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 11, 2013 to November 30, 2013. The hours of service are 21 hours a day, to allow for daily maintenance. Your 2012 income taxes are still due by midnight April 30, 2013.
To use NETFILE to file your income taxes, you first must prepare your tax return using a commercial tax preparation software package or Web application certified for NETFILE for the 2012 tax year.
With NETFILE you'll get an immediate confirmation that your return has been received, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) claims you'll get a faster refund, 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 using NETFILE, there are some restrictions. For example, you cannot use NETFILE
- to file a return other than for the current tax year (2012)
- if you are a non-resident of Canada
- if your Social Insurance Number begins with a zero
- if you went bankrupt in 2012 or 2013.
Please check the full restrictions list before you begin.
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. The CRA tests and certifies software between December and March, so it is usually at least late January before a commercial tax software package 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 with low or modest incomes. Check the list of certified software and the vendor's site for specific details.
You will need to use a secure browser with 128-bit secure sockets layer encryption (SSL). If you already use online banking, it's likely you have a compliant browser. If necessary, directions to upgrade your browser are available.
Your browser must also have cookies turned on.
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 no longer need a NETFILE access code to use NETFILE.
You will need to provide your Social Insurance Number and date of birth when you file.
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.
Getting Help with NETFILE
Remember, if you run into problems you can still file the old-fashioned way - by 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, 2013.