Three good reasons to file your tax return – even though the deadline has already passed

News release

May 5, 2021                             Ottawa, Ontario                                 Canada Revenue Agency

While the April 30, 2021 deadline for individuals to file their 2020 tax return has come and gone, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would like to remind Canadians that it’s still possible to file a return, and that there are several good reasons to do so.

1.      You may be eligible for a refund. This is only available by filing.

2.      You may be eligible for benefits or credits payments. Filing a tax return will ensure that the CRA is using the most accurate information to calculate benefit and credit payments. You could be eligible for certain benefit and credit payments, such as the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit, the Canada child benefit (CCB) or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The longer you wait to file, the more likely it is that payments will be interrupted.

3.      You could be at risk of interrupting your COVID-19 benefits. Filing a tax return reduces the risk of having your COVID-19 recovery benefit payments paused while your eligibility is validated. If you receive COVID-19 recovery benefits such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Student Benefit, Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit , or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, the CRA uses information from both your 2019 and 2020 returns to confirm your eligibility for these benefits.

This year, more than ever due to COVID-19, the CRA understands that individuals may find it difficult to meet their financial obligations, including filing and paying tax debts. The CRA is committed to helping them resolve these issues so they receive the benefits that come with filing a return.

The CRA recognizes that certain individuals have faced unique challenges this filing season, and the CRA will work with them to address situations on a case-by-case basis. If individuals cannot pay an existing debt in full, they may be able to make a payment arrangement, and if individuals are unable to meet their tax obligations due to circumstances beyond their control, they may also request the cancellation of penalties and interest charged to their account.

The importance of filing a return cannot be overstated, and individuals should know that it is still possible to do so. With these and other measures the CRA has put in place, those who have not filed a return yet should be able to do so quickly and easily. The CRA is here to help.


“We recognize this is a tax season like no other. The Canada Revenue Agency continues to be there to assist Canadians with their tax obligations during these difficult times. Even though the deadline has passed, it is still possible to file. Filing a tax return will ensure the CRA is using the most accurate information to calculate your benefit and credit payments. To help you, the CRA is offering additional support, such as targeted interest relief, payment arrangements, and the cancellation of penalties and interest. We remain committed to helping Canadians in their time of need. The CRA is here to help.”

-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

Quick facts

  • The fastest way to get your notice of assessment and any refund you are owed is to file online.

  • As is the case every year, some taxpayers need to adjust their returns after filing. Adjustments submitted electronically through ReFILE or Change My Return are usually processed within 2 weeks. Adjustment requests submitted on paper can take 10 to 12 weeks, and may take longer due to COVID-19. These service standards apply to routine adjustments only, as more complex requests may take longer to process.

  • Keep all your records for at least 6 years from the end of the tax year to support your claims, in case the CRA reviews your return.

  • There are many ways you can make a payment to the CRA, including the CRA’s My Payment service. If you owe money to the CRA but you can’t pay the full amount now, the CRA can work with you to set up a payment arrangement.

  • The CRA takes the protection of Canadians’ tax information very seriously. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada’s voluntary tax system. If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can check your account through our digital services online or by contacting the CRA directly.

  • 14.9 million refunds have been issued, with 79% of them being issued by direct deposit. The average refund is $1,845. Many Canadians who filed electronically and who were signed up for direct deposit got their refund in as little as 8 business days.

  • Over 462,000 returns have been filed through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, a program through which volunteers help Canadians with modest income and simple tax situations file their returns for free.

  • The CRA has certified 39 different tax preparation software products for use when filing a 2020 return. A list of certified tax software packages, some of which are free, is available online.

  • Canadians who prefer to use tax preparers or other professionals can choose from over 63,590 certified electronic filers registered with the CRA.

  • Note: All figures are valid as of May 4, 2021.

Associated links


Jeremy Bellefeuille
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of National Revenue

Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency


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