When it comes to the paperwork you need to keep for tax filing time, no document is more important than your T4. But what do you do when you don’t have one? Here, we look at two scenarios: those of us who’ve either misplaced or never received a T4 they were supposed to, and the self-employed who don’t get one.
Missing or Misplaced T4s
There are a few different ways your T4 can go AWOL. Your old employer may have gone out of business and finishing up the payroll paperwork fell through the cracks. You could change jobs or addresses and miss yours in the mail. Or, most likely, you just didn’t file away that official document is a safe place where you could find it.
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No T4? You Still Have To File
Regardless, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants you to file your return on time (check the CRA website to confirm the deadline for the year), even if you don’t have it. Start by calling the CRA (800-959-8281) to see if your employer filed a T4 with them. If not, and you file a snail mailed return, the CRA will want you to include a note explaining why the T4 slip isn’t included, along with your employer’s name and address so they can track it down.
To calculate the various figures for total employment income (line 101 on your return), income tax deducted, CPP, EI, and any pension or union dues paid, CRA recommends using an old paystub to calculate a pro-rated figures for the year.
Once your return is processed, you won’t necessarily be audited, but your return will be reviewed. The key thing is to file your return on time so that you can avoid paying penalties.
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Paperwork for the Self-Employed
If you’re self-employed, you won’t have an “employer” who can send you a T4. In that case, send invoices to your various clients and have them mail a cheque or make a direct-deposit to your bank account in return. Tip: set up a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all invoices and when tax time rolls around, scroll down to the bottom for the “year to date” total and send that to your account, along with a tally of all work-related expenses. Barring the dreaded A-word (audit), your don’t have to supply CRA with copies of invoices, but you certainly should have keep copies on file – along with all other receipts – for seven years, just in case.