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Mental wellness

April 19, 2013

Why filing your tax return is good for your health

This tax season, one family doctor is prescribing tax returns for his patients. Find out why.

Have you filed your income tax return yet? If not, here’s a reason for doing it that you may not have thought of: It’s good for your health.

Of course, crossing a major task like tax-filing off your to-do list is a great way to reduce stress. But there’s more. By filing an income tax return, you may become eligible for tax credits from the federal and provincial governments that will increase your income.  And that, in turn, can improve your health.

“The link between health and income is solid and consistent,” says Toronto family physician Gary Bloch, “not only for the poorest and richest sectors of our society, but also for each sector in between. It impacts everyone.”

Taking advantage of the tax breaks attached to savings programs such as tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), RRSPs, registered education savings programs (RESPs) and registered disability savings programs (RDSPs) is therefore also good for your health. “Even a little bit of savings can be beneficial,” Bloch says.

You can find out about tax credits and other financial matters with a little research. Bloch recommends Canada Benefits, a government website with an entire section on tax concerns. “People assume that the government hides tax credits and other benefits,” he says. “I don’t think they do; people just have to know where to look. There’s a lot more out there than people know about.”

If you’re a lower-income taxpayer with a simple tax situation and you need help filing your return, check out the Community Volunteer Tax Program, which the Canada Revenue Agency runs in partnership with community organizations.

“I will continue to advise my patients to exercise more and eat healthier food,” he concludes. “But this tax season I will also spend time prescribing tax returns.”

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