Get ready to do your taxes

Plan ahead for tax-filing season. To avoid delays and to reduce your potential exposure to COVID-19, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) encourages you to sign up for direct deposit, and file online as early as February 22, 2021.

Deadline:

The deadline to file your return and pay your taxes is April 30, 2021.

If you’re self-employed or have a spouse or a common-law partner who is self-employed, the deadline to file your taxes is June 15, 2021. All taxes owed must still be paid by April 30, 2021.

Doing your taxes is easier than you think. There are many services available to help you this tax season.

Plan ahead this tax-filing season and avoid delays

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may delay your ability to file a return, slow down your assessment or impact your ability to receive a refund, benefits or credit payments. Therefore, we are encouraging you to file your return early this year.

Gather your information slips (such as your T4s), your receipts, your previous tax year’s notice of assessment, and a copy of last year’s return to use as a model.

You should have received most of your slips and receipts by the end of February. If you can’t get a slip to do your tax return or if you don’t receive your slips, you may be able to get them from your My Account as of February 2021.

If you previously registered for My Account to apply for 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), you should enter the security code you received in the mail when you first applied to access all of My Account’s features. If you have misplaced the security code, or it has expired, contact us to have a new CRA security code issued to you.

Sign up for direct deposit

When you sign up for direct deposit you can receive your refund in as little as eight business days, and you’ll avoid any mailing delays on future benefit and credit payments due to COVID-19. To help provide better service to Canadians, we have partnered with many Canadian financial institutions to offer CRA direct deposit enrolment online through your financial institution’s website.

Did you receive COVID-19 benefits this year?

If you received 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. You will need to file a return, and enter the total amount you received. For any such payments, 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.

You can view tax slips online as of February 2021 in My Account. If you use Auto-fill my return to file online, the information from these tax slips will be automatically entered into your return, saving you time and effort.

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, therefore you may owe this 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.

There may be impacts to filing your tax return that are specific to the COVID-19 benefit you received, or if you are a resident in Quebec.

Find out if you are eligible for benefits and credits

You may be eligible for certain benefits and credits, such as the Canada child benefit, the GST/HST credit, the disability tax credit and related provincial or territorial benefits and credits.

To apply for the disability tax credit, you can send us your T2201 application before you file your return, or at any time throughout the year. 

Visit the Tax-filing season promotional kit to get tax information that can help you file your return, and get all the benefits and credits to which you’re entitled.

Ways to do your taxes

File online to avoid delays

We encourage you to file online this year. If you choose to stay at home to practice social distancing and limit your potential exposure to COVID-19, you should consider filing your tax return online and use our digital services. By filing online and using our digital services, you can improve how fast your assessment is processed, and how quickly you will receive any refund or payments you are owed.

Certified software products are available to make online filing easy, and some are free. Go to canada.ca/netfile to view your options. Follow the directions to install the software and enter your tax information as requested. NETFILE is fast, easy, secure and convenient. If you are registered for My Account, you can also use Auto-fill my return to quickly fill in parts of your return with information the CRA has on file, so you don’t have to.

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers near you may be able to help you do your taxes for free. This year, volunteers may be able to complete and file your taxes virtually by videoconference, by phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement. Go to canada.ca/taxes-help for more information.

File my Return Service

If you have a low or fixed income, you may be able to use File my Return. It’s a service that lets you file your return by answering a series of short questions through a secure, dedicated, and automated telephone service. If you filed a paper return last year and are eligible to use File my Return, you will receive your personalized invitation letter in the mail, or with the 2020 income tax package that we will mail to you.

Filing by paper

If you filed your return on paper last year, the CRA will automatically mail you the 2020 Income tax and benefit package by February 19, 2021, but it may arrive later due to COVID-19 delivery delays. We appreciate your patience.

You can see, download and order forms and publications as of January 18, 2021, at canada.ca/taxes-general-package.

Starting February 5, 2021, you can call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305 to order forms and publications.

Looking for more information on how to do your taxes?

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to do your taxes

Once you’re ready to do your taxes, check out our step-by-step guide about how to get started. You will find the information you need, including a link to all the benefits and credits you may be entitled to. This page also includes instructions about how to send a payment if you owe taxes or change your return if you made a mistake.

Have tax questions?

Tax-filing season promotional kit

Tax information that can help you file and get all the benefits and credits you may be entitled to.

Questions and answers about filing your taxes

Get answers to frequently asked questions about filing your taxes, COVID-19 impacts this season, and digital services.

Join the conversation

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: