We sure live in a digital age, where forms, bills, and reports are done electronically. Having digital copies available to you at any time have ended the paper struggle. These days, most forms can be downloaded online and email has, in many ways, replaced paper mail. Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also convenient, fast, and simple! So why would you still use pen and paper to calculate your tax refund?

Why should you use Netfile?

Filing taxes online is fast and easy with the Canada Revenue Agency’s NETFILE system. If you can attach a file to an email, or upload a photo to Facebook, you can submit your tax forms. All you need is an Internet connection, your income slips, and your personal information. To abate any privacy concerns, you should know the CRA uses the most advanced form of encryption available in North America. You can rest assured that your information is safe in their system.

Once you file your return electronically, you’ll receive immediate confirmation, letting you know that everything checks out or that you need to correct an error. The latter scenario isn’t likely to occur since tax software like TurboTax products flags errors or inconsistencies within your tax return and tells you exactly what needs to be fixed in order for your return to be accepted – the process is simple and accurate. Try getting that kind of peace of mind with a paper return!

The CRA tells Canadians that NETFILE is the fastest way to get your refund; with a direct deposit, you can receive your refund within two weeks, compared with the average of four to eight weeks for a paper return.  Rather than having to interpret your penmanship, the CRA will have a clean, accurate file to work with and you won’t be stuck printing countless forms and licking stamps.

You can make this process easier by creating an individual online account with CRA called MY Account. You can download all your information from CRA to your tax preparation software automatically using the AFR service.

When do you need to paper file?

Netfile is not available for everyone. Some individuals who want to file their returns themselves have to mail a paper copy of their return instead of Netfile.

You cannot Netfile if:

  • You are filing a tax return prior to 4 years prior to the current fiscal period. Netfile is available for this fiscal period and the three preceding years only.
  • If you went bankrupt in the tax year and the preceding year.
  • You are a deemed resident and don’t have to pay provincial taxes.
  • You are filing for a deceased person who died in the tax year or the prior year.
  • You are an emigrant or non-resident.
  • Your address is outside Canada.
  • If you have a Canadian-source income from Lloyds of London.

Check the full Netfile restriction list to determine if you are required to paper file. You can download the Income Tax and Benefit Return copy for your province, fill it in, print it, and mail it to CRA.

TurboTax products offer an easy step by step process to fill your tax return. You can either Netfile it or print it and mail it. Consider TurboTax Live Assist & Review if you need further guidance, and get unlimited help and advice as you do your taxes, plus a final review before you file. Or, choose TurboTax Live Full Service* and have one of our tax experts do your return from start to finish.

*TurboTax Live™ Full Service is not available in Quebec.