Canada Revenue Agency employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have reached a tentative deal with the federal government to end the CRA strike with union members returning to work as of May 4, 2023. 

To simplify things and help you be proactive this tax season, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions and the latest updates.

When is the CRA going on strike?

More than 35,000 CRA employees, represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada–Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE), were on strike as of April 19, 2023.

Why was the CRA striking?

Workers were seeking higher wages and more job security, as their contract was up for renewal.

CRA was on strike in 2023, did it shut down?

With the labour disruption, certain services were delayed or unavailable. That means you may have experienced longer wait times when contacting the CRA call centres, and the processing of tax returns and benefits (especially for those who filed by paper) may have been delayed.

So, you may have had to wait longer than usual for your tax refund to hit your bank account.

What did I need to do when the CRA was on strike?

During the strike, you could (and should) have still filed your taxes. It’s wise to file your taxes early, especially if you owe taxes to avoid penalties for late filing.

On average, the typical processing time for filing electronically can take up to 2 weeks vs 8 weeks if you file by paper. By filing your taxes online using software like TurboTax, your return will be processed much faster than by mailing in a paper copy.

TLDR: The CRA strike wasn’t a free pass to ignore your taxes. You still have to file them!

Will the CRA extend the tax filing deadline?

Tax returns were still due on May 1, 2023, even though the CRA was on strike. For self-employed individuals who don’t owe taxes, you have until June 15th. If you have tax owings, your deadline is May 1, 2023.

Given the CRA did not make any announcements about shutting down NETFILE, file as soon as you can.

If you’ve missed the tax deadline, we’ve got your back even if you’re running a little behind schedule. However, time is of the essence so it’s best to roll up your sleeves and get your tax forms in order as soon as possible. 

Don’t fret and read about the next steps here: Missed the Tax Deadline? It’s Not Too Late.

How did the CRA strike impact my tax return?

The short answer: you could have experienced delays.

If you need to contact the CRA to ask questions and receive assistance with filing your tax return, anticipate delays in reaching a live person over the phone. Alternatively, our TurboTax tax experts were still here for you during the strike if you needed help with your tax return. For the procrastinators, we are still here for you now!

With CRA picket lines in place, you could also wait longer for your tax return to be reviewed. To track the status of your return, you can log into your CRA MyAccount.

How did the strike impact the CRA’s call centre?

CRA call centres operated with reduced staff. So, you may have experienced increased wait times (and a lot of elevator music while on hold). 

To avoid being put on a lengthy hold, you can check the CRA website for the current wait times and hours of operation before you make a phone call. If you need assistance with your taxes, TurboTax has a dedicated team here to help you.

Will there be a delay in my tax refund?

The issuing of tax refunds may have been impacted while the CRA was on strike. If you haven’t received your refund yet, hold tight and breathe a sigh of relief knowing the CRA will process your much-anticipated refunds as soon as possible. 

Alternatively, you can set up direct deposit through your CRA MyAccount.

What happens if I have an open dispute with the CRA?

Typically, a dispute will go through the administrative level. However, CRA staff resources were being shifted to other high priority areas.

Taxpayers should not wait to file a notice of objection, respond to a review letter, or to request an adjustment but should expect service delays in these areas.

What are the latest tax updates?

We’ve broken down 9 of the most important changes you should know about when filing your tax return for the 2022 tax year.

Read more about it here: The 9 Biggest Tax Changes Canadians Need to Know in 2023

TurboTax experts are here to help you

Given the strike, you might have needed to exercise a little extra patience. If you haven’t already, take the time to file your taxes now to avoid further delays.

No matter your tax situation, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.

File with confidence

Get advice and answers as you go, with a final tax expert review before you file.