Filing a 2012 income tax and benefit return
There are different ways to file your tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): online; on paper; and with assistance.
Go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready and follow these three easy steps:
- Get ready: gather receipts, T4s and other slips, and a copy of last year’s return to use as a model.
- Get certified tax software and enter your information: see the list of software options at www.netfile.gc.ca/software. These are software packages from private companies, some of which are free of charge. Follow the directions to install the software, then enter your tax information as you are prompted for it.
- File your return online with the CRA: When you have finished entering your tax information into the software, the program should direct you to the CRA’s NETFILE service. The process is similar to writing an email, then sending it. If your software program does not redirect you, go to www.netfile.gc.ca and follow the instructions for securely filing your return online. NETFILE uses the same high levels of online security that Canadian financial institutions use. Generally, you will only need to identify yourself with your social insurance number and date of birth. If you have technical difficulties while filing, contact the CRA’s E-Services Helpdesk at 1-800-714-7257.
Filing on paper
- You can print the 2012 income tax package from the CRA’s Web site. Go to www.cra.gc.ca and search “2012 tax return”.
- From February to May, tax packages will be restocked continuously at Canada Post outlets and Service Canada offices. If your local office is temporarily out of stock, please check back again soon. If you need a copy immediately of the T1 General income tax and benefit package for 2012, you can download and print one from our Web site, order one online, or call 1-800-959-8281. If you would like several copies, we suggest you place your order directly with the CRA, either online or by phone.
- If you don’t have access to the Internet, or you don’t live close to a Canada Post outlet or Service Canada office, you can call the CRA to order an income tax package at 1‑800‑959‑8281.
Filing with assistance
If you need help filing your income tax return, there are plenty of options available.
- The CRA’s Web site has many resources to guide you through filing season. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready for everything you need, including easy to understand videos and step-by-step instructions.
- Taxpayers with modest incomes can also go to a tax clinic where a volunteer will help them complete their returns. This program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). For more information about the program, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.
- If you have questions about how to complete your return, you can watch our tax information video Preparing Your Income Tax and Benefit Return at www.cra.gc.ca/videogallery.
- You can also call the CRA at 1‑800‑959‑8281 if you have questions about how to file your tax return.
Pay the amount owing to the CRA
Pay the amount owing electronically:You can pay the CRA any amount owing by using your financial institution’s Internet or telephone banking services or by using the CRA’s My Payment service (through participating financial institutions). Go to www.cra.gc.ca/payments for more details.
Pay the amount owing through your financial institution: You can take your remittance voucher directly to a financial institution.
Pay the amount owing by cheque: If you need to pay by cheque, make it payable to the Receiver General for Canada and include the appropriate remittance voucher containing your social insurance number and tax year. Send your cheque and remittance voucher to the Canada Revenue Agency, 875 Heron Road, Ottawa ON K1A 1B1. If you do not have a remittance voucher, make sure to print your SIN and tax year on the front of your payment.
Top five questions
Q1: How do I update my address information or my marital status with the CRA?
A1: If you’ve moved or recently changed your marital status, it’s important to tell the CRA as soon as possible to avoid any disruption in the benefit payments you may be receiving.
There are several ways you can inform the CRA of a change of address and/or marital status:
- by Internet, if you are registered with the My Account service;
- by phone: call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281; or
- by mail: fill out Form RC325, Address change request, available at www.cra.gc.ca/newaddress, or fill out Form RC65, Marital status change request, to change your marital status, or send a letter or fax to your tax centre. Be sure your letter includes your signature, social insurance number, new address, and/or your new marital status and the date of the change.
Q2: I haven’t received my tax refund or benefit payment. When will I receive it?
A2: When you file electronically, the CRA can process your return faster, which means you get your refund sooner. When you combine online filing with direct deposit, you may receive your refund in as little as eight business days.
When you file a paper return, it can take four to six weeks to get your refund.
If you are registered with My Account, you can get information about the status of your refund online. You usually have to wait at least eight business days after you file your return for information to be updated. You can also call the CRA Tele-refund service at 1‑800‑959‑1956 to obtain information about your income tax refund.
For information about benefit payments dates, such as the Canada child tax benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales taxes (GST/HST) credit, the universal child care benefit, and the advance payment of the working income tax benefit, see the Benefit payments section on the right side of the CRA home page at www.cra.gc.ca.
Q3: I’m missing an information slip (T4, T5, etc.) to complete my return. What should I do?
A3: You can expect to receive most of your slips by the end of February. However, T3, T5013, and T5013A slips may not be sent until the end of March. If you have not received a slip, or have misplaced a slip for the current year, you can get your slip information in one of two ways:
- If you are registered for My Account, some information could be online as early as February 11.
- If you are not registered for My Account or if your information is not available online, you can ask your employer, or the issuer of the slip, for a copy.
If you would like to register to My Account, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount.
Even if you are missing information slips, you must file by the deadline to avoid penalties and interest charges. If you think that you won’t receive your slips before the filing deadline, estimate the amount of your income using any pay stubs or statements you might have. If you are filing electronically, keep all of your documents in case the CRA asks to see them. If you are filing using paper, enter the estimated amounts on the appropriate lines of your return. Also include the stubs or statements you used for your estimate.
Q4: I already filed my return and I want to make a change. What do I do?
A4: If you need to make a change to any return you sent to the CRA, do not file another return for that year.
Wait until you receive your notice of assessment and then request the change.
To make a change to your return online:
- If you are registered with My Account, you can make the changes online yourself. Go to My Account and select Change my return. You can then enter and submit any changes to your most recent return, or to your returns of the previous two years, and they will be sent directly to the CRA’s processing systems.
To make a change to your return by mail:
- To make a change by mail, you need to complete the following two documents and send them to your tax centre:
- Form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request, or a signed letter providing the details of your request (including the years of the returns you want the CRA to change), your social insurance number, your address, and a telephone number where the CRA can reach you during the day; and
- supporting documents for the changes you want to make and, if you have not sent them to the CRA before, supporting documents for your original claim.
The CRA processes most adjustment requests received electronically within two weeks, and most of those received by mail within eight weeks. For more information about making a change to your return, go to www.cra.gc.ca/changereturn.
Q5: When and where is the next Community volunteer income tax program clinic in my area?
A5: Volunteer tax preparation clinics are generally offered between February and April of each year. For more information on the program and to find a community volunteer tax clinic close to you, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.