Tax Time - The top questions & answers this tax season
The CRA has answered questions that many Canadians have been asking as we enter a unique tax season. Below are the answers to the top questions that we’re asked, as well as some answers about COVID-19 benefits.
How do the COVID-19 benefits impact your income tax return?
If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) payments, these are considered taxable income, and you will have to enter on your return the total of the amounts you received. You will receive a T4A (for benefits issued by the CRA) and/or a T4E (for benefits issued by Service Canada) tax slip in the mail with the information you need for your return. You can view tax slips online as of February in My Account. Residents of Quebec will receive both a T4A and RL-1 slip.
In addition, you may owe tax when filing your return. This will depend on your personal circumstances, and the type of COVID-19 benefits you received:
If you received the CERB or CESB, no tax was withheld when payments were issued, and you may owe tax when filing your 2020 tax return.
If you received the CRB, CRSB, or CRCB, 10% tax was withheld at source. However, this may not be all the tax you need to pay. When you complete your personal income tax return, you may need to pay more (or less), depending on how much income you earned in 2020.
We recognize that for some individuals, repaying these benefits could present significant financial hardship. For this reason, payment arrangement parameters have been expanded to give Canadians more time and flexibility to repay based on their individual financial situations.
There may be other impacts to filing your tax return that are specific to the COVID-19 benefit you received, or if you are a resident in Quebec.
How do you register for My Account?
To register for My Account, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account and select “CRA register.”
You will need to provide:
your social insurance number
your date of birth
your current postal or zip code
an amount you entered on your income tax and benefit return (the amount requested changes, and it could be from the current tax year or the previous one)
If you previously registered for My Account to apply for COVID-19 benefits, you are encouraged to enter the security code you received in the mail to access all of My Account’s features.
How do you register for direct deposit?
The CRA encourages Canadians to register for direct deposit to reduce any delays in receiving your refund, or benefit or credit payments due to COVID-19. You can register for direct deposit through many financial institutions or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
Where do you get your tax slips?
Tax slips for the filing year are prepared by your employer or from other payers, such as your pension providers or financial institutions. If you’ve lost a slip or haven’t received one, ask your employer/payer for it.
For COVID-19 benefits recipients, you will receive a T4A (for benefits issued by the CRA) and/or a T4E (for benefits issued by Service Canada) tax slip in the mail with the information to enter on your return. Residents of Quebec will receive both a T4A and RL-1 slip.
Registering for My Account may give you access to copies of your tax slips online. My Account will also give you access to use Auto-fill my Return, which quickly fills in parts of your return with the information the CRA has on file, including the tax slips for your COVID-19 emergency benefits.
If you’re still missing information, you can use pay stubs and statements to estimate the amount of income to use when completing your income tax and benefit return. To avoid penalties and interest, file your return by the due date.
If you’re looking for slips from previous years, you can get them through My Account.
What is your balance owing or where is your refund?
If you have a refund, you will also find the refund method, the date it was sent, and the amount refunded.
If you have questions about your refund, you can call the Tax Information Phone Service at 1‑800-267-6999.
How can you get a copy of your notice of assessment (NOA) or reassessment?
With COVID-19, as it is every year, the fastest way to get your NOA is through the Express NOA service. The NOA is available in certified software right after the CRA has received and processed your return, which in most cases is seconds after filing. To use the Express NOA service, you have to sign up for My Account.
Once you’re registered for My Account, you’ll be able to view and print information about an assessment or reassessment of your income tax and benefit return. You can view NOAs for the current year, as well as the previous 11 years.
You can choose to receive your tax correspondence online through My Account’s email notifications service. Register through My Account or the MyCRA mobile app by selecting “Notification preferences” or by entering your email address on your income tax and benefit return. Through the service, you will receive an email when your notice of assessment or reassessment, and other CRA correspondence, is available to view online.