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How to Do Taxes Online Free in Canada

TurboTax Online

You can get your refund quickly by filing your tax return online using Netfile.

The Canada Revenue Agency has made it easier than ever to file online; you need only your Social Insurance Number and date of birth to access Netfile.

You also can file your return online for free with government-certified software.


Before you start, ensure you are eligible for online filing.

The CRA does not allow use of Netfile if you need to change your name, address or direct deposit information; if you’re filing an amended return or a return for a previous tax year; or for filing a deceased or bankrupt person’s return.

The list of restrictions also includes claiming more than 22 children, deductions for scientific research and experimental development expenses, and other less common situations. Read through the list to verify your eligibility.

Further restrictions may come from the software providers. Generally, the free online options are available for simple personal tax returns.

Many of them require payment if your return includes self-employment or rental income, capital gains or investment income, or other more complex situations.

Choose a Program

CRA lists certified, tax preparation software programs on its website; review the programs and choose the one that best meets your needs. Some programs are downloadable, while others can be accessed online on a secure website.

Tax preparation apps for mobile devices also are available. Certified providers meet technical accuracy and security requirements. Some tax preparation software programs are completely free to use, and others offer free features.

All software programs, however, allow

you to enter your income and deductions and calculate the tax you owe or your refund. This information is stored in an electronic ".tax" file, which you upload to the CRA using the Netfile service.

Prepare and File

After confirming your eligibility and choosing an online software, gather your T-slips and receipts. Enter the information from the slips and receipts into the tax preparation software program -- most guide you through the process.

The programs are designed to help you get the maximum return possible, or at least minimize your tax payable, by prompting you to apply for every credit and deduction to which you are entitled.

Once you calculate your payment or refund, the software creates a .tax file. Download this file to your computer and upload it to the CRA via Netfile.

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

If you’re unfamiliar with tax preparation software, CRA offers a free service for individual tax filers called the Canadian Volunteer Income Tax Program. The program provides specially trained volunteers to complete simple personal tax returns and file them online.

If you have self-employment income, rental income, made more than $30,000, or have capital gains to report, you cannot use the service. The service is completely free for eligible low-income individuals.

“Last year in the province of British Columbia, approximately 2,200 volunteers helped prepare over 92,000 returns,” says Loree Marshall, CVITP coordinator at the Southern Interior Tax Service Office.

This service is especially helpful for seniors, who may not have the computer skills to file their own returns online.

References & Resources

Category: Taxes

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