Tips for Newlyweds Filing Taxes for the First Time

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Congratulations on your marriage! Marriage has a big impact on practically every aspect of your life, including your tax return. If you’ve recently gotten married and want to learn more about how your new status will affect your taxes, accountant Randall Dang offers his expertise on the subject.

Spouses in Canada Must File Separately

Unlike other countries such as the United States, in which married couples have the option to combine their incomes and file a single tax return, common law in Canada requires that each spouse file a separate tax return. Married couples in Canada cannot file a single joint income tax return.

What It Means to File Separately

Filing separately means you and your spouse’s incomes are separated and you and your spouse are both responsible for paying the taxes, interests, and penalties due on your individual returns.

Getting the Most from Your Tax Return  

Although not having the option to file jointly may seem restricting, there are things couples can do to reduce the total amount of taxes they have to pay and get the most from their tax return.

  • The spouse with the higher income should maximize their deductions in order to reduce paying taxes at a higher rate.
  • You can claim charitable donations on one of the tax returns to reduce the amount you pay on your income taxes.
  • You can claim a tax credit for medical expenses you or your spouse paid, as long as they were paid within the 12 month period ending in the current tax year.
  • If you or your spouse has a disability, you can take advantage of the disability tax credit. This tax credit covers a broad spectrum of physical and mental impairments, many of which aren’t typically associated with a disability, and can be used to reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay.

If you need help filing your tax return, or have questions, contact accountant Randall Dang for more information.

Five Questions to Ask Your Tax Accountant

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As an accountant in Canada, Randall Dang has been interviewed many times for various jobs. Randall Dang works with business of all sizes in a wide variety of roles, including performing CFO duties and preparing taxes. He could tell you which questions are important when it comes time to hire your own tax accountant for your business. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all tax preparer for any business, but any good tax accountant will share several key characteristics, like organization and honesty, as others. With that in mind, here are several key questions you should ask to make sure you’re hiring a good one that you can trust with your livelihood:


Do You Have a PTIN? This is very important because the IRS requires any accountant or preparer to have a PTIN in order to file taxes. If he or she doesn’t, this is a deal breaker.


Have You Prepared Business Taxes Before? Again, this is an easy question and one with an easy answer. If the tax accountant says no, you might want to try someone else. Business taxes are different than personal taxes and require a certain level of expertise to be filed correctly.


How Much Do You Charge? There’s no question that a skillful tax accountant like Randall Dang can save you money. Of course, if he or she is charging you more than you would save then it’s really not worth it.


Who Will Sign the Return? This is a big one as it will ensure that the actual accountant is filing the return and not just handing it off to another preparer. If he or she refuses to sign it, that could be a glaring red flag.


What Happens If I Get Audited? Again, the purpose of hiring a tax accountant is to avoid getting audited, but it can sometime happen. You’ll want to know that your accountant has a procedure and plan for audits. Will he or she answer questions from the IRS or represent you in tax court. These are good things to know upfront.