What's new for the 2017 tax-filing season

This tax-filing season, many important changes and improvements were made to services, benefits, and credits for Canadians. Here's what you need to know:

New and improved benefits and credits

New services

  • Express NOA – This new service delivers an instant assessment result message and provides a notice of assessment directly into the certified tax software the next day. To use the service, you must be registered for online mail and file electronically using a certified tax software.
  • Account alerts – As a fraud prevention measure, this new service notifies you by email when an address has changed, banking information for direct deposit has changed, or if mail sent to you by the Canada Revenue Agency was returned. You may register for this service through My Account or MyCRA mobile app.
  • Link between My Account and My Service Canada Account – You can now access these two accounts through a single sign-in session.
  • MyBenefits CRA mobile app – You can use the CRA's new web-based mobile app to securely view your next benefit payment dates and amounts, the status of your CCB application, update your marital status, and change information about children in your care. 

Enhanced services

  • Online mail – This service provides you with the option to sign up to receive certain CRA correspondence in your secure CRA My Account instead of by paper mail. Throughout 2016 additional types of correspondence were added to the online mail service, including benefit notices and slips, and instalment reminders.
  • Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) – The CVITP helps Canadians with modest income and a simple tax situation by preparing their tax returns free of charge. This year, we are recruiting more organizations and volunteers to help expand the program in more communities. Now more Canadians than ever can receive help to do their taxes and ensure they are receiving the credits and benefits they are eligible for.
  • Auto-fill my return – Enhancements to this service include extended log-in sessions so you can stay logged into the service for a longer period than before, more tax slips, and the use of the service for previous-year returns.
  • MyCRA mobile app –The MyCRA mobile app now allows you to update your marital status and sign up for account alerts.

Other changes

  • Income splitting tax credit – The family tax cut has been eliminated for the 2016 year and future tax years. However, if you are receiving a pension, you may be able to split your eligible pension income with your spouse or common-law partner to reduce your taxes.
  • Children’s fitness tax credit – For 2016, the maximum eligible fees in the year is reduced from $1,000 to $500, but the additional amount of $500 for children eligible for the disability tax credit has not changed. Therefore the maximum credit is reduced to $75 ($150 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit).
  • Children’s arts tax credit – For 2016, the maximum eligible fees in the year is reduced from $500 to $250, but the additional amount of $500 for children eligible for the disability tax credit will not change. Therefore the maximum credit is reduced to $37.50 ($112.50 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit).
  • Home accessibility tax credit (HATC) – For 2016 and subsequent tax years, you can claim a non-refundable tax credit for eligible expenses incurred for work performed or goods acquired for a qualifying renovation of an eligible dwelling of a qualifying individual.
  • Reporting the sale of your principal residence – Starting with the 2016 tax year, you are required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition (e.g. sale) and address) on your tax return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption. You do not have to pay tax on any capital gain when you sell your house if it was your principal residence for all the years you owned it and you did not use any part of it to earn income.

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