REGINA - The advantages of signing up for a Canada Revenue Agency online MyAccount can help make things easier for first-time tax filers.
“The MyAccount includes a direct portal to all information that the CRA has on file, including information from any past tax returns,” said Joanne de Waal, communications manager, Western Region, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). “The MyAccount also can track benefits, tax-free credits, and users can see when they are expected to receive those credits in real time.”
There are two different options of signing up for a CRA MyAccount. The first option is to use one of the sign-in partners, which includes online banking offered through many banks. “The sign-in partner option does not give CRA access to your online banking account, it is used more like a screen door. The benefits of being connected to an online banking account makes two-way transactions so much easier, including receiving a direct deposit from the CRA, or making payments,” said de Waal.
Another option to access MyAccount is through using a CRA user ID and password. Once the requested information is completed online, the Canada Revenue Agency will mail the user a security code, and a password. The user can change their password once they sign into MyAccount.
“That passcode can take up to two weeks to get to a registered user, so we encourage anyone who decides to use that option to register online soon,” noted de Waal.
First-time tax filers will have to complete a tax return before accessing a CRA MyAccount. They are able to use NetFile to complete a tax return, however the auto fill option of the program won't have any information to resource, and it will have to be inputted manually. Once the first-time tax filer receives their Notice of Assessment from the CRA, they will have the financial fields they require to get their vertification code for MyAccount.
The deadline to pay their taxes and file their return for 2022 is April 30, 2023. Because this date is a Sunday, a return will be considered filed on time if the CRA receives it, or it is postmarked, on or before May 1, 2023. A payment will be considered made on time if the CRA receives it, or a Canadian financial institution processes it, on or before May 1, 2023.
“That deadline is very important, as we use that date to determine any benefits or credits that might apply. That deadline is also very important if you need to pay back any taxes, as there are penalties for late payment,” said de Waal.
Tax filers who want to manage the task online are encouraged to access NetFile, as it works with certified software to send your information directly to the Canada Revenue Agency. NetFile will include a list of all the certified software, some of which are free.
One of the advantages of NetFile is the autofill option, which pulls all the information from T4s and other tax return files, and puts that information into the right spots on the tax return document. Users will also get an immediate confirmation that the CRA has received their tax return. “It can be a very comforting thing to receive that unique confirmation code, and know your tax return has been received,” said de Waal.
There is also the EFile system, which is primarily used by tax professionals or volunteers tax-filing organizations. Through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), community organizations host free tax clinics where volunteers file tax returns for people with a modest income and a simple tax situation.
There are also virtual clinics that offer digital assistance; to help tax filers understand the process of how to interpret a pay stub, learn about why taxes are paid and how they are used in communities, and walks residents through how to file a tax return. These Learn about Taxes self-study courses are available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
“There are still 1.3 million people who prefer to file using paper, and will receive their tax package in the mail,” noted de Waal. “We strongly encourage those who file using a tax package to get these in as early as possible, as they do need to be inputted on the other end.”
There is also a telephone FileMyReturn option, for low-income residents, which is used largely by seniors who require additional assistance.
As it can be common to make a mistake when filing taxes, the ReFile services will allow residents to add any additional information.
“Most of the software available for tax returns will allow a person to go back four to six years, depending on the software, in case you need to correct something from a previous tax filing year,” added de Waal.
With many options available to residents, the Canada Revenue Agency encourages residents to stay alert to the tax return deadline.