The warmer weather leading the southwest into spring isn't the only season to be concerned about this time of the year.

With the peak of tax season, a number of community members have already diligently completed their tax returns.

Jeremy Rondeau, partner at MNP in Swift Current, is eager to share some tips and information for taxpayers. 
"There's a couple of different little changes that people can expect this upcoming year," said Rondeau. "For those folks that are in a trade, in the past, there was a $500 tool deduction that they could claim, that's been increased to $1,000."

One of the new and notable additions for this year includes the new residential property flipping rule, which focuses on house flipping being considered business income as opposed to capital gain. 

"Something that's new that is going to come into play this year is a grocery rebate," Rondeau commented. "So the grocery rebate will apply to those that meet certain income thresholds and have filed tax returns in the past."

Often there are also credits available that people may not claim, including the medical expense credit which requires keeping all receipts and tracking mileage and accommodation for medical travel. 

"One of the medical expenses that folks try to look to claim is their massages," said Rondeau. "Unfortunately you can't claim your massages in Sask. but in some of the other provinces they can."

The Canada Revenue Agency website also has a search engine feature that allows inquiring parties to search if their medical expense is eligible to claim or if their charitable receipt is official and that the contribution was to a registered charity.

"Those that are operating a small business, sole proprietorship as we call it, or unincorporated business, there's a form on the tax return called the T2125 which is a statement of business activity," said Rondeau. "That form gives taxpayers an indication of what expenses can be claimed." 

Unincorporated businesses and freelancers as well as people who flip houses, can find the T2125 statement online on Revenue Canada's website. 

"If you miss a slip on your tax return and it gets reassessed, you'll get a penalty for missing that and also they will charge you interest on that amount if you owe tax on that slip," Rondeau said. "So it's very important to make sure you capture everything and important to file on time.

"Many will put in donations to non-profits that aren't registered charities, it's very important that the donation is made to a registered charity and that you have an official tax receipt," noted Rondeau. 

The deadline for tax returns is April 30, and with Revenue Canada's interest rate being higher than usual it's important to have everything done on time to avoid late filing penalties.

"If you're a first-time taxpayer there's certainly a lot of options in town that you can use to help you get your tax return filed," Rondeau said. "Different accounting firms, obviously we are one of them, you can also try to do it on your own, there's tax software available, and even an option on Revenue Canada's website if you qualify." 

There are benefits, credits, and programs available for lower-income earners to ensure everyone is paying a reasonable amount. Many of these programs are tied to your tax return being filed and the level of income you report which only reinforces the importance of filing.

"I think there's a bit of a fear that tax returns are very complicated," said Rondeau. "There are a lot of nuances to them, but it's important to understand what opportunities you have to reduce your overall tax bill."