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Take The Time To Do Your Taxes Right Or Pay The Consequences

CIBC offers expert tax tips and reminders to help Canadians avoid penalties and interest charges this tax season

TORONTO, March 20, 2014 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) - As Canadians prepare to file their 2013 tax returns this spring, a little attention up front can go a long way to saving time, money and undue complications down the road, says Jamie Golombek, Managing Director, Tax and Estate Planning at CIBC.

Canadians had to pay over $1 billion in additional taxes in fiscal 2012 alone, primarily because what they reported on their tax returns didn't match the dollar amounts provided by employers, financial institutions and other sources, according to the most recent data from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As well, CRA rejected almost one in every five tax credit and deduction claims the previous fiscal year.

"Each year, the CRA identifies costly, common errors in personal tax returns that can easily be avoided if you take the time to do it right and seek advice if your situation is complicated," says Mr. Golombek. "If you under-report income or if deductions are disallowed, taxpayers may find that they unexpectedly owe more money to the CRA."

In addition to collecting additional taxes from you, the CRA will charge interest, currently at a rate of 5 per cent, on any overdue tax amounts, he points out. And, if you fail to file your return by the deadline or under-report income repeatedly, penalties may also apply, he adds.

"To avoid potential interest and penalties, it's important to take note of key deadlines, ensure that you report all of your income accurately and verify that you are eligible for tax credits or deductions before you claim them," says Mr. Golombek.

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