Canadians urged to file taxes before May 1 despite CRA strike

Canadians urged to file taxes before May 1 despite CRA strike

Original article published on April 20th, 2023, via CTV News.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) processes almost 30 million tax returns annually and so far this year more than 17 million have already been received.

That means about 13 million taxpayers still need to file their taxes for 2022 and even with a strike by federal employees, including those who work for CRA, the agency is not extending the tax filing deadline.

"If you haven't filed your tax return don't panic, you still have until May 1 to do it and as far as the production of your tax return is concerned nothing has changed," said Gerry Vittoratos, a tax specialist with UFile.

Vittoratos said even though CRA employees who process tax returns are on strike, as far as the CRA is concerned, it's business as usual when it comes to filing returns.

Many of the processes at CRA are now automated, so if you have a simple tax return and are expecting a refund, you may get it fairly quickly even with a strike.

"They don't expect a lot of delays for electronically transmitted returns that are very basic," said Vittoratos.

Delays are expected for tax returns that are more complicated and require employee interaction as well as for the estimated 1.7 million tax returns still filed on paper.

"The taxpayers that will be affected by the strike will be the paper filers. If you produce a paper tax return, absolutely their will be delays," said Vittoratos.

If you don't file your taxes before the deadline and owe money you'll be charged a late filing penalty of five per cent of the balance owing and one per cent for every month you're delayed.

It’s important to file your taxes each year to take advantage of government programs, because if you don't file at all you could be missing out on free money such as the GST credit or child benefits.

"If you haven't submitted a return then the government won't be paying you these benefits and that is a lot of money that you're leaving on the table," said Yannick Lemay, tax specialist with H&R Block.

Now when you log in to your CRA account there is a new "uncashed cheques" function. When you click on it, it will show if you have money waiting for you that you didn't know about.

"If you click there you'll be able to see if there are uncashed cheques on your account and then ask CRA to make a payment to you. There are millions of cheques that have been uncashed by Canadians," said Lemay.

If you're expecting a refund and it's delayed, the CRA said it will pay you interest at a rate of seven per cent on your refund starting 30 days after you file.

About 94 per cent of Canadians file their taxes electronically while six per cent still use the paper method.

Original article by Pat Foran:

Canadians urged to file taxes before May 1 despite CRA strike

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