Instructions for submitting Canadian tax returns online without paying a fee

As a legal resident of Canada, filing and paying taxes is a necessary evil. It's best to get ahead of the deadlines and requirements as soon as possible to avoid the many potential negative outcomes of putting off this responsibility.

Don't put off filing your taxes and end up with a bigger bill than you have to. It's never pleasant to watch interest, fines, and fees mount up. In addition, failing to pay your taxes on time can have a negative effect on your eligibility for government benefits, which is a major problem if you're trying to get out of debt, build wealth, or accomplish both of these things.

Thankfully, if you choose to file your paperwork online, you can expect a much shorter processing time. For those who reside in Canada and would like to learn the fundamentals of filing their taxes online, this guide will serve as a useful resource. If you need more assistance, consult a professional to file your taxes accurately.

If you want to file your taxes quickly and easily without worrying about whether or not you've done anything wrong, Wealthsimple Tax is the way to go.

How does e-filing your taxes help you?

There are a few advantages to filing your taxes online. One benefit is the speed with which you can finish the process and receive confirmation that your filing has been received and processed. Since this is not 1993, filing documents electronically is preferred.

You can check the status of your return, modify your address, change your direct deposit information, review your RRSP and TFSA contribution limits, and even update your marital status all from the convenience of your mobile device with the CRA's mobile app.

If you're the patient type, you can also call to find out where your return is in the process. If you don't submit electronically, however, it may take some time for these changes and others to reflect in your account.

One more advantage of filing taxes online is the use of interfaces or online applications that file for you, reducing the workload and the potential for mistakes. Software like TurboTax or Wealthsimple Tax (we prefer the latter) can help you get the most accurate results and the biggest return possible. To add to this convenience, if you file your taxes online, you won't even need to include copies of your receipts unless the CRA specifically requests them.

One final benefit of filing electronically is a quicker refund. If you choose direct deposit, your refund could arrive in as little as 2 weeks.

Tax filing deadlines are dates by which you must have your taxes submitted.

Due dates for taxes in 2022

  • In 2023, the tax return deadline is April 30 (technically, May 1 because April 30 is a Sunday).

  • The June 15th, 2023 tax filing deadline applies to self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners.

Date of 2022 tax payment

If you owe taxes, you have until the following business day, May 1, 2023, because April 30 falls on a Sunday.

Compile any necessary paperwork in support of your case.

The bulk of the paperwork you need to file your taxes electronically should arrive by the end of February, if not sooner. If you don't have this data before beginning your online filing, you won't have any of the fundamentals you need to account for your income, expenses, deductions, credits, etc. and this will prevent you from moving forward. You can use some tax preparation software to fill out part of your return now and finish it at a later time.

Here are some examples of common forms of income that may need to be reported when filing taxes:


You may have to file Canadian tax returns because you earned money in more than one way. According to the Canada Revenue Agency's website, the following are examples of taxable income:

Gains from Gainful Employment and Other Sources

This includes wages, salaries, tips, commissions, and income earned while working abroad.

Funds from a 401(k) or other retirement plan

Income from pensions and savings plans, including Social Security, the Canadian and Quebec Pension Plans, and foreign pensions.

Profit from Investments

Interest, dividends, and capital gains are examples of this type of investment income.

Money from Benefits

Income from benefits like EI and other benefits, workers' comp, social assistance, or UCCB also counts here.

Input your costs, credits, and deductions.

You can reduce your taxable income (and, by extension, your tax payments) by taking advantage of a wide variety of deductions and expenses. Taxes can be paid with the help of credits. Some credits, known as "non-refundable," can only be used to offset the taxes you owe. Others, known as refundable credits, can be returned to you. In many cases, you may be able to take advantage of the following deductions and credits:


  • RPP stands for "Registered Pension Plan"

  • Contribution Limits to an RRSP

  • Subtraction for the Split-Pension Amount You Choose

  • Charges Relating to Membership in a Union, Profession, or the Like

  • Childcare Costs

  • Subtraction for Disability Assistance

  • Negative Return on Business Investment (NIBI)

  • Relocation Costs

  • Financial Contributions Made for Support

  • Costs Associated with Research and Development

  • Miscellaneous Labor Costs

  • Property Tax Exemption for Ministers

  • Indirect Costs

  • Income Tax Withholding for Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Police

  • Accounting for Stock Options

  • Other Years' Losses for Limited Partnerships

  • For Past Years' Non-Capital Losses

  • Deduction for Capital Gains

  • Deductions for Northern Residents

  • Inflation, Interest, and Other Expenses

Credits that cannot be refunded

  • Individual Nominal Base Amount (BPA)

  • Age Amount

  • Partner in Marriage or Common-Law Spouse Amount

  • Money for a Qualified Relative

  • Caregiver Tax Credit or Amount in Canada

  • Number of Firefighters Who Do Their Job for Free

  • Sum Given to Potential House Purchasers

  • Costs Related to Improving Access to One's Home

  • The Cost of Adoption

  • Cost of Disability to Oneself

  • Disability Transfer Payment Received from a Relative

  • Money Spent on Your Student Loan Interest

  • Values for Schooling, Books, and Tuition

  • Paying for a Sibling's College Expenses

  • Affordable Care Act Medical Expenses

  • Spending Money on Donations and Gifts

  • Tax credits at the provincial or territorial level

Payments for the COVID-19

There are still some pandemic-related deductions in place, despite the fact that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) expired in 2021. On your 2022 tax return, you can claim work-from-home expenses in one of two ways. One is the short-term flat-rate strategy. Deductions of $2 per day are available if you worked from home more than half the time for four weeks or more. There is a $500 cap. To top it all off, the government doesn't even require proof of purchase. In order to deduct more than $500 in expenses, the comprehensive strategy must be used. A T2200S form, provided by your employer, is required. You should also collect any relevant receipts. Rent and internet or phone service are examples of acceptable outlays. Invalid deductions include office supplies and mortgage interest.

Think about your tax filing strategy.

At this point, you need to figure out how to finish filing your taxes electronically. Filing your provincial and federal taxes with the CRA can be done in a few different ways. Filing in Quebec may require you to take certain additional steps. )

You must use a tax preparation service that is NETFILE-certified (or, in Quebec, Netfile-certified) in order to file your taxes electronically. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) accepts tax returns filed electronically through a service called NETFILE. To top it all off, you can often use these programs to file your taxes without paying a dime.

If you have filed taxes at any point since 2017, the CRA should have your data stored and retrievable via any NETFILE-certified tax software. If you have a CRA My Account, the Auto-fill my return feature should be able to populate your tax information automatically.

Keep in mind that not all tax programs are certified for all years. If you're looking for NETFILE-approved tax software, you can find a list of developers and the years they've been approved for here.

Free and easy online tax filing

Thankfully, there are a number of free options for filing Canadian tax returns. Some NETFILE-approved programs are listed below. You can use the free version of many of these, with the option to upgrade to paid features within the app.

A free tax clinic offers tax preparation services to those who qualify at no cost. Appointments can be made in person or online at these facilities.

Doing your taxes on the computer

After compiling your data and deciding on an online tax filing service, you will need to create an account with your certified tax provider via their website, mobile app, or desktop version, and enter the following information:

  • Name

  • Taxpayer identification number

  • An individual's birth date

  • No matter if it's a return for a living person or a deceased one

  • Optimal lingua franca

  • Address of residence

  • Telephone No.

When you enter your account information, you may be prompted to autofill your return by clicking the Auto-fill my return button. Income, expenditures, deductions, and so on will all be entered from this point forward. The data will be blank if it hasn't been entered yet.

Following completion of the necessary fields in your tax software, you can electronically file your return with the CRA by connecting to NETFILE. If your return has been successfully received, you will be notified right away. The CRA's "My Account" website and the phone number listed here are where you can go to find out where your tax return is in the processing queue. There are four laws that must be included in your return:

  • Assessed

  • Presently being evaluated (by the Canada Revenue Agency)

  • (Received but not yet evaluated)

  • Unreceived (Either the CRA never got your return, or it was received but the status hasn't been updated.) )

Online filing of provincial and federal returns is possible using CRA-approved tax preparation software. After you have finished your tax return in one of these approved apps, the program will communicate with NETFILE to electronically file your return.

Although the CRA has not yet announced the specific filing deadline for 2021, tax returns are typically due in early March. Filing for 2019 taxes began in 2021, on February 21.

On the reverse side of your Notice of Assessment from a prior tax year is your Access Code.

Version 6.2 released on February 6, 2023
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