April 30 Not What It Used To Be

April 30 was once the official last day to file any personal income tax returns in Canada. There was a time when everyone  – whether they were self employed or not – had to file by April 30. As an accountant I have to tell you that I loved this! What it meant was that we were done by April 30. We used to have great parties and be hung over for days.

However 16 years ago Revenue Canada changed the rules to allow people who report self employment income to file later than April 30 – these people have until June 15 to file (but no longer to pay) so now the personal tax filing season drags on into June. I know some tax preparers who never told their clients they had longer to file. Some places the weather is better in June – and of course we have corporate returns to worry about in June.

Now in 2014 CRA has extended the deadline for non self employed people to May 5 (a result of the HeartBleed vulnerability). This has ruined the plans of many a tax preparer. It is pretty hard to tell clients that you want them to get everything done by April 30 when they know they have five extra days. Human nature being what it is, if the deadline is not today why do it today?

So what is the message of this post? Am I talking about people being natural procrastinators, am I making a point about how nothing stays the same or am I just whining that  it is always hard to plan? I have a workshop on May 3, a duathlon race on May 4 and I am teaching on May 5 so personal tax returns were not a plan for these three days. I left two days clear after April 30 to deal with any lingering personal tax returns… this year that was not enough. So how do I plan for next year – or do I assume that CRA will not have any problems that change  April 30 being the non self employed tax filing deadline?

I am thinking I won’t make any firm plans for the first few days after April 30 in 2015 just in case.

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