Nearly a third of the participants on the Million Dollar Neighbourhood TV series made errors on their returns
CALGARY, Jan. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - It is only the first episode of Million Dollar Neighbourhood on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada), but thousands of Canadians may have money hidden in their tax returns. H&R Block's Second LookSM review of tax returns in Aldergrove, B.C., resulted in an additional $50,000 in tax refunds. H&R Block tax professionals found nearly one third of the participants missed credits or deductions and, of the taxpayers with refunds, the average amount was $1,571.
Million Dollar Neighbourhood is a new original series offering an unprecedented social experiment set in Aldergrove in which 100 families have only 10 weeks to raise their collective net worth by $1 million. The first episode aired January 22, featuring H&R Block tax specialists in a segment.
"For most taxpayers, receiving a Notice of Assessment means their tax return is approved, but it doesn't mean you claimed everything you are entitled to," says Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst, H&R Block Canada. "In our experience in Aldergrove, we uncovered missed credits and deductions that resulted in refunds from $100 to more than $10,000."
When asked in a recent Leger Marketing poll for H&R Block what they would do with an extra $1,500, Canadians most commonly said they would pay off debt (47 per cent) or save it (39 per cent). One in 10 Canadians would use it to take a vacation or go shopping.
The same poll revealed that 36 per cent of Canadians said they have been contacted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about changes to their tax return. Out of the people who were contacted by the CRA, 44 per cent of them owed more money as a result of the change.
When asked if they would let a tax professional review their previous year's return for free, 57 per cent of Canadians were open to the idea. Once told about the $50,000 in tax refunds found in Aldergrove, the number of people who were open to a free review increased to 72 per cent.
Pen and paper was identified as the method more likely to result in an error, at 55 per cent. As for the method that results in the best refund, Canadians most commonly said an accountant, with tax software second.
"The Aldergrove sample size is not large enough to draw conclusions from, but it is interesting that the majority of returns we filed adjustments for were prepared using accountants or tax software," explains Hamel. "We always advise that no matter how you prepare your tax return, it is important to understand the credits and benefits you are entitled to claim. And if you have missed a credit, the money is not lost. You can file an adjustment so you don't pay any more tax than necessary."
If you think you have missed a deduction or credit, you can have a free Second Look at H&R Block. A tax professional will review up to three years of your previous returns for free to ensure you claimed everything available.
The survey was completed on-line from December 5th, 2011 to December 7th, 2011, using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1,501 Canadians, 18 years of age or older. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
Million Dollar Neighbourhood airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET and is produced by Force Four Entertainment Inc. in association with Corus Entertainment's OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada).
About H&R Block Canada
H&R Block Canada has been preparing taxes for more than 45 years and is Canada's leading tax preparation firm. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, the company serves Canadian taxpayers in more than 1,100 offices across the country. H&R Block Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of H&R Block, Inc., a diversified company with subsidiaries providing a wide range of financial products and services. Additional information about H&R Block Canada is available at 1-800-HRBLOCK or visit www.hrblock.ca for more tax tips.
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