Changes coming at tax time

The Canadian Revenue Agency has decided to stop mailing out tax packages in an effort to encourage online filing.

In an effort to encourage Canadians to file their personal income tax returns online, the Canadian Revenue Agency has made a couple changes to this year’s filing system.

They have discontinued their free Telefile service, which allowed people with basic returns to file by entering their tax information over the phone, and will no longer be mailing out tax packages.

According to a statement made by agency spokesperson Noel Carisse, there were approximately 1.3 million unused packages mailed out in 2011.

Canadians will still be able to file their tax returns on paper, but they will have to download the forms from the Canada Revenue website, or pick up a copy at Canada Post or Service Canada outlets.

Of the 27,131,174 returns assessed from February 2012 to January 2013, 9,666,543 were filed by paper, that is 35 per cent. Only one per cent, 321,033, used the Telefile service. The remaining returns were filed via the internet, which the agency is hoping that my making the electronic processes easier and more accessible, it will increase electronic filing, reduce the compliance burden to Canadians, and cut processing costs. Carrisse said it costs four times more to process a paper return than an electronic return.

Electronic methods include Efile, where authorized service providers (registered tax preparers), for a fee, will prepare and send your tax return. There is also Netfile, where tax returns can be sent directly to the Canadian Revenue Agency online using the available free certified software packages.

In the past, Netfile was accessed by individual access codes that were mailed out, but the the agency would like people to use their social insurance numbers and birth dates instead.

More information regarding methods of filing can be found at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.