It’s tax time, and if you play your credits rights, you could save yourself big money.


Cleo Hamel, senior tax professional with H&R Block, was in Halifax recently and talked to Metro Halifax about tax tips for families, seniors and the self-employed.


For example, she said the Transit Pass Credit allows people to save money by taking the bus.


“Some people might find they don’t pay enough, but even if it’s $20 or $30 in tax savings, we think it’s still important,” Hamel says. If the pass is subsidized, you can claim what you did pay.


The Child Tax Credit is a big boost for families with kids under 18. You can get $300 in tax savings per child in the household.

“It could make for a nice surprise at the end of tax season,” Hamel says, adding parents can also claim $500 for kids’ sports.

Seniors will want to take advantage of pension-income splitting. “We’ve seen a number of couples who have been able to save lots of money. I’m not talking just hundreds, I’m talking $1,000, $2,000,” she says. “It really bodes well for couples where one stayed home over the time of employment while the other worked.”

If you owe money on April 30 and you haven’t filed, you’re hit with a five per cent late filing fee and you get charged one per cent interest each month the balance is outstanding. “If you don’t have the money to pay your bill, at least file the tax return on time so you don’t incur a late-filing penalty,” Hamel advises.

If you were self-employed at the end of the year, you’re don’t have to file until June 15. You do still have to pay what you owe by April 30, so see a tax professional to get an estimate and avoid late-payment fines.