Can You File Your Taxes For Free?

Can You File Your Taxes For Free?

Written by Chrissy Kapralos
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated February 10, 2022

Dreaded by everyone, tax time can cause consumers to adopt an unhealthy tendency of avoidance. The stress of filing taxes encourages people to put it off for a while, making the whole situation even more stressful. Not only are taxes more complicated for some businesses and contractors, but the cost of hiring an accountant might also be a financial burden. To deal with your taxes, it’s best to file early and prepare yourself as much as possible to ensure you don’t leave everything to the last minute. If you’re financially strapped this year, consider filing your taxes for free by following these steps.  

Can You File Your Taxes For Free In Canada?

Yes, you can file your taxes for free in Canada. There are two main ways to do this in Canada, either by NETFILE or EFILE. 

NETFILE

NETFILE is the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA’s) online service that allows individuals to file their personal taxes electronically. Available 21 hours a day, NETFILE has a wide eligibility range allowing most individuals to file. Some restrictions apply, however, such as for individuals who have declared bankruptcy and non-residents of Canada. 

NETFILE allows you to file your taxes and to send your income tax and benefit return all online through a NETFILE-certified tax software. This essentially just means a CRA-approved app or website, like Turbo Tax or Wealth Simple Tax, both of which are free. The simple process confirms when the CRA has received your tax filing and allows you to receive your tax refund within 2 weeks via direct deposit. Moreover, you usually don’t need to submit any receipts unless the CRA requests them later on in the process. 

Learn how to open a CRA My Account.

EFILE

EFILE is similar to NETFILE in the way that it allows you to file taxes on an online platform. The main difference however is that EFILE isn’t for individuals filing their personal taxes – it’s for tax preparation service providers or discounters to file taxes on behalf of someone else. By tax preparation service providers, we mean accountants who file on behalf of their clients. Discounters are tax prep providers who offer their service at a discount.  It’s important to note that corporations cannot file their T2 tax return via EFILE. 

Free Tax Software To File Taxes In Canada

Luckily, there are many ways to file your taxes online for free in Canada, even if you’re a beginner when it comes to taxes. The following companies are CRA-approved providers of tax software that allows you to file your taxes for free. 

TurboTax

TurboTax

TurboTax has been ranked Canada’s top tax-filing software for the past 20 years. Though premium versions are not free, they are typically recommended for individuals with more complicated taxes, like contractors and self-employed people. Turbo Tax has a free version that is suitable for the average consumer. Certified by NETFILE, TurboTax offers:

  • 20 free returns per year
  • Maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantee. 
  • TLS encryption for maximum security of information
  • Easy access to Notice of Assessment
  • Autofill your tax return from CRA My Account using their auto-fill function. 
  • Not all tax softwares is available in Quebec, but TurboTax is available to Quebec residents.  
H&R Block

H&R Block

H&R Block has been a popular tax service provider for Canadians for the past few decades. With multiple offices in most Canadian cities, as well as an online software to file online, H&R Block is a convenient and trusted filing resource. Although they have premium options to include perks like tech support and transferring last year’s taxes, their free service is NETFILE-certified and includes the following:

  • Maximum Refund
  • User-Friendly online platform
  • Online help centre
  • Auto-fill to transfer taxes from CRA and Revenu Quebec

Do you have a child? Check out these tax credits for parents.

Wealthsimple Tax

Wealthsimple Tax

Acquired by WealthSimple in 2019, SimpleTax was founded in 2012 and was the first software to offer Canadians a “pay-what-you-want” model. WealthSimple Tax offers the following services free of charge:

  • User-friendly software and app
  • Guarantee of 100% accuracy
  • Up to 20 refunds per year
  • “Pay-what-you-want” model
  • Quick refund receipt, within 8 days through direct deposit
  • Secure platform protecting personal information
GenuTax (1)

GenuTax

GenuTax is a tax software that must be installed on your computer (Windows only) for you to be able to file your taxes through them. They are NETFILE certified and are completely free to use, though donations are welcomed. While they have limited customer support, they handle most tax situations for free including capital gains, rental income, and even small businesses. Some features you can find with Genutax include: 

  • Provides step-by-step instrcutions so that you don’t miss on any deductions or tax credits. 
  • GenuTax has a auto-fill feature that allows you to automatically fill most of your tax return.
  • When you file your tax return, you can view your NOA  right away using their Express NOA feature. 
  • If you need to file multiple tax returns, GenuTax offer you the ability the file your taxes from the year 2003 and up. 

Check out which receipts you should keep for your taxes

UFile

UFile

With 20 years of tax experience in Canada, UFile is a NETFILE-certified tax software accessible to all Canadians, including those in Quebec. Though not all features are free to everyone UFile offers free service to students, individuals filing simple returns (only one employment or pension income), newcomers to Canada filing their first return and low-income taxpayers (under $20,000 in income). UFile offers free filing services with:

  • A maximum refund and accuracy guarantee
  • If you’re looking to split your pension income, UFile will analyze the best way to spilt it so that you get the most deductions and credits. 
  • UFile stores your tax returns for up to 9 years. Meaning you can go back and access them whenever you need it. 
AdvTax (1)

AdvTax

AdvTax is a NETFILE and EFILE certified tax software in Canada. AdvTax covers multiple tax situations including simple returns, families and self-employed individuals. AdvTax is free for all low-income taxpayers, other users may have to pay a very low fee. Those who use AdvTax can take advantage of: 

  • Fast process. AdvTax is one of the fastest ways to file your tax returns. They claim a simple tax return for a single individual can take as little as 3-5 minutes to complete, while a family could take as little as 10 minutes to complete.
  • They also have a auto fill feature that will automatically fill out parts of your tax return. 
  • AdvTax has a checklist to help avoid missing out on any deductions or credits. 

Learn how to file your taxes as a couple.

Free Tax Clinics

Canada has various free tax clinics with volunteers to help you file if you have a “simple” tax scenario (one employment or pension income), and have a low to modest income. If you bring the necessary documents, including tax slips and personal identification, a volunteer will help you file at any of the listed clinics. This service is also available to residents of Quebec.

Benefits Of Filing Your Taxes Online

While accountants and other tax preparation service providers may have more experience in filing taxes, filing them on your own has a few benefits. 

Cost-Friendly

There are two types of tax software you can file your taxes through – paid or free software. If you opt for a free software, filing your taxes is completely free so you save the money you would have spent every year on an accountant. 

Fast Tax Filing

Since you don’t need to attach receipts (unless the CRA requests them), filing your taxes online is a quick process. Moreover, you can receive your tax refund as quickly as two weeks from your file date. 

Check out if you have any uncashed cheques from the CRA.

Secure and Accurate

Using NETFILE is secure and accurate. The CRA ensures confidentiality and that unauthorized persons can’t access your information. The CRA’s encrypted format also ensures hackers can’t view or alter your information. 

The NETFILE-certified tax software lets you file your taxes directly, which ensures a greater degree of accuracy and fewer errors. 

Easy to Use

The software available for filing are user-friendly and have auto-fill functions, making the platforms easy to use and intuitive, even for people who might not be so tech-savvy. 

Taxes FAQs

When can you file your taxes in Canada?

In Canada, you can file your taxes electronically as early as February 21, 2022, and as late as April 30, 2022. Filling your taxes after April 30 can lead to the CRA charging you interest on any taxes owed by you. 

When will I receive my tax refund? 

The CRA aims to provide you with your tax refund within 2 weeks if you file it online, and within 8 weeks if you file by paper. 

What documents do I need to file my taxes? 

Depending on the complexity of your financial situation, you may require more documents than others. However, if you have a simple financial situation, you’ll likely need your SIN#,  employment income documents such as your T4slip, T4E, T4A and other documents.

How do I check my tax return status?

You can check your tax return status by logging into your CRA MyAccount.  You can also check your refund status by calling the number 1-800-959-1956. Your identity will need to be verified, so you’ll need to provide your SIN#, name, address, date of birth, and line 150 from your last NOA statement. 

Bottom Line

Tax time doesn’t need to be a season for avoidance and stress. Depending on your financial and tax situation, you can find free tax filing services from a variety of providers.


Rating of 3/5 based on 2 votes.

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

Click on the star to rate it!

How useful was this post?

Research & Compare

Canada's Loan Comparison Platform

Largest Lender Network In Canada

Save time and money with Loans Canada. Research and compare lenders before you apply. Share your experiences with Canada's top lenders.

Make Smarter Borrowing Decisions

Whether you have good credit or poor credit, building financial awareness is the best way to save. Find tips, guides and tools to make better financial decisions.

Save With Loans Canada

Special Offers

50 Free Trades Offer

50 Free Trades Offer
Ends August 31st, 2022

Almost $500 in commission-free trades. Code “50TRADESFREE”. Conditions apply.

View Offer
Earn 5% Cash Back With Neo

Earn 5% Cash Back With Neo
No annual fee!

Earn an average 5%¹ cash back at thousands of partners and at least 1%² cashback guaranteed.

View Offer
Build Credit With Refresh

Build Credit With Refresh
Popular

Build credit while spending money with the Refresh Financial VISA card.

View Offer
Build Credit For $7/Month

Build Credit For $7/Month
Popular

With KOHO’s prepaid card you can build a better credit score for just $7/month.

View Offer
Industry Spotlight

What's happening with Canada's credit industry?

addy ⎯ Making Real Estate Accessible To All Canadians

addy ⎯ Making Real Estate Accessible To All Canadians

Check out our interview with addy; a platform that allows Canadians to invest in different properties across Canada with as little as $1.

Read Post
Locator
Find The Best Rate
In Your Region
OR
Best Personal Loan Provider by Greedy Rates
Icon

Confidential & risk-free

All consultations and conversations with Loans Canada and its partners are confidential and risk-free. Speak with a trusted specialist today and see how we can help you achieve your financial goals faster. Loans Canada and its partners will never ask you for an upfront fee, deposit or insurance payments on a loan. Loans Canada is not a mortgage broker and does not arrange mortgage loans or any other type of financial service.

When you apply for a Loans Canada service, our website simply refers your request to qualified third party providers who can assist you with your search. Loans Canada may receive compensation from the offers shown on its website.

Only provide your information to trusted sources and be aware of online phishing scams and the risks associated with them, including identity theft and financial loss. Nothing on this website constitutes professional and/or financial advice.

Your data is protected and your connection is encrypted.

Loans Canada Services Are 100% Free. Disclaimer

Keep Track Of Your Credit Score

Subscribe with Credit Verify to monitor your credit rating and get your free credit score.