UPDATE: On March 18, 2020 the Canada Revenue Agency Announced that the 2020 Tax Deadline in Canada had changed so that “For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.”
The Canada Revenue Agency sets strict filing deadlines, and expects to receive income tax returns and payments on time. If not, the CRA charges interest, fees, and penalties. If you want to avoid late fees, you need to know when your return is due.
Deadline for Individual Tax Returns
Usually, individuals must file their income tax returns by April 30 of the year following the year for which they are filing (unless there has been an extension by the CRA)
If you are an employee, your employer is required to give you your T4 information slips by the last day of February. However, if you have all of your information early and you want to file electronically, the agency opens its NETFILE system in early February. Alternatively, you can acquire paper return packets from tax centre offices.
Deadline for Self-Employed Tax Returns
If you are self-employed, the CRA gives you a bit longer to submit your income tax return — you do not have to submit it until June 15. However, if you owe tax, the CRA will apply interest to the balance as of April 30, normally. (Situations like COVID-19, impacted the deadlines for both remittances and payments).
Due Dates for Instalment Payments
If you make instalment payments throughout the year so that you can avoid a large bill at tax time, you have four due dates throughout the year. Whether you are self-employed or employed by someone else, you must submit your installment payments by March 15, June 15, Sept. 15, and Dec. 15 of each year.
Due Dates of Final Tax Returns
If you are the legal representative of a deceased person, you are in charge of ensuring his final tax return is submitted to the CRA. If the individual died between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of the tax year, his return is due April 30, but if he died between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, his return is due six months after the date of his death.
Again, if the deceased person or his spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, the CRA extends the due date to June 15, but it still begins assessing interest as of April 30.
Holidays and Weekends
If the due date falls on a weekend or a Sunday, the CRA extends it to be the following business day. Mailed responses must be received or postmarked by the due date, and electronically submitted returns must be transmitted by midnight local time of the date they are due.
Penalties for Filing Late
To discourage late filers, the CRA charges a late filing penalty of five percent of your balance owed plus an additional 1 percent for each month the return is late. This fee is added to the compound daily interest that begins accruing on the balance on its due date.
For example, if you owe $5,000 in income tax and you file four months late, the CRA assesses a late filing penalty of nine percent or $450.
If you don’t have enough money to pay your tax bill, you should still file on time to avoid the late filing penalty. Then, the CRA will only charge you interest as you work on paying your tax owed.