This tax-filing season, many important changes and improvements were made to services, benefits, and credits for Canadians. Here’s what you need to know:
New and improved credits
The Medical expense tax credit has been expanded to allow expenses related to service animals who are specially trained to perform specific tasks for a patient with a severe mental impairment that helps the patient cope with the impairment. Eligible expenses paid in 2018 include the cost of the animal, the care and maintenance of the animal (food and veterinary care), reasonable travel expenses paid for the patient to attend a school, institution, or other facility that trains in the handling of these animals, and reasonable board and lodging expenses paid for the patient’s full-time attendance at a school, institution, or other facility that trains in the handling of such animals.
The Climate Action Incentive (CAI)payment can be claimed by eligible individuals who are residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or New Brunswick. A new Schedule 14 will be included with the T1 package for these jurisdictions; simply complete the new schedule to claim the amounts you may be entitled to based on your family composition, and indicate the amount on line 449 of your income tax and benefit return. The CAI payment will first reduce any balance owing, and may create or increase your refund. A 10% CAI supplement is available to residents of small and rural communities who live outside a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), as defined by Statistics Canada.
View transactions and pay balances withMyCRA – This app lets you view and pay your account balance with your Visa® Debit, Debit MasterCard®, or Interac® Online debit card, and by pre-authorized debit, and at any Canada Post outlet for a fee by generating a quick response (QR) code.
Email notifications – In February 2019, CRA is merging Online mail and Account Alerts notifications and launching an improved email notification service. Once signed up for the service, you will now receive an email notification when eligible correspondence is available to view in My Account and MyCRA mobile web app or when there are important changes made to your account, such as an address or direct deposit update.
CRA modernized telephone service – The CRA telephone enquiries program has moved to a new telephone platform. Now when you call, you will receive an estimated wait time to speak with an agent. You can then, decide either to wait in the queue, call back later, or use our self-serve options. The new platform also includes call recording to improve accuracy, skills based routing to allow the caller to get to the right agent more quickly, as well as a range of other improvements.
ReFILE – Available in all tax software, the ReFILE service lets you change your tax return after you receive your notice of assessment.
The new all-in-one 2018 Income tax package – The CRA has made it easier for people who choose to file their taxes on paper to get everything they need to file their tax returns. The new 2018 Income tax package includes the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide, the Provincial or Territorial Information Guide, and two copies of the return and schedules (i.e., a working copy for your files and a copy to submit to the CRA).
Mailing a paper 2018 Income tax package to your home – The CRA will mail the new all-in-one 2018 Income tax package to Canadians who paper filed in the previous tax season. Those who want to file on paper and haven’t received a tax package from the CRA by February 11, 2019 can find what they need online or order a paper copy from the CRA. An order limit of nine packages per individual will ensure all Canadians have access to what they need this filing season. A limited number of tax packages will also be available for pick up at Canada Post, Service Canada, and some Caisse populaire Desjardins locations by February 18, 2019.
Protect your account withemail notifications – For added security, you can subscribe to have the CRA send you an email notifying you of recent activity on your account when a representative is added, deleted, or changed on your account.
Tax filing services for northern residents – As part of the Northern Service Improvement Strategy, three new CRA Northern Service Centres were announced in August 2018, which will provide a year-round physical presence to support individuals and businesses in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut starting mid-February 2019.
My Account redesign – A redesign of My Account was launched in October 2018 that allows users to quickly view their tax and benefit information and easily update their personal information with the CRA.
Pay taxes in person at Canada Post – You can pay your individual tax, benefits and credits repayments, and most business payments to the CRA in person with cash or a debit card at any Canada Post outlet for a fee. To pay in person, bring your remittance voucher containing a QR code or create a personalized QR code online.
Express NOA – If you file electronically, you will be able to view your notice of assessment (NOA) right after your return has been received and processed by the CRA. This means that you will know right away what your refund will be or if you need to pay. To use the service, you must be registered for online mail.
File my Return – Eligible individuals with low or fixed income will be invited to file their income tax and benefit returns through an automated phone service.
Auto-fill my return – Using your tax software, you will be able to automatically fill in parts of your return. To use the service, you must be registered for My Account.