Filing options - Segment 9

Transcript

Host: Welcome to the segment called Filing options, part of the Canadian Students and Income Tax video

With me is Sandra Moore. Welcome Sandra.

Subject matter expert: Thank you.

Host: Okay, I've prepared my return and I understand there are several ways to file it. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Subject matter expert: The CRA provides several filing options including the electronic filing options known as NETFILE and EFILE.

You can also file your return on paper, of course.

Host: Can you tell us more about the NETFILE method of filing an income tax and benefit return?

Subject matter expert: Yes, NETFILE is a transmission service that allows you to file your personal income tax and benefit return directly to the CRA using the internet. You can only transmit your own tax return to the CRA using NETFILE.

Host: So how do you NETFILE?

Subject matter expert: NETFILING is included on commercially available tax preparation software programs. Once you complete your income tax and benefit return, the program gives you the option to NETFILE.

Host: Does the CRA recommend a particular tax preparation software program?

Subject matter expert: Although the CRA does not recommend one tax preparation software program over another, they do recommend using this method for completing your return. The program does all the calculations for you and even finds credits you may be entitled to but have overlooked.

Go to www.netfile.gc.ca/software to see a list of certified tax preparation software products. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: What are the advantages of using the NETFILE method?

Subject matter expert: You can receive refunds faster. Since NETFILE cuts out several manual steps, most electronic returns can be processed in about two weeks.

Your return is more accurate because a series of computer checks and balances are performed before your return is accepted for processing.

It's easy to pay. You can file your return early but you don't have to pay an amount owing until April 30th.

Host: Is this method of filing available to everyone?

Subject matter expert: There are a few restrictions to using NETFILE; for example, bankrupt individuals and non-residents generally can't use NETFILE.

If you are excluded from using NETFILE, you can still use a tax preparation software program to complete the return and then simply print it and mail it in with your information slips and receipts.

Host: Are these software programs expensive?

Subject matter expert: The programs vary in price but there are some free software packages available. A simple search of the internet will provide you with a few.

Host: You also mentioned EFILE; can you tell us how that works?

Subject matter expert: EFILING is done through a tax preparer who completes your return and files it for you electronically. There is a cost associated with this method.

The EFILING method has many of the same advantages as NETFILE; however, with EFILE you have a professional prepare your taxes for you and you can authorize your tax preparer to represent you.

See www.cra.gc.ca/representatives or ask your tax preparer for details.

For more information on EFILE go to www.cra.gc.ca/efile. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: What should I can't complete my return myself and I can't afford to hire someone to do it for me?

Subject matter expert: The CRA offers a program that might be able to help you.

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program works with community volunteer organizations across the country to help eligible individuals prepare their income tax and benefit returns for free.

Host: Who prepares the returns?

Subject matter expert: The CRA trains the volunteers associated with these organizations. The volunteers dedicate their time to helping eligible individuals prepare their income tax and benefit returns.

Host: That's really good to know, Sandra. How do I know if I'm eligible for this program?

Subject matter expert: You qualify for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, if you have low income, a simple tax situation and are unable to complete your return yourself.

Host: What would be considered a simple tax situation?

Subject matter expert: This generally refers to the complexity of your return. Volunteers do not complete returns for deceased persons, bankrupt individuals, or individuals who have capital gains or losses, employment expenses, or business or rental income and expenses.

Host: Can I have my return completed any time of the year?

Subject matter expert: Volunteer tax preparation clinics are generally offered between February and April of each year in various locations across Canada, but some operate year-round.

For more information about a tax preparation clinic near you, go to www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

For more information about the volunteer program in Quebec, which is jointly administered by the CRA and Revenu Québec, visit either www.revenuquebec.ca/benevole or www.cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

Host: So we've looked at filing options and where someone may be able to get help filing. What if I need to access my personal income tax information, is there anywhere I can go to do this on line?

Subject matter expert: Yes, you can visit the CRA website and use My Account to access your personal information.

Host: What type of information will I be able to access using My Account?

Subject matter expert: With My Account you can get information about your direct deposit, registered retirement savings plan, tax returns and carryover amounts, tax information slips and more. You can authorize a representative and change your address on-line as well.

There is such a vast amount of information you can see with My Account that it would be worthwhile to go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount and see for yourself.

The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: What are some of the tasks I can complete using My Account?

Subject matter expert: With My Account you can manage your personal income tax and benefit information online. You can:

  • change your returns;
  • change your address or telephone numbers;
  • apply for child benefits;
  • arrange your direct deposit;
  • authorize your representative;
  • set up a payment plan;
  • formally dispute your assessment or determination; and
  • change the marital status that the CRA has on file.

Host: My account allows me to change my address online. Why is this important?

Subject matter expert: It's important to keep your address updated at all times so that you don't lose or delay receipt of payments, such as your GST/HST credit or child tax benefits. You can also be sure to receive any information such as notices of assessment or reassessment or requests for further information from the CRA. Not responding to these requests promptly can delay the processing of any refunds and can also affect your GST/HST credit and child tax benefit payments.

Host: How do I access My Account?

Subject matter expert: To access My Account for the first time, you will be asked to register for a CRA user ID and password. This process is done in four steps. You will have to provide some personal information, create a CRA user ID and password, create security questions and answers and enter a CRA security code, which will be mailed to you. Now once you have completed the registration process, you will be able to access your personal information with My Account by simply simply logging in and using your CRA user ID and password.

Host: What if I'm getting a refund? Is there a faster way for me to get it, rather than waiting for the refund to come in the mail?

Subject matter expert: Yes Janice, by using direct deposit you will get your money faster and more securely. The payments will always be on time and there is no need to worry about having to be home to receive your cheques or making a trip to the bank to deposit them.

Host: What types of refunds can be made through direct deposit?

Subject matter expert: The types of refunds that can be deposited directly into your account include:

  • your income tax refund;
  • the goods and services tax or harmonized sales tax credit including those from certain related provincial or territorial payments;
  • the working income tax benefit advance payments;
  • any other overpayment of tax you're entitled to;
  • your Canada child tax benefit payments, including those from certain provincial or territorial programs; and
  • your universal child care benefit.

Host: What do I need to do to get direct deposit?

Subject matter expert: There are two ways you can request direct deposit. If you are registered for My Account, you can enroll for direct deposit immediately. Otherwise, you can choose the appropriate direct deposit form from the CRA website, fill it out, then mail it or drop it off to any tax centre or tax services office.

For more information on how to enrol for direct deposit and for a list of the request forms, go to www.cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.

The link is included in the related links for this segment.

Host: Thank you Sandra.

This concludes the segment called Filing options, part of the CRA's Canadian Students and Income Tax video. Thank you for watching.

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