Tips & Advice

What Happens if I File My Taxes Late?

I have a distinct memory of driving to the post office with my mom when I was about 9 years old. I remember it well as I was allowed to stay up late that night and my mother was in a bit of a panic, something I’d rarely seen. It was April 30th.

In those days, we didn’t have the option to Netfile. That tax return had to be stamped as received by Canada Post by midnight “or else”. I didn’t learn exactly what that meant until many years later but not much has changed since then. Here’s the 2020 version of “or else”.

Interest and Penalties

If you owe a balance but file your return, you will be subject to interest fees until your balance due is paid off. If you have a balance owing and you file late, you’ll be subject to interest and a penalty. CRA assesses this extra penalty from the first day your return is late. With a rate of 1% per month (up to 12 months) that your return remains unfiled, this penalty is in addition to amounts charged for interest. If you are consistently late filing, you may be subject to even higher interest rates and penalties – double in fact. Bottom line – even if you cannot pay your balance in full, file on time anyway to avoid extra penalties.

Interruption in Benefits

If you receive certain federal or provincial benefit payments, you must file an annual return to keep receiving these payments. Your eligibility for these programs is determined by your reported income, etc.

The benefits programs affected include:

If you file late, these payments may be interrupted. Most of these programs reassess your eligibility in time for payments in July. If your return is filed after the due date, your July payment will be late. How late depends on how long after the due date you return is filed.

COVID related information & your taxes, please review this link.

June 15th for Self-Employed

If you or your spouse are reporting self-employment income, you do have longer to file. CRA allows small business owners to file an extra 6 weeks after other taxpayers. But there is a catch. If you owe a balance on your return, the balance is due on April 30th of each fiscal year. If the date falls on a weekend, it is then due the next business day.

TurboTax can help you get your taxes done in a snap from the comfort of your home, with a software that’s right for all situations from simple to complex. Our Standard, Premier and Self-Employed editions provide step by step guidance based on your personal circumstances. For those with a relatively simple return we also offer a completely FREE edition.  Whatever your tax needs, TurboTax has you covered!