What to do when make a mistake on your tax return

National Post


You've filed your tax return early and likely already banked your refund when you realize that you made a mistake and need to correct your return.

Everyone makes mistakes, even math nerds, and it's easy to make a change. Before you do so, the Canada Revenue Agency advises that you wait until you receive your Notice of Assessment.

This year, however, there is a special word of caution for those trying to correct a return as a result of the new Family Tax Cut, referred to as income-splitting for families.

You'll recall that the Family Tax Cut credit allows you to notionally transfer up to $50,000 of income to your presumably lower-income spouse or partner, provided you have a child under 18. You then claim a non-refundable federal tax credit for the notional tax savings, which is capped at $2,000.

If you filed your 2014 return claiming the credit, you would have received it as part of your tax refund. But if you forgot to claim it and now want to change your return to claim it retroactively, you may have to wait a bit longer for your money.

Why? It still has to make its way through Parliament. The formal legislation was introduced as Bill C-57, whose short title is the "Support for Families Act," and it received first reading on March 27, 2015.

According to a recent CBC report based on an internal CRA memo, tax officials were told "not to process requests for tax reassessments claiming the new credit before the amendments to the tax code make it through Parliament."

The story quotes the memo as saying that, "based on existing reassessment policy, we do not reassess a tax return that is correct under existing law for the purpose of allowing a proposed measure... As a result, we are not permitted to be pro-active on the requests until after the proposed measure receives royal assent, which will likely be in June 2015."

Family Tax Cut aside, here are the three ways to correct your return, once you've got your Notice of Assessment.

1) First, and perhaps the easiest if you're technologically inclined, is to use the "change my return option" found in the "My Account" section of the CRA website. My Account allows you to track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments as well as your RRSP deduction limit, among other things.

2) Your second option is to send a completed Form T1-ADJ, "T1 Adjustment Request," to your tax centre. The form can be found on the CRA website, downloaded, printed and mailed.

3) Finally, if you don't want to go online at all, you can simply send a signed letter to your tax centre asking for an adjustment. The letter should contain your name, address, and social insurance number and which tax year's return you wish to adjust. You also have to provide supporting documentation for the change. So, for example, if you forgot a medical expense and wish to adjust your total medical expense claim, the CRA asks that you submit all the necessary medical receipts to support your total claim.