Mandatory electronic filing for tax preparers

Starting in 2013, tax preparers who prepare more than 10 returns will be required to file them electronically. Mandatory electronic filing applies to the filing of both T1 General income tax and benefit returns and T2 corporation income tax returns for the 2012 and later tax years.


Q1. I am a tax preparer; how will this affect me?

A1. If you are an individual, a corporation or a partnership, and you accept payment to prepare more than 10 T1 General income tax and benefit returns or more than 10 T2 corporation income tax returns per year, you must file those returns electronically. An employee who prepares returns as part of their work duties is not a tax preparer.

Q2. Are there any exceptions to the new legislation?

A2. The following returns do not need to be filed electronically:

Other exceptions apply if you are a tax preparer who:

  • applied to use EFILE, but was not accepted; or
  • had EFILE privileges suspended or revoked.

Q3. How do I file electronically?

A3. If you prepare and file more than 10 T1 General income tax and benefit returns, you will be required to file them electronically through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) EFILE system. EFILE is an automated service that permits approved tax preparers to file current year income tax and benefit returns online.

If you prepare and file more than 10 T2 corporation income tax returns, you will be required to file them electronically through the available service in Represent a Client or through Corporation Internet Filing.

Q4. I have never filed electronically. How do I start?

A4. As a tax preparer, you will need to register with the CRA in order to be allowed to file T1 General income tax and benefit returns electronically. This must be done at least 30 days before the service is required.

For more information on how to register for T1 General returns, go to EFILE - New Registration.

For more information on how to register for T2 corporation returns or how to file corporation returns electronically, go to Corporation Internet Filing.

Q5. I currently file my clients’ returns electronically. Do I need to re-register?

A5. If you currently file your clients’ returns electronically with an EFILE number, you need to renew your EFILE eligibility every year. As such, you will be contacted to renew your registration every year in late October.

Q6. I use in-house software to file returns for my clients, but I don’t use EFILE. What do I do?

A6. Your software package will need to be certified by the CRA before you can use it to file electronically. To find out more about certification:

For T1 General returns: EFILE -- Software
For T2 corporation returns: Corporation Internet Filing

Q7. Are there penalties if I do not comply with the new legislation?

A7. If you are required to file electronically but do not comply, you may be charged a penalty of $25 for each T1 General return that is paper-filed and $100 for each T2 corporation return that is paper-filed.

Q8. Where can I get help to file returns electronically?

A8. For T1 General returns, contact your EFILE Helpdesk.

For T2 corporation returns, contact our Corporation Internet Filing Helpdesk.

Q9. I am a tax preparer in Quebec, does this also apply to me?

A9. Revenu Québec also requires tax preparers who prepare more than 10 personal or corporation income tax returns in Quebec to file these returns online. The requirement does not apply to trust returns.