June 15, 2021, is the deadline for self-employed individuals to file their 2020 income tax and benefit return
June 3, 2021
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is here to support you and your business in meeting your tax obligations.
If you are a self-employed individual, or if your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, you have until June 15, 2021, to file your 2020 income tax and benefit return.
It is important to file on time if you receive COVID-19 recovery benefits such as the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, or Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. The CRA uses information from both your 2019 and 2020 returns to confirm your eligibility to receive these benefits. Filing on time avoids having your recovery benefit payments stopped while we validate your eligibility.
Who is considered self-employed?
Generally, you are a self-employed individual if any of the following apply to you:
- you carry on a trade, profession or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor
- you are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business
- you are otherwise in business for yourself (including a part-time business)
- if you participate in the platform economy, which includes economic and social activities facilitated by the use of technologies such as the Internet and mobile applications.
To determine if you are self-employed or an employee, go to our employee or self-employed webpage for more information.
What are my tax obligations as a self-employed individual?
If you earned self-employment income from a business that you operate yourself or with a partner, you have to report that income by filing a tax return.
When you're self-employed and you operate your business, you must pay the following:
- personal income tax on your net self-employed income
- Canada Pension Plan contributions on net self-employed income
- employment insurance contributions if you have registered to participate
Keep in mind that, no matter how you generate income, you have to report it on your tax return. If you don't report your income, it can result in penalties.
Reporting your income also means that the CRA will have the most accurate information on file to determine if you are eligible for provincial and territorial tax credits and benefits, the GST/HST credit and the Canada child benefit.
How do I file my tax return?
You can file online by using NETFILE or by having a tax preparer file your tax return through the CRA's EFILE service. We strongly encourage you to file your return online to get your refund faster and avoid any delays. Or, you can mail your paper return and supporting documents to your CRA tax centre. However, if you file a paper return, it may take 10 to 12 weeks to process it, due to possible COVID-19 delays.
Online services for business and self-employed individuals
The CRA has easy-to-use online services for businesses and self-employed individuals. You can use these services to file, make payments and get detailed information about your account.
Free tax help for small business owners and self-employed individuals
If you own a small business or are self-employed, the CRA offers you free liaison officer services by phone or videoconference. Liaison officers can make it easier to file by helping you understand your tax obligations, answering your questions and making sure you are aware of possible tax deductions. For more information, go to canada.ca/cra-liaison-officer.
Even if June 15, 2021 is your filing deadline, the deadline to pay any balance owing was April 30, 2021. If you have a balance owing, there are many convenient ways to pay:
- through your financial institution's online or phone banking service
- using the My Payment service, accessible from My Account or MyCRA, which lets you make payments to the CRA online with your Visa® Debit, Debit MasterCard® or Interac® Online debit card from a participating financial institution
- setting up a pre-authorized debit agreement through My Account and MyCRA to:
- make preauthorized payments to the CRA from your account at a Canadian financial institution
- pay an overdue amount or make instalment payments
- by credit card, PayPal, or Interac e-Transfer through a third-party service provider
- in person at any Canada Post outlet using cash or a debit card, with a QR code you can create using My Account or MyCRA
- in person at a Canadian financial institution with a remittance voucher
If you cannot pay in full, contact the CRA to set up a payment arrangement to pay your balance owing over time.
To learn more about your payment options, go to canada.ca/payments.
Keep receipts and documents
It is important to keep in-depth records of the money you make and spend. Your records must give enough detail to determine the tax you owe and support any deductions you are claiming. They must be supported by original documents.
Sometimes the CRA reviews returns to make sure that income, deductions and credits are properly reported. If the CRA reviews your return, having your receipts and records on hand will make it easier for you to support your claims.
New extended hours for Business enquiries line and Part XIII tax line
To give businesses more time to have their questions answered, our Business enquiries line is now open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our Part XIII tax line is now open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
More help for your business
The Canada Business App simplifies access to government services for small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. Designed with business owners in mind, the app puts government programs and services at your fingertips. Download it now on the App Store or Google Play.
More filing tips
For more tips and helpful information, go to our tax tips for self-employed individuals.
Canada Revenue Agency
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