CRA & Revenu Québec

What to Do About a Missing or Lost Tax Return

Finishing your tax return is sometimes a struggle. It feels like a relief when you click the “Submit To NETFILE” button or pop your taxes into the mailbox. But sometimes things don’t go smoothly, and somehow, your tax return gets lost on it’s way to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In this post we’ll let you know what to do if your return goes missing, as well as other important information about filing your tax return.

Checking the Status of Your Tax Return

It is your responsibility to ensure your tax return is received on time, otherwise you could face stiff late filing penalties and interest if you owe a balance.

If you are sending your tax return by mail, you can check the status of your return on the CRA’s website. To do so, visit the CRA My Account page and log in. If the status of your tax return is listed as “not received,” it means that the CRA has not officially received your tax return. You can check on a daily basis leading up to the tax deadline of April 30 to make sure your tax return is received.

Returns filed by mail can take up to six weeks to process.

When Your Tax Return Goes Missing or is Lost

Tax returns can go missing for a variety of reasons, such as moving, a flooded basement, or lost or stolen mail. The CRA may be willing to waive those penalties if you can provide proof that you mailed in your tax return. If you mailed in your tax return by regular mail, you cannot provide proof, but if you sent in your package via courier or registered mail, you can provide a tracking number as proof and check the status of your package.

Netfiling Your Tax Return

  • To avoid losing your tax return in the mail, consider Netfiling your tax return instead.
  • When you NETFILE your tax return, you receive a confirmation number instantly from the CRA as proof that your tax return was received.
  • Processing your tax return is a lot faster if you NETFILE; you also receive your tax refund a lot sooner.

You can also use the CRA’s My Account to double check that your return was transmitted OK.

Obtaining Copies of Your Notices of Assessment and Tax Slips

If you have lost or misplaced your notices of assessment or tax slips from prior years, you can obtain copies from the CRA website. View a copy by using My Account or the CRA Mobile App.

Your employer has until the end of February of the following year to issue you a copy of your T4 slip for any income earned in the previous year.

If you have lost the tax slip or have not received it in the current year, check you CRA My Account. T-slips and other information such as RRSP contributions are stored in your online account. If the slip doesn’t show in your CRA My Account or you are not yet a CRA My Account holder, you have to ask your employer for a copy. If your employer is unable to provide your tax slip, the CRA recommends attaching a note to your paper return with your name and address, the type of income, and the steps you are taking to obtain a copy of the tax slip.