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The deadline for filing taxes in Canada for 2024 is April 30. As the big day approaches, Globe Advisor and Globe Investor have teamed-up to offer advice on how to maximize returns, find credits and avoid an audit. The full series can be found here.

Few people cherish the opportunity to spend a weekend or more filling out paperwork and sifting through months-old receipts just to let the government know how much money they made last year. But keeping the tax-filing effort to a minimum will generally cost you.

You’ll have to pay a professional to do the work for you and might miss out on several tax credits and deductions that would lower the amount you owe or boost your refund. In fact, even hiring an accountant might not ensure you’re taking advantage of every tax break you’re eligible for if you haven’t done proper bookkeeping, said Kaitlin Kirk, an Ottawa-based chartered professional accountant.

Her advice to reduce your tax-time workload and stress is to “put in a small amount of effort monthly.”

This is especially important if you’re self-employed, which requires recording not only work-related expenses but money coming in, as clients pay your invoices. If your financial inflows and outflows are relatively straightforward, recording them monthly in an Excel sheet and saving digital receipts in a dedicated folder on your computer – ideally backed up in the cloud – will do, Ms. Kirk said.

But accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Wave can help streamline and speed up that process, she added. And consider an app such as Dext, which allows you to scan and save your receipts.

Even if you’re an employee who doesn’t have to worry about tallying up their income, tracking spending such as medical expenses and donations in a digital folder will reduce your tax-season tasks, Ms. Kirk said.

And if you’re looking for a low-effort, budget-friendly option to get your taxes done on your own, look for software that will complete your return by asking you questions about your situation instead of prompting you to fill out digital boxes, she said.

The Canada Revenue Agency provides a handy online list of certified tax-filing software. Many of those programs ask for payment only when it’s time to file your completed return, so you can test drive a few of them for free before choosing one, Ms. Kirk said.

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