Top ways people spend income tax refunds in Canada


Published April 24, 2024 at 3:17 pm

tax refund spend canada

With the deadline to file taxes looming in Canada, a new report shows how people like spend refunds or just reward themselves for getting the job done.

The deadline to file taxes in Canada is April 30 for individuals and June 17 for the self-employed.

While many people hate the work involved in filling out tax forms, it can bring benefits. Government benefits such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit and the Canada Carbon Rebate, are determined through income tax filings.

And many people will get a refund. The Canada Revenue Agency processed over 18 million refunds averaging $2,262 each last year.

But as of a week before the deadline, 26 per cent of Canadians (and 28 per cent of Gen Z) still hadn’t filed, according to a report from TurboTax Canada, an online tax software company.

A survey from TurboTax found many Canadians choose a “tax treat” to reward themselves for tackling their taxes.

The survey found 33 per cent of Canadians reward or treat themselves after filing their taxes and 49 per cent of Canadians report feeling relieved or accomplished after filing their taxes.

Here are the top ways people reward themselves:

  • 37 per cent of Canadians treat themselves to a nice meal, sweet treat or beverage
  • 33 per cent of Canadians pay off a debt
  • 25 per cent of Canadians go on a shopping spree or splurge on an item

But a report from Canadian bank BMO suggests there are other ways to use your refund.

Suggestions include opening a tax-free savings account, contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, saving for a children’s education fund or donating to charity.

Other ideas from Sun Life Financial Inc. include paying down credit cards, starting an emergency fund and paying down your mortgage.

But none of that sounds as fun as a shopping spree.

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