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You can easily file your taxes online for free in Canada. Free tax filing software is available from reputable companies and comes with a ton of added features and useful services.

Free online tax filing in Canada can be easy. Of course, getting ready to file is another story.

Dreaded by everyone, tax time can cause consumers to adopt an unhealthy tendency of avoidance. People start thinking about whether they will owe the government money, which just adds to their debt worries. The stress of filing taxes encourages people to put it off for a while, making the whole situation even more stressful.

Furthermore, taxes are more complicated for some people and businesses. The cost of hiring an accountant or tax preparation service can also be an added financial burden.

But you have to file your taxes each year or you cannot get the Canada Fed Deposit and other benefit payments.

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.  

Where Can You File Your Taxes Online For Free In Canada?

There are many free tax software providers you can use 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-certified providers that allow 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

TurboTax has a free plan for individuals who need to file a simple tax return. Simple tax situations include individuals who earn employment income, unemployment income, and pension income. Certified by NETFILE, TurboTax’s free plan offers:

TurboTax

File your taxes with TurboTax

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  • Auto-Fill – Auto-fill your tax return by importing your tax slip info from your CRA My Account.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee – Maximum refund and 100% accuracy guarantee. 
  • Safety – TLS encryption for maximum security of information
H&R Block logo

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 software to file online, H&R Block is a convenient and trusted filing resource.

H&R Block has 4 different plans for when filing yourself online. Their Free plan is available for individuals with simple tax situations which include income from T-slips and RL slips. If you file your taxes online with NETFILE-certified, H&R Block’s Free plan, you’ll get: 

  • User-Friendly online platform – H&R Block provides step-by-step instructions making it easy for beginners to file. 
  • Claim Credits and Deductions – You can claim RRSP contributions and student tax credits with the Free plan. 
  • Tax Return Optimization – H&R Block will automatically optimize your tax return.  
  • Expert Help – If you require expert help, you have the option to get assistance from a tax expert for a fee. 
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 –  
  • Tax Refund Optimizer – Wealthsimple automatically searches and applies tax credits and deductions you’re eligible for. 
  • Unlimited Access – Unlike other tax software, Wealthsimple’s free plan allows you to claim investment income, medical expenses, charitable donations and other credits.   
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee – Wealthsimple Tax optimized and guarantees you’ll receive your maximum return when you file with them. 
  • “Pay-what-you-want” model – No matter your tax situation, you can file for free using Wealthsimple. If you want to pay, you can pay any amount you want. 
GenuTax (1)

GenuTax

GenuTax is a tax software that must be installed on your computer for you to be able to file your taxes through it. 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. But have certain restrictions you should be aware of. Some features you can find with Genutax include: 

  • User-Friendly – Provides step-by-step instructions so that you don’t miss any deductions or tax credits. 
  • Auto-Fill – GenuTax has an auto-fill feature that allows you to automatically fill most of your tax return.
  • Express NOA – When you file your tax return, you can view your Notice of Assessment (NOA)  right away using their Express NOA feature. 
  • File Multiple Years – If you need to file multiple tax returns, GenuTax offers the ability the file your taxes from the year 2003 and up. 
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 specific groups. Including,  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:

  • Triple Guarantee – UFile guarantees your best refund, accuracy, and satisfaction. 
  • Easy Income Splitting – If you’re looking to split your pension income, UFile will analyze the best way to split it so that you get the most deductions and credits. 
  • Stores Tax Returns – UFile stores your tax returns for up to 9 years. Meaning you can go back and access them whenever you need it. 
AdvTax

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: 

  • Quick Filing – 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.
  • Auto-Fill – They also have an auto-fill feature that will automatically fill out parts of your tax return. 
  • Checklist – AdvTax has a checklist to help avoid missing out on any deductions or credits. 

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.

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

Benefits Of Filing Your Taxes Online For Free In Canada

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 free software, filing your taxes is completely free so you save the money you would have spent every year on an accountant. 

Fast Online 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. 

Secure And Accurate Online Filing

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. 

Free Tax Filing Software Is Easy To Use

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

How Do You Submit Your Tax Return To The CRA?

The easiest way to file your taxes for free in Canada is to choose the software discussed above that fits your needs the best. But how does the tax software you choose to file your taxes with the CRA? There are two options, NETFILE or EFILE. 

NETFILE

NETFILE is the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA’s) online service that allows individuals to file their 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 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. 

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 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. 

Filing My Taxes Online For Free in Canada: What Is The Bottom Line?

Tax time doesn’t need to be a season for avoidance and stress. Plus, it might not be expensive to hire some help to prepare your tax return. Depending on your financial and tax situation, you can find free tax filing services from a variety of providers.

Tax FAQs

When can you file your taxes in Canada?

In Canada, you can file your taxes electronically as early as February 20, 2024, and as late as April 30, 2024. Filling your taxes after April 30th 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 social insurance number, and employment income documents such as your T4 slip, T4A, T4E, etc.

Is mortgage or personal loan interest tax deductible?

Unless you use personal loan money to generate business income, you cannot deduct personal loan interest from your income taxes. Mortgage interest is only tax deductible if the mortgage is for an investment property.

Will filing my taxes late affect my credit score?

No, filing your taxes has nothing to do with your credit score. Your score will not be affected whether you pay your taxes early or late.

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 social insurance number, name, address, date of birth, and line 150 from your last Notice of Assessment (NOA) statement. 
Chrissy Kapralos avatar on Loans Canada
Chrissy Kapralos

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.

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