Filing your income tax and benefit return on paper
File by April 30, 2024, to avoid interruptions or delays to your benefit and credit payments. These payments may include the Canada child benefit, GST/HST credit, and child disability benefit, as well as related provincial and territorial benefits.
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Income tax package content and delivery
If you filed on paper last year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should mail you the 2023 Income tax package by February 19, 2024.
The package you should receive includes:
- A letter from the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of Revenue
- Two copies of the income tax and benefit return
- Forms you may need to complete your income tax and benefit return, including Form 428 for provincial or territorial tax (except for the province of Quebec)
- Inserts or forms, depending on eligibility
- A return envelope
If you don’t receive your package by February 19, 2024, you can:
- View, download and print the package at canada.ca/taxes-general-package
- Order the package online at canada.ca/get-cra-forms
- Order a package by calling the CRA at 1-855-330-3305 (non-residents can call 1-613-940-8495)
- Your social insurance number will be required
It can take up to 10 business days for publications and forms to arrive by mail. Orders placed before February 13, 2024, will be mailed as soon as the 2023 publications are printed and ready to ship.
Changes to the 2023 Income tax package
You may have noticed that the package you received is thinner than usual. This is because, starting in 2024, the CRA will no longer print line-by-line instructions in the paper package.
The CRA made this change after hearing feedback from individuals who file on paper. The majority of these individuals confirmed that they rarely use the line-by-line instructions when filing. Instead, they indicated that they rely on information from prior year returns and the “What’s New” section of the income tax package. By making this change, the CRA will reduce each paper package by approximately 30 pages, or about 20%. This also supports the CRA’s commitment to sustainable development and the government's efforts to go green.
Important information will still be included within the income tax package. This has been given a higher profile and moved to the first six pages of the income tax package. Such information is related to:
- Preparing returns for deceased persons
- Important due dates
- Penalties and interest
- Ways to file a tax return
- Free tax clinics
- CRA contact information
- What’s new for your province/territory
While no longer printed in the paper package, you will still be able to find information related to the topics below online:
- Before you file
- Completing your return
- Supporting documents
- After you file your return
- Digital services for individuals
- Retirement income summary table
- Provincial/territorial benefits for individuals and families
- Completing your provincial/territorial forms
If you need more information, you will find URLs in the income tax package that will lead you to relevant web pages. We have optimized web pages on Canada.ca to be more user-friendly, with user experience-tested improvements. This includes increased findability, so you can easily get the information you need to file by paper, or by any other method you choose.
If you wish, you can still read and print line-by-line instructions on Canada.ca. If additional information or assistance is required, you will find alternative support through our Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and the CRA’s contact centres. These options are available to ensure no one is left behind.
SimpleFile by phone
In previous years, you may have received an invitation in your tax package to use the CRA’s automated phone service, SimpleFile by phone (formerly File My Return). This year, if you are eligible, the CRA will automatically send you an invitation in the mail or notify you by email.
Through this service, you’ll be asked to verify some personal information and answer a series of short questions. You do not need to speak to an agent to use the SimpleFile by phone service. Answers to the questions are provided using your phone's keypad.
SimpleFile uses the information in the CRA’s systems at the time of the call and the answers you provide, to auto-file your income tax and benefit return over the phone. It is free, secure, and easy to use. There are no forms to fill out or calculations to do. The invitation letter you receive provides the information you need to use the service.
Benefits of filing online
Even if you filed on paper last year, consider filing your 2023 tax return online. There are many advantages:
- You get your refund faster
- Electronic returns are generally processed within two weeks. However, for paper returns, our service standard is to process them within eight weeks of receipt. Paper returns are processed in the order in which they are received. If you file electronically and are signed up for direct deposit, you may get your refund in as little as eight business days. You can file electronically starting on February 19, 2024.
- You get immediate confirmation
- Immediately after you submit your tax return electronically, you will receive confirmation that the CRA received it. And with Express NOA, you can view your notice of assessment (NOA) in NETFILE certified-tax software right after the CRA receives and processes your return, seconds after filing. To use Express NOA, you must be registered for My Account.
- You don’t have to send receipts with your return
- If the CRA selects your return for review, you may have to provide receipts at that time. The CRA’s process for selecting returns for review is the same whether the return is filed on paper or online.
- It’s secure
- The CRA uses a high level of online protection, which includes the same technologies used by banks and other financial institutions. Plus, your tax return goes directly from your computer to our servers in an encrypted format.
If you’re registered for My Account, you can also use Auto-fill my return to automatically fill in parts of your return with information the CRA has on file at the time of the request. You can also use My Account to easily change your address, phone number or other personal information that the CRA has on file.
If you choose to file your return electronically, you can use NETFILE certified tax preparation software products, some of which are free. Before filing, you’ll be asked to enter your eight-character alphanumeric access code. You can find this unique code on your last notice of assessment. It’s located on the first page of the notice, on the right-hand side beneath the Notice details box. For more information on filing online, go to canada.ca/netfile.
You may also be able to make online changes to your return by using the ReFILE service in your certified tax preparation software. You can also use our Change my return service available in My Account.
Free tax clinics
If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers at a free tax clinic may be able to complete your tax return. These clinics are available in-person or virtually. Find out about the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (or the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program in the province of Quebec) by going to canada.ca/taxes-help.
If you need help or have questions
Go to Get ready to do your taxes for a list of what you need to know before you file your taxes. For answers to frequently asked questions about filing a return, go to canada.ca/cra-questions-answers. The CRA will update these pages in late January 2024.
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