays to be well informed about your finances
Did you know?
November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions at any stage of your life. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognizes the importance of giving Canadians the information and skills they need to make informed financial decisions, and is proud to support Financial Literacy Month.
Financial literacy tips
- Do your research – Knowledge is power. Are you going to be making an expensive purchase? Thinking about opening a savings account, an RRSP, TFSA, or RESP? Before making a major financial decision, make sure you ask questions, compare different options, read the fine print, and get a second opinion. Exploring all of your options is always less expensive than learning through experience.
- Get access to benefits and credits you may be eligible for – Even if you don’t have any income, you should still file your tax return because you may be eligible for benefits and credits like the Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, and provincial and territorial benefits and credits. Visit our web page to learn more about benefits and credits.
- Take advantage of free help – Need help doing your taxes? If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, there are tax preparation clinics all over Canada where volunteers can do your taxes for you, for free! For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-help.
- Keep accurate records – You can’t manage what you don’t know. One of the most important parts of financial planning is making sure you have all the information you need. By keeping accurate and up-to-date books, records and documents, you can confirm when you paid certain bills and track things like your income and expenses. When it comes to taxes, individuals and businesses should keep receipts and supporting documents for six years following theyear they report in case the CRA needs to see them. If your books and records were lost or destroyed due to circumstances beyond your control, we might be able to help.
- Take advantage of educational resources – Having a good understanding of how taxation relates to your income is a key part of financial literacy. The CRA website has educational programs that explain the basics of the Canadian tax system, help you understand why you pay taxes, and tell you how to complete a simple income tax and benefit return online.
- Protect yourself from fraud – Don’t become a victim of fraud or tax scams. If you get a call or email that sounds like a scam, it probably is! The CRA will never:
- request prepaid credit cards or gift cards
- ask you for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
- leave personal information on your answering machine or voicemail or ask you to leave a message with your personal information
- ask you for personal information by email
- send or request e-transfers of any kind
If you have doubts about someone claiming that you owe the CRA money, you can call us or check online using My Account or My Business Account. For more information on tax scams and fraud, go to the CRA’s fraud prevention page. To report a scam, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
It’s never too late or too early to improve your financial understanding. This November, join us in supporting the national strategy to improve financial literacy by taking the time to learn new skills that can help you make informed financial decisions. You can join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #FLM2017. It pays to be well informed!
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
- Canadian Financial Literacy Calendar
- Financial literacy self-assessment quiz
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