Filing your Canadian Taxes

Filing income taxes

2016 Income Tax fillingYour filing income taxes deadline is April 30th, and that means that it is once again time for Canadians to start collecting tax and earnings forms and figuring out their income taxes. For many young adults, immigrants, or non-residents, this is the first time they will file taxes so this article will address some common questions and information that may be helpful in the tax preparation process including: Why file? How to send your taxes in? As well as information about tax refunds.

Why File?

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) requires that qualifying adult Canadians file their taxes by midnight on April 30th. Failure to do so can lead to both interest and fines imposed by the CRA on any late payment or on unpaid payment portion. Further, a failure to pay the interest and fines can result in compounding interest and an escalating amount of fines, so it is easiest to just file on time. Taxes are typically filed in an effort to pay the balance of owed income tax and over payments of Employment Insurance and other benefits, but it can also be used to obtain benefits like the Guaranteed Income Supplement or the GST/HST credits.

What Are Your Filing Income Taxes Options?

Once the calendar year has ended and individuals are ready to file, the resident will need to obtain an income tax package from their local province, or the province in which the citizen resided on December 31st of the previous year. If the resident has filed taxes previously, this package will be mailed directly to them. If the resident has not filed taxes previously, the forms can be found online at the CRA website, or a printed package can be ordered either online or by phone. Typically, printed packages will be available in early February. If none of these options suit the taxpayer’s needs, he/she can always head to your local post office or income tax office and pick one up in person. The Canada Revenue Agency has provided a number of options one can use to file taxes including: by mail, by phone through TELEFILE, or online through NETFILE. Printed packages will contain the appropriate contact information for filing in each specific province.

Tax Refunds

Once the taxpayer files a tax return, he will be able to call for information about the processing of the Canadian income tax return and the arrival of his tax refund. Information usually becomes available for early filers by mid-March, while those who file after April 15 will have to wait four-to-six weeks to call for information. If the taxpayer files before April 15 with a paper return, the expected refund turnaround time is about four weeks. If the taxpayer uses TELEFILE or NETFILE services, the expected refund turnaround time is about two weeks. After April 15th, refund processing can take six-to-eight weeks, while TELEFILE or NETFILE refund processing time should stay at about two weeks. Before calling to check on the status of a refund, taxpayers should remember that they will need their Social Security number, previous and current tax return information, and the month/year of their birth.
In order to get their taxes filed and get their refund as quickly as possible, it is always recommended that taxpayers file their taxes early. Remember that one should always consult a tax professional with have questions or concerns regarding tax returns.