By Susan Munroe. Canada News Expert
Susan Munroe is a Canadian public affairs and communications professional. Read more
They call it NETFILE. and most Canadians can use it to file their income tax returns over the Internet.
The NETFILE service is open from February 9, 2015 to January 15, 2016. The hours of service are 21 hours a day, to allow for daily maintenance. Your 2014 income taxes are still due by midnight April 30, 2015.
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These products must be certified for NETFILE for the 2014 and 2013 tax years.
When you file your taxes online, you'll get an immediate confirmation that your return has been received. If you've made arrangements for direct deposit and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) owes you a refund on your income taxes, you should get a faster refund than if you file on paper, possibly within two weeks.
However, it's not quite as simple as hitting the send button on your email program, so leave some time to get prepared and to get comfortable with the system.
Eligibility to File Taxes Online
Although most income tax returns can be filed online, there are some restrictions. For example, you cannot use NETFILE
to file a return for a year before the 2013 or 2014 tax years
if you are a non-resident of Canada
if your Social Insurance Number or individual tax number begins with 09
if you went bankrupt in 2014 or 2015.
Software to File Taxes Online
To file your tax return online, you must prepare your income tax form using software or a Web application certified by the CRA for the current tax year.
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The CRA tests and certifies software between December and March, so it is usually at least late January before a commercial tax software package or Web application is put on the approved list of certified software. Be sure the software you plan to use is certified for the current tax year. If you purchase or download your income tax software before it is certified
by the CRA for use with NETFILE, you may have to download a patch from the software vendor.
Some software certified for use with NETFILE is free for individuals. Check the list of certified software and the vendor's site for specific details.
Identification for NETFILE
Your current address must be on file with the CRA before you send your income tax return by NETFILE. Here's how to change your address with the CRA. You won't be able to do it through NETFILE.
You will need to provide your Social Insurance Number and date of birth when you file.
You need to provide the location of your ".tax" file containing your tax return which you prepared using NETFILE-certified tax preparation software or Web application.
If you have concerns about the security of your personal and financial information in using NETFILE, please read the NETFILE Security page from the CRA.
NETFILE Confirmation Number
As soon as you send your income tax return online, the CRA does a very quick preliminary check of your return (in minutes usually) and sends you a confirmation number telling you that your return has been received and accepted. Keep the confirmation number.
Tax Information Slips, Receipts and Documents
Keep all the tax information slips, receipts and documents you use to prepare your income tax return. You do not need to send them to the CRA unless they ask to see them. Be sure you include your telephone number on your income tax return, so the CRA can contact you quickly. Your notice of assessment and tax refund may be delayed if the CRA has to contact you.
Getting Help with NETFILE
For help using NETFILE, consult the CRA's Online Help. The Frequently Asked Questions may be useful. If you still need assistance, call the CRA's e-Services Helpdesk .
Remember, if you run into problems you can still file the old-fashioned way - by getting an income tax package. filling in the paper form, attaching the schedules and receipts, and getting it to the post office in time to be postmarked by April 30, 2015.