Friday, April 18, 2008

Tax question for the Canadians

Update: Don't worry about the below...I didn't really figure it out, but I seem to be getting such a large refund, for some reason (overpayment on taxes?) that I'm not going to worry about it this year. In fact, I'm kind of stunned about the whole thing...

I'm just setting about to do my taxes, and am now hoping someone who is a Canadian can enlighten me on the possibility of deductions...ideally someone who is also a faculty member...

(I should have looked into this ages and ages ago - I meant to - but I didn't, and now I need to do the taxes and I'm desperate. God, I'm so disorganized!!!)

Anyway, what I'm wondering is about whether I can factor in my professional expenses. I used to get my taxes done by an accountant, and she was able to get me all sorts of deductions for work-related expenses when I was a grad student. I stopped using her when I became a faculty member, since I figured my taxes were now so simple. But one or two people - who are not academics - have suggested to me that I can factor in my professional expenses - conference fees, conference and research travel, books, etc. (Most of this was not covered by meagre professional development funds, etc.) I saved a lot of those receipts last year, but I wasn't sure about this...I thought I could deduct professional expenses only if I was self-employed, which I'm obviously not.

If anybody has a clue about this, I'd be very grateful to know. I apologize for being such a dunce about this - you are not tax professionals, I know.

4 comments:

PossiblyFutureDrGirl said...

I'm still just a grad student, so I'm not sure how much I can help you, but I'm pretty certain that you can at least claim your association fees.

Then again, I can barely do basic math, so perhaps I am not the best person to provide advice...!

Good luck with that! (We're all in this together --keep your stick on the ice, etc.!)

Hilaire said...

Hiya - thanks! I actually just decided to proceed for the heck of it, and my refund is so high anyway (??!) I'm not going to worry about it. But thank you!! This is good to know, and for next year I am vowing to look into this properly!

epicentre said...

save your receipts, you can claim them and its all pretty much intuitive if you are an honest person and they are related your profession. Be warned, though, that claiming professional fees will highlight you for an audit of them - probably just of that section. I am jealous about your "huge" refund though...very. Did you have a mass of unused education amounts? Loan interest??? I end up getting extra-whacked every year and owing them even more money than they took in the first place from what I think is my pretty modest salary. CRA is utterly its own island and no one flies under the radar here in our lovely country. There is some nerd with a magnifying glass atop each return that lands.

Hilaire said...

Epicentre - Thanks for the advice that professional fees will highlight me for an audit. I think I'll skip them, then, since the stress of an audit is not worth it.

But -- where do I *put* my other receipts? I just don't see where there is space to claim them...

My refund: I am not clear why this happened...I was expecting a bit of a refund because there was one month in which I was unemployed (in between my jobs). But I ended up with about three times more than I had estimated. I have no idea why...I don't have anything big to claim. It didn't even let me enter the amount of my loan interest, just let me tell them I have some. Even that, though, is negligible...I don't have big student loans. And I don't really have anything carried over year-to-year...I'm not smart enough for thtat! So it remains a big mystery...but I am quite pleased about it, of course.