Overview of what's new

Find out about the latest program updates, the 2021 tax-related changes and important reminders on security requirements.

Some program related updates include:

Review all of What’s new to find the information you need.

Free tax clinics

Through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), community organizations host free tax clinics where volunteers file tax returns for eligible people.

Here’s what’s new for free tax clinics:

Virtual clinics

We are pleased to announce that we will continue to support virtual clinics for the 2022 filing season.

Virtual clinics provide an option, which follows physical distancing guidelines, for volunteers who want to continue serving their community by helping others complete their tax returns. Additionally, your organization can choose to host a virtual Northern communities clinic that serves individuals residing in northern communities (prescribed zones) within Canada. Any approved CVITP organization across Canada, willing to offer tax filing services to northern communities, can now communicate this information in their clinic posting(s) on Canada.ca

For more information on virtual clinics, please refer to the Important note: CVITP Virtual clinics – Guidelines and resources for volunteers .

EFILE services

EFILE is an automated service that allows approved tax-preparers to send individual income tax return information to the CRA , directly from the EFILE certified tax-preparation software. Here’s what’s new for EFILE:

Tax years accepted by EFILE

EFILE will accept electronic filing for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 tax returns.

Important dates for the filing season starting in February 2022

EFILE transmission services are open from February 21, 2022 until January 27, 2023.

Note

It is no longer possible to electronically transmit Income Tax and Benefit returns for 2016 and the years prior.

Reminders

You must only apply for an EFILE number if you intend to file returns electronically.

Volunteers must provide their organization with a valid police records check that has been issued within the last three years if they :

  • plan to paper file
  • will be handling personal tax information
  • will be using the Auto-fill my return service

Volunteers who are approved to file electronically are not required to provide a police records check, unless they are using the Auto-fill my return service.

For more information on EFILE, go to EFILE for electronic filers.

Auto-fill my return service

Auto-fill my return (AFR) is a secure CRA service that can be used to automatically fill in parts of an individual’s federal Income Tax and Benefit Return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing.

The Auto-fill my return section of the CVITP site has undergone a transformation this year so be sure to check it out to keep up to date with all the latest improvements.

CVITP volunteers will continue to have the ability to use the Auto-fill my return service when completing tax returns for 2017 and subsequent years.

Reminder

To use AFR , you will need a valid police records check. For the purposes of the CVITP , a police records check is considered valid if it was issued within the past three years. If your police records check was issued more than three years ago, you will require a new one.

Troubleshooting

If you are currently using Windows 11, and you are experiencing problems with Auto-fill my return:

Older versions of UFile relied on Internet Explorer to access AFR . However, with the recent release of Windows 11, Microsoft Edge has replaced Internet Explorer.

You can install the latest update to UFile which has added support for the Microsoft Edge browser. Download the latest update from UFILE CVITP by clicking on the tax year. Select the downloaded file, click to install and follow the instructions.

Note

  • There is no need to uninstall UFile before downloading the file.
  • The Get Latest Updates or Automatic Updates will not provide the update, you must download it from the website.
  • This issue is specific only to Windows 11. Prior versions of Windows (10, 8, 7) are not impacted.

The 2021 version is currently undergoing the certification process and should be available to the public on February 17.

Multi-factor authentication

Last year, the CRA introduced new multi-factor authentication (MFA) to enhance the security of its sign-in services and the protection of taxpayer information. Please be advised that enrollment in MFA is now mandatory for all taxpayers using CRA’s sign-in services. This includes CVITP volunteers using the Auto-fill my return or Represent a client services.

Cancelling mandatory enrollment status is no longer permitted under any circumstances. If you want the ability to access any CRA online services, you will need to enroll in MFA .

UFile CVITP

The software used to prepare tax returns for the CVITP is a customized version of UFile (UFile CVITP). Here’s what’s new for UFile CVITP 2021:

Effective for the 2022 filing season, UFile CVITP software CDs will be replaced with USB flash drives.

For more information on how to use the UFile CVITP software, visit UFile overview.

Income Tax and Benefit Return

In this section we have outlined some of the changes made to the 2021 Income Tax and Benefit Guide and tax package:

Tax package changes

Several changes have been made to the 2021 tax package, such as making the guide easier to read and moving the text for some income, deductions, and credits to the Federal Worksheet and schedules. You can also find more information about the lines on the return by going to canada.ca/line-xxxxx and replacing "xxxxx" with any five-digit line number from the return.

For example, go to canada.ca/line-10100 for information about line 10100. If you need information that is not provided in this tax package, call 1-800-959-8281.

Reminder

Direct deposit enrollment forms are no longer included in the tax packages. However, the option is still available for returns that are filed electronically through EFILE.

For more information on direct deposit, go to canada.ca/direct-deposit .

Notice of assessment

Sometime in 2022, the CRA will begin the process of switching to electronic notices of assessment or reassessment. Taxpayers served under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program/Income Tax Assistance -Volunteer Program will however, continue to have the option to receive a paper notice of assessment/reassessment. Please note that the CRA encourages the use of My Account and the retrieval of notices electronically where feasible.

Income

Here are the changes to income reported on a tax return for 2021:

Amounts received related to COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19, many individuals who were directly affected, received emergency benefits that provided them with financial support during the pandemic.

These payments are considered taxable income. The total amount received must be reported on the individual’s tax return.

For such payments, they will receive a T4A (for benefits issued by the CRA) or a T4E (for benefits issued by Service Canada).

If the individual received federal, provincial, or territorial government COVID-19 benefit payments, such as the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), they will receive a T4A slip with instructions on how to report these amounts on their return. These slips are also available in My Account.

If the individual received the CRB, they may have to repay all or part of the amount received if their net income after certain adjustments is more than $38,000. The repayment is calculated using the chart for line 23500 of the Federal Worksheet.

If the individual’s income related to COVID-19 was tax exempt under section 87 of the Indian Act, they will need to complete Form T90, Income Exempt from Tax under the Indian Act, as well as their 2021 Income Tax and Benefit Return or simplified return to claim the tax withheld on their payments. For more information, go to Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples.

For more information on COVID 19 and screen-by-screen instructions, visit the frequent client scenario CRA and COVID-19, found on the volunteer training page.

Note

For Indigenous peoples, COVID-19 benefits are taxable to the same extent as the income that made the recipient eligible to receive the benefit. For more information on the tax treatment and how to report the COVID-19 benefits for a Status Indian, see CRA and COVID-19.

One-time payment for older seniors

This one-time payment provided financial support through a taxable payment of $500 to older seniors in August 2021. They received the one-time payment if they:

  • were born on or before June 30, 1947, and
  • were eligible for the Old Age Security pension in June 2021

Eligible individuals who have already applied for the Old Age Security, would have automatically received the one-time payment for older seniors as early as the week of August 16, 2021.

Important note

Applications for the Old Age Security pension can be approved retroactively to June 2021 (or earlier) and this one-time payment will be received when Old Age Security pension payments begin. However, individuals must apply for the Old Age Security pension before May 31, 2022, or they will not be eligible for this one-time payment.

For more information, see One-time payment for older seniors.

Line 13010 – Taxable scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and artists’ project grants

Beginning in 2021, postdoctoral fellowship income would be included as earned income for registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) purposes. This change would provide postdoctoral fellows with additional RRSP contribution room in order to make deductible RRSP, pooled registered pension plan (PRPP), or specified pension plan (SPP) contributions. This measure would apply retroactively to 2011. An individual can request an adjustment request to the CRA to have their RRSP contribution room adjusted.

Students who receive scholarships and bursaries (as well as fellowships, study grants, and artists’ project grants and awards) will have these amounts reported on a T4A slip. Generally, the income they received will be reported in box 105.

For information on how to enter scholarships and bursaries in UFile, visit our screen-by-screen instructions; from the Students topic.

Deductions

Here are the changes related to deductions claimed on a tax return for 2021:

Line 21400 – Child care expenses

Child care expenses are deductible if the child was under 16 years of age or had an impairment in physical or mental functions at some time in 2021, and if the use of child-care services allowed the individual looking after an eligible child to:

  • earn income from employment;
  • carry on a business either alone or as an active partner;
  • attend school under the conditions identified under Educational program;
  • carry on research or similar work, for which you or the other person received a grant.

For 2020 and 2021, the requirements above do not have to be met if the individual was entitled to receive, in the year, any federal, provincial, or territorial government COVID-19 payments for which they have received a T4A or T4E slip, employment insurance benefits, employment insurance special benefits, or Quebec parental insurance plan benefits. The child must have lived with them or the other person when the expense was incurred for the expense to qualify.  

For more information, see What are child care expenses?

Line 23210 - Federal COVID-19 benefits repayment

If the individual repaid federal COVID-19 benefits (CERB, CRB, CRCB, CRSB or CESB) in 2021 that they received in 2020, they can claim a deduction for the repayment.

If they received their CERB:

  • from the CRA, the amount repaid will be reported in box 201 of their T4A slip
  • from Service Canada, the amount repaid will be reported in box 30 of their T4E slip, along with other EI amounts repaid. Service Canada will also send them a letter showing the exact portion of the amount in box 30 that is CERB repayment.

The individual can claim a deduction for the federal COVID-19 benefits repayment in any of the following ways:

  • on line 23210 of their 2021 return
  • on line 23200 of their 2020 return
  • on both their 2020 and 2021 returns as long as the total amount claimed is not more than the combined amounts reported in box 201 of their T4A slip and the letter from Service Canada

Note

If the individual received their CERB from Service Canada and chooses to claim all or part of their deduction on line 23200 of their 2020 return, they must subtract the portion they are claiming in 2020 from box 30 of their T4E slip for 2021.

Note

If the individual wants to claim a deduction on their 2020 return but it has already been assessed, they will have to request an adjustment. For more information, please see How to change a return.

Northern residents deductions

The deduction for travel benefits has expanded to include eligible northern residents who take a trip even if their employer does not provide travel benefits for personal travel.

Individuals can take up to two trips for non-medical reasons and any number of trips for medical purposes. The individual can calculate the travel deduction for each trip by either using a portion of a $1,200 standard amount per person or the value of the taxable travel benefit received from employment.

For more information about the Northern residents deductions, see RC4650 Northern Residents Deductions for 2021, or go to canada.ca/taxes-northern-residents.

Home office expenses for employees

Important note

As an exception to the CVITP eligibility guidelines, volunteers can complete tax returns where an employed individual is claiming the deduction for home office expenses for employees, only if the individual is choosing to use the new temporary flat rate method to claim their deduction. Using the detailed method is not considered a simple tax situation. The CVITP does not provide training for or support complex tax situations, which includes the use of the detailed method.

For more information on simple tax situations, see the Eligibility criteria, on the About free tax clinics page.

The government has extended the Home office expenses for employees for the 2021 and 2022 tax years. Employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to claim up to $500 using the temporary flat rate method.

Please note for the 2020 tax year, the maximum amount allowed to claim still remains at $400.

To learn more about how to enter home expenses in UFile, refer to our new frequent client scenario: CRA and COVID-19

Non-refundable tax credits

Here are the changes related to non-refundable tax credits claimed on a tax return for 2021:

Disability tax credit (DTC):

Medical practitioners can now use the new digital application for medical practitioners to fill out Part B of Form T2201. They are responsible for answering a series of questions which the CRA will use to help determine the individual’s eligibility for the DTC. At the end of the digital application, a PDF will be generated that the medical practitioner must print and sign.

For more information, see Step-by-step instructions for filling out Form T2201

Note

As a volunteer, you are not responsible in completing or printing Form T2201. This is for information purposes only.

Refundable tax credits

Here are the changes related to refundable tax credits claimed on a tax return for 2021:

Canada workers benefit

The Canada workers benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit intended to provide tax relief for eligible low-income individuals and families in the workforce. For the 2021 and subsequent taxation years, a new “secondary earner exemption” has been introduced. This would allow the spouse or common-law partner with the lower working income to reduce their adjusted net income up to $14,000.

For example, without the secondary earner exemption, a dual-earner couple with adjusted family net income of $50,000 would receive no CWB in 2021. With the introduction of the secondary earner exemption, the secondary earner's adjusted net income would be reduced by the lesser of their working income ($20,000) and $14,000. The adjusted family net income would then be $36,000 which would entitle the couple to the benefit.

For more information, see Schedule 6 - Canada Workers Benefit.

Climate action incentive

The Climate action incentive credit will now be delivered as quarterly payments. Individuals who are eligible, will automatically receive their CAI payments four times a year, starting in July 2022. Individuals must file a tax return, even if they did not receive any income for the year, in order to be eligible.

For more information, go to Climate action incentive payment.

Volunteer training

The volunteer training site helps CVITP volunteers get ready to file tax returns. All volunteers can benefit from reviewing the many resources offered, including job aids, helpful links, commonly used forms, and more!

To complement the online training, we recommend that you attend the live webinars, hosted by CRA coordinators.

We also recommend reviewing the related online training topics before attending the webinars.

There are four new frequent client scenarios which have been added to the volunteer training site:

  • CRA and COVID-19
  • Families
  • Social assistance recipients
  • Workers

Along with the new frequent client scenarios, be sure to also have a look at our newly redesigned Auto-fill my return topic, which has been divided into smaller sections to make for easier navigation.

A new Video gallery tab has also been added to the Resources section which includes pre-recorded webinars on topics like Auto-fill my return and Preparing income tax returns: before, during and after. Also included is a video walkthrough of the volunteer training site, and a UFile navigation video.

Reminder

It is important to review the appropriate training before you start preparing income tax returns.

References

For more information on what's new for 2021, please see the T1 Income tax package for 2021.

Select the province, and you will find the Income Tax and Benefit Guide – 2021.

Specific updates for each province can be found on the Information sheet – residents of (Province) or Information for residents of (Province) under Provincial information and forms.

Reminders

These reminders will help ensure you are ready for the upcoming filing season:

Security requirements

Volunteers must meet certain security requirements before they can participate as a volunteer with the CVITP:

  • Volunteers who plan to paper file returns or handle taxpayer information will need to provide their organization with a valid police records check.
  • Volunteers who plan to file returns electronically and use the Auto-fill my return service will need to obtain an EFILE number, a RepID, and a valid police records check.
  • Volunteers who plan to file returns electronically without using the Auto-fill my return service will need to obtain an EFILE number and a RepID.

 

Important note

Please be advised changes have been made to the EFILE registration/renewal forms to improve the systems’ safety and security. As a result of these changes, all EFILE registrations or renewals now require a RepID.

  • If you already have a RepID, you must provide it when you register/renew your account.
  • If you do not have a RepID, you can obtain one by registering with Represent a Client.

 

Important note

For the purposes of the CVITP, a police records check is considered valid if it was issued within the past three years. If your police records check was issued more than three years ago, you will require a new one.

Reminders for keeping taxpayer information secure

It is critical to the program's success to ensure organizations and volunteers safeguard taxpayer information and understand their responsibilities in this respect.

If you are using a shared printer with your organization, or a personal printer that retains memory, it is important that you ensure the memory is cleared on a regular basis.

Important note

A CVITP volunteer can take on many different roles. They can do anything from providing administrative support to completing tax returns for eligible individuals.

It is important that you review your Volunteer roles and responsibilities and take the appropriate training before you start preparing income tax returns or volunteering in other ways.

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: