Tax-filing season media kit
- What's new for the 2016 tax-filing season?
- What's new for tax professionals and tax preparers for the 2016 tax-filing season?
- Newly married? Living common-law? Recently divorced or separated? How your marital status impacts your taxes
- Seniors: Enjoy your golden years with these tax credits and benefits
- Tax changes to expect when you’re expecting
- Did you buy a home in 2015?
- It’s tax time and we have valuable information for you
- Managing the final tax returns for someone who has died
- Are you a newcomer to Canada?
- Top things families should know about taxes
- Taxes 101: Students earn "extra credits" this term!
- The Canada Revenue Agency offers a new service that automatically fills in parts of your tax return
- It’s tax time: Don’t panic. There is free tax help
- Enjoy the benefits of filing on time and online
- Five things to avoid when filing your return
- Do you owe income tax? Here’s how to make paying as easy as 1,2,3!
- Protect yourself – tax scams and fraud can cost you
- A second chance to correct your tax affairs
- Top questions we get at tax time
- Reminder – File and pay on or before the tax filing deadline to avoid any interest and penalties
- Reminder – Wednesday, June 15, 2016, is the deadline for self-employed individuals to file their 2015 income tax and benefit return
- What to do after you’ve filed your return
- Did you donate to a charity? You may be able to claim a charitable donation tax credit
- Are you self-employed? Know your tax obligations
- Did you have medical expenses? You may be able to claim them on your income tax and benefit return
- Last-minute filing tips
- Get your tax and benefit correspondence online—instead of in the mail!
Video: Filing online—fast, easy, and secure
Video: How to register for My Account
Video: New to Canada? Learn about taxes.
Disability Tax Credit
Questions and answers
What is the deadline to file the 2015 income tax return?
Most Canadian income tax and benefit returns for 2015 are due on April 30, 2016. However, since this date is a Saturday, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will consider your return as filed on time and your payment to be made on time if it receives your submission or it is postmarked by midnight on May 2, 2016. Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until June 15, 2016, to file their income tax and benefit returns, but any balance owing is still due no later than May 2, 2016.
Individual returns for 2015 filed by this date will not incur any late-filing penalty.
It is important to file your income tax and benefit return for 2015 on time and with accurate personal information to avoid any disruption in your benefit and credit payments.
What is the deadline to file if I am self-employed?
Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until midnight on June 15, 2016, to file their returns. However, any balance owing for 2015 must be paid on or before May 2, 2016.
Do I have to file an income tax and benefit return?
You must file a return if you owe tax for 2015. You should also file a return in order to claim a refund or to receive certain benefits and credits you may be entitled to, including the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit and the Canada child tax benefit.
When can I expect a refund?
The CRA usually processes paper returns in four to six weeks. However, when returns are filed electronically refunds can be received in as little as eight business days if you have direct deposit set up.
Which methods other than paper are available to file income tax and benefit returns?
The majority of Canadians now file their returns online. Electronic methods are convenient, easy-to-use, secure and available on demand, wherever you are in the world. To file online, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready and follow the steps.
The CRA maintains a list of certified desktop and online software products, and web service options, including those that are free of charge, at www.cra.gc.ca/netfile.
If you need help filing your income tax and benefit return, there are plenty of options available. The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) may be able to help you if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation. You can go to a community organization tax clinic where volunteers can prepare and file your return for you. For more information about the CVITP, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.
What is Auto-fill my return?
The CRA’s “Auto-fill my return” service is now available through some certified tax software. This service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must be fully registered for My Account. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/auto-fill.
Last year, how many returns were filed electronically versus by paper?
By mid-August, 82% of returns were filed electronically, and 18% of returns were filed on paper. To obtain the individual income tax return statistics for the 2015 tax-filing season, go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/t1stts-eng.html.
How long do I need to save my receipts or records?
Regardless of whether you file online or on paper, keep all supporting documents for your return for at least six years after the end of the tax year—this includes receipts to support any deduction or credit you claimed.
What are some of the benefits of using NETFILE?
NETFILE is an electronic tax-filing service that allows you to send your individual income tax and benefit return directly to the CRA using the Internet and a NETFILE-certified software product. NETFILE streamlines the tax-filing process and offers the following benefits:
- you can access the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service through some certified software;
- secure and confidential;
- faster refunds (In most cases, with direct deposit, you could receive your refund in as little as eight business days.);
- greater accuracy (With the use of some certified tax software, certain information is not rekeyed, so there is less chance of errors.);
- no paper return to mail;
- no receipts to send in (Receipts may be requested at a later date.); and
- immediate confirmation that your return has been received.
For more information go to www.cra.gc.ca/netfile.
Is my information safe online?
The CRA's secure online services make use of the highest level of online protection, which is the same technology used by banks and other financial institutions for their online services.
Would another person be able to get a refund using my information with NETFILE?
No. Filing an income tax and benefit return using NETFILE is a one way transaction of information. No taxpayer information (such as banking information, address, or social insurance number) can be viewed or changed through this process.
What methods are available to pay if I owe money?
There are various options to pay any amount owing.
- You can pay the CRA any amount owing at your financial institution, either in person or by using their Internet or telephone banking services.
- Pre-authorized debit is an online, self-service, payment option. Using this option, you can authorize the CRA to withdraw a pre-determined payment amount from your bank account to pay tax on one or more dates. You won’t have to remember to mail your payments again.
- The CRA's My Payment service is a secure and convenient online payment service that allows taxpayers and businesses to send a payment to the CRA from their bank account. Taxpayers can access My Payment through the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/mypayment. My Payment will be available for use with a debit card that has a Visa debit logo as of February 2016.
- Taxpayers can mail the CRA a cheque or money order payable to the Receiver General for Canada. You will need to include a personalized remittance voucher, which you can ask for online through My Account or by calling 1-800-959-8281.
- For more information on electronic payment methods, go to www.cra.gc.ca/payments.
Should I file my return on time if I owe money and can't afford to pay the outstanding balance immediately?
Yes, even if you cannot pay the full amount of your balance owing by May 2, 2016, you should file your return on time to avoid the late-filing penalty.
What if I cannot pay my balance owing?
If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe, you may be able to make a payment arrangement. Visit www.cra.gc.ca/collections for more information or call us at 1-888-863-8657 to discuss a payment arrangement with an agent.
What are the penalties for filing late or not paying a balance owing on time?
If you owe tax for 2015 and do not file your return for 2015 on time, we will charge you a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your 2015 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months.
If we charged a late-filing penalty on your returns for 2012, 2013, or 2014, your late-filing penalty for 2015 may be 10% of your 2015 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2015 balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.
Is direct deposit available?
Yes, you can have refunds and benefits deposited directly into your account at a financial institution. Often with direct deposit and online filing, individuals can receive their refund in as little as eight business days.
How do I start direct deposit?
There are several ways you can start direct deposit:
- online through My Account;
- by sending to the CRA a completed Canada Direct Deposit Enrolment Form to the address on the form; or
- by calling 1-800-959-8281.
As of February 2016, you can also sign up for direct deposit using the MyCRA mobile app.
For more information on how to request direct deposit, please visit: www.cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.
How do I change my address with the CRA?
If you move, notify the CRA of your new address as soon as possible. You can do this by using My Account by mail or fax, or by calling 1-800-959-8281. As of February 2016, you can also change your address using the MyCRA mobile app.
What is My Account?
My Account is a secure online service that lets you manage your income tax and benefit account. You can use My Account to:
- make a payment;
- track the status of your return;
- register for online mail;
- set up direct deposit
- view your T4 information, notice of assessment, and other information slips;
- check your benefit and credit payments dates and amounts;
- check the status of your Canada child tax benefit application, and information about the children in your care;
- check your RRSP deduction limit;
- monitor your tax-free savings account contribution room; and more.
This year, if you are registered for My Account, you can use the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service when you file online.
How do I register for My Account?
To register for My Account, you must provide some personal information, including your Social Insurance Number (SIN) as well as a piece of information from your most recently assessed tax return. You will be prompted to create a user ID and password, as well as to select security questions and answers. A CRA security code letter will be mailed to the address we have on file for you. If you have moved recently, contact us first to update your mailing address. Call our Individual Income Tax Enquiries or the e-Services Helpdesk to change your address.
You mayalso be able to register for My Account using a Sign-in Partner. This option lets you log in with a user ID and password you may already have, such as for online banking or another service provider. For more information, see Sign-in Partners Help and FAQs.
To learn more about logging in with a Sign-in Partner or about the registration process, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount. If you need help getting access to My Account, call 1-800-714-7257.
Can I register for online mail?
Yes, the CRA has an online mail service for individuals. This service is quick, easy, and secure. Once registered for online mail, individuals will receive their notices of assessment and reassessment, and some other types of correspondence online, instead of waiting for a paper version to come through the mail.
There are many ways you can register to receive online mail from the CRA:
- enter your email address on your T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2015;
- log in to My Account and select the “Manage online mail” service;
- contact us at 1-800-959-8281; or
- use the MyCRA mobile app.
Your legal representative can also register you for this service on your behalf.
To access your mail online, you must be registered for My Account, which is the only place to view your mail online. Once you have registered for online mail, you will no longer receive paper versions through the postal mail.
What is MyCRA?
MyCRA is a mobile application for individual taxpayers that lets you securely access and view key parts of your tax information such as your personalized benefit payments and the dates they are issued, notices of assessment and reassessment, tax return/refund status, contribution room for a registered retirement savings plan or tax-free savings account, as well the status of your Canada child tax benefit and information about the children in your care. MyCRA links to several webpages where you can quickly get information about income tax and benefit matters.
As of February 2016, MyCRA allows you to:
- update your contact details;
- enroll for direct deposit;
- register for online mail; and
- request proof of income.
To access your tax information on MyCRA, you will need to log in.
For more information on MyCRA and on how to register, go to www.cra.gc.ca/mobileapps.
Can anyone contact the CRA on my behalf to get my information?
No, taxpayer information is confidential. Therefore, if you want the CRA to deal with another person or persons as your representative for income tax matters, we need your consent.
How do I authorize a representative?
You can give us your consent by using My Account or by completing Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative. For more information, go to Authorize or cancel a representative.
Does the CRA ever use email to communicate with taxpayers?
The CRA will not send information about your refund or benefit payments by email, will not ask for personal information by email, and will not leave personal information on an answering machine. However, if you have registered for online mail, the CRA will notify you by email when new mail, such as your notice of assessment or notice of reassessment, is available for you to view online.
Where can I obtain forms and publications?
Although the CRA no longer mails personalized income tax and benefit packages, you can still file on paper. General income tax and benefit packages are available on the CRA's website at www.cra.gc.ca/forms, at Service Canada offices and Canada Post outlets, and by calling 1-800-959-8281.
What information is available for individuals who have questions about their taxes?
Individuals can get information from the following sources:
- Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS): 1-800-267-6999
- Telerefund: 1-800-959-1956
- General enquiries: 1-800-959-8281. Agents are available Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time. From February 15 to May 2, 2016, these hours are extended to 9:00 p.m. local time on weekdays to Saturdays (except Easter weekend) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time.
What assistance is available for small businesses?
Small businesses can get information from the following sources:
What is the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)?
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program helps individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation. For more information, please visit www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.
What types of tax credits and deductions are available?
- Children's fitness tax credit: A refundable tax credit of up to $150 per child for the cost of registering or membership in a prescribed program of physical activity (maximum $1000 in expenses).
- Family caregiver tax credit: A non-refundable tax credit of up to $314 for supporting an eligible infirm dependant.
- Children's arts tax credit: A non-refundable tax credit of up to $75 per child for the cost of registering or membership in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity (maximum $500 in expenses).
- First-time home buyers' tax credit: First-time home buyers can claim a non-refundable tax credit of $750 for the purchase of a qualifying home.
- Public transit tax credit: A non-refundable tax credit that can help individuals cover the cost of public transit.
- Pension income splitting: Pensioners may be able to split up to 50% of eligible pension income with their spouse or common-law partner and reduce their overall tax payable.
- Volunteer firefighter tax credit: Volunteer firefighters may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $450.
- Tradesperson's tools deduction: Tradespersons may be able to deduct from their income part of the cost of tools bought throughout the year.
- Child care expenses deduction: Parents may be able to deduct from their income the allowable amount of child care expenses.
- Family tax cut: For the 2015 tax year, couples with children under the age of 18 may be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000.
- First-time donor's super credit: From 2013 to 2017, first time donors may be able to claim up to $1,000 of donations of money made after March 20, 2013.
- GST/HST credit: A non-taxable quarterly payment that helps individuals 19 years or older, and families with low and modest incomes, offset all or part of the GST/HST that they pay. Individuals no longer have to apply for this credit. The CRA will determine eligibility and advise those who are eligible to receive the credit.
- Search and rescue volunteer tax credit: Search and rescue volunteers may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $450.
What are some common mistakes people make?
Common mistakes include the following:
- No reply sent – If you do not provide information requested within the time frame indicated on a letter, the CRA may deny or modify your claim based on the information it has.
- Receipts and documents not provided – If your return is selected for review, all requested receipts and supporting documents have to be provided. If they are not provided within the requested time frame, your claim may be reduced or disallowed.
- For more information about common mistakes, go to www.cra.gc.ca/commonadjustments.
It is important to tell the CRA as soon as possible of any change in your address information or direct deposit details. You are also required by law to tell the CRA about any changes to your marital status, which helps avoid any disruption in your benefit and credit payments.
What is a non-refundable tax credit?
Non-refundable tax credits reduce your federal tax. If the total of the non-refundable tax credits is more than your federal tax, you will not get a refund for the difference.
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