The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not start processing Canadian income tax returns until the middle of February. No matter how early you file your income tax return, you will not be able to get information on the status of an income tax refund until the middle of March. You should also wait until at least four weeks after you file your return before checking on the status of an income tax refund. If you file your return after April 15, wait six weeks before you check.
Processing Times for Tax Refunds
The length of time it takes the CRA to process your income tax return and refund depends on how and when you file your return.
Processing Times for Paper Returns
Paper returns usually take four to six weeks to process.
For paper tax returns filed before April 15, wait four weeks before you check on your refund.
For paper tax returns filed after April 15, wait six weeks before you check.
Processing Times for Electronic Returns
Tax Returns Selected for Review
Some income tax returns, both paper and electronic, are selected for a more detailed review before they are assessed, as well as afterwards. The CRA may ask you to submit documentation to verify claims you submitted. This is not a tax audit, rather it is part of CRA efforts to identify and clarify common areas of misunderstanding in the Canadian tax system. If your tax return is selected for a review, it will slow down the assessment and any refund.
There is more detailed information on CRA tax reviews at Review of your tax return by the CRA.
Information Required to Check on Your Tax Refund
To check on the status of your income tax refund you need to provide the following information:
your Social Insurance Number
the month and year of your birth
if you call before May 1, 2014, you need the amount entered as Total Income on line 150 of your income tax return for 2012. If you call after May 1, 2014, you need the amount entered as Total Income on line 150 of your tax return for 2013. (It's just as well to have both handy.)
Check on Your Tax Refund Online
Use the Quick Access tax service provided by the CRA to get immediate access to information on your income tax refund.
You can also check on the status of your income tax refund using the My Account tax service.
Check on Your Tax Refund by Automated Phone Service
You can use the automated Telerefund service on the Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) to find out if your return has been processed and when to expect your refund cheque.
The TIPS phone number is
The Telerefund service is also available at