Getting ready to file your taxes by paper? Here’s what you need to know!
January 16, 2024
Canada Revenue Agency
We get it – people have different preferences when it comes to filing their tax returns. But no matter how you decide to file, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to making sure you get any refund, benefit, or credit payments that you may be eligible for!
Deadline for filing your income tax and benefit return
Circle April 30, 2024, on your calendar! This is the deadline for most Canadians to file their income tax and benefit return for 2023. You are considered to have filed on time as long as the CRA receives your return, or it is postmarked, by April 30. By filing your income tax and benefit return on time, you will avoid interruptions to your benefit and credit payments.
If you owe any money to the CRA, your payment is also due by April 30, 2024. By filing and making your payment on time, you will avoid a late-filing penalty and interest charges.
When you will receive your income tax package
If you filed on paper last year, the CRA should mail you the 2023 Income tax package by February 19, 2024.
The income tax package contains information and forms paper filers need to file their income tax and benefit return. To see what the package includes, go to Filing your income tax and benefit return on paper.
Individuals who want to file on paper but haven’t received a package by this date can:
- View, download, and print what they need online at canada.ca/taxes-general-package
- Order the package online at canada.ca/get-cra-forms
- Order a package by calling us at 1-855-330-3305 (non-residents can call 1-613-940-8495).
- Your social insurance number will be required
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. Information on the Changes to the 2023 Income tax package is available online.
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 automatic tax filing 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.
Consider filing online
Did you know that almost 93% of tax returns were filed electronically in 2023? Filing electronically is fast, as returns are generally processed within two weeks. On the other hand, it may take up to eight weeks to process a paper return.
To file electronically, you can use the CRA’s NETFILE service. Check out our list of NETFILE-certified tax software products, some of which are free. And to make the tax-filing process even easier, you can use Auto-fill my return. This is a secure CRA service that lets you automatically fill in parts of your return with information the CRA has on file at the time of the request.
When you use NETFILE-certified tax software products, you’ll also be able to use Express NOA. With this secure CRA service, you can view your notice of assessment (NOA) in your 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. And if you file electronically and sign up for direct deposit, you may get your refund in as little as eight business days!
You can also try many other digital services in My Account, where you’ll be able to:
- Change your return and your personal information the CRA has on file
- Submit documents and track the progress of your enquiries
- Check if you have any uncashed cheques
Get free tax help
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. Free tax 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 our Free tax clinics page.
How to get more information
If you need a quick answer to a question, you can ask Charlie the chatbot. Charlie will help you find the information you need to file your return! You can find Charlie on the CRA homepage and many of our other web pages on Canada.ca.
To get answers to frequently asked tax questions, you can go to our Get ready to do your taxes or Questions and answers about filing your taxes pages. The CRA will update these pages in late January 2024.
Canada Revenue Agency
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