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First time tax filing is easier than you think

(NC) – For some people, the words "income tax" and "tax return" may be intimidating – especially if you are filing for the first time.

But preparing and filing your income tax and benefit return is easier than you think and it may enable you to receive tax credits and benefits. Filing online has become especially easy, as more tax filing software programs enter the marketplace. Whether you are a newcomer to Canada, working at your first job, or a student, filing your first return can be simple and fast. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Get ready: The Canada Revenue Agency has a webpage with all the information you need to get ready to file your first return. It includes important filing due dates, steps to filing online, and more. Start there first, at www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

File online: There are a number of certified software programs that can help you file your return quickly and with minimal fuss. These programs guide you through preparing your return and do all the calculations for you. They vary in complexity and features as well as cost, but some programs are free of charge for everyone.

Watch the videos: For those who would rather watch a video than read pages of information, there are a number of instructional videos at www.cra.gc.ca/videogallery, some of which are aimed at helping newcomers and students file their first tax returns.

If you're really stuck, and want face-to-face help, there is also a program where volunteers help people file returns. You may be able to get help if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer to find your nearest tax clinic and to see if you qualify.

Finally, even if you have not received income in the year, filing your return unlocks some government benefit payments. Without your return, which the government uses to see if you qualify, you won't get those payments.

www.newscanada.com

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