Why should I file my taxes on time?

April 23, 2021

If you still need to file, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even though you might never file your taxes at the last minute, sometimes it can’t be helped – especially this year.

The deadline to file is approaching fast. Here’s why you should try to file your return on time.

You’ll avoid paying interest or penalties.

If you file late and you owe taxes to the government, the CRA and Revenu Québec (if applicable) charge interest and late-filing penalties on the amount you owe:

  • Interest on your taxes owing grows daily starting the day after the deadline.
  • Interest on penalties starts the day after your filing due date.
  • Late filing penalties are 5% on your tax owing, plus 1% for each full month your return is late, up to a maximum of 12 months.

The CRA will charge late-filing penalties and add interest to your unpaid taxes owing starting May 1, 2021.

This year, Revenu Québec won’t charge late-filing penalties or add interest to your unpaid taxes owing until June 1, 2021.

Even if you can’t pay the taxes you owe right away, you should file your return on time to avoid needing to pay even more because of late-filing penalties.

You’ll Get What’s YoursTM sooner.

If you don’t owe taxes, you won’t be charged any interest or penalties for filing late. However, you should still file on time to make sure there aren’t any interruptions to your benefit payments.

For example, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and GST/HST credits are both tax-free monthly payments that many Canadians are eligible for. The CRA determines your eligibility for these amounts based on the information provided on your return. If you don’t file your return on time, your payments might be delayed, or you might miss out on them.

Plus, the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll receive your refund as well as any credits you share with your spouse or dependants. Get What’s YoursTM from the CRA and Revenu Québec (if applicable) by filing your return on time.

You might help protect your identity.

Tax identity theft is when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent return and take your refund, GST/HST credits, and other credits for themselves. You might not know your personal information has been stolen until you try to file your return and it’s rejected as a duplicate. Filing on time might mean not giving someone else a chance to use your information first. To learn more about avoiding CRA scams, check out this blog.

When do I have to file my return?

Unless you’re self-employed, the deadline to file your 2020 return is April 30, 2021.

If you’re self-employed, your deadline to file is June 15, 2021. Keep in mind that if you owe federal taxes, your payment is still due on April 30, 2021. If you’re a Québec resident who owes the provincial government money this year, the deadline to pay your balance is May 31, 2021. This means Revenu Québec will not add interest to the amount you owe until June 1, 2021.

If you and your spouse are preparing your returns together and only one of you is self-employed, you can still file both returns by June 15, 2021 as long as any balance owing is paid by April 30, 2021 (or May 31, if you’re Québec residents).

Is tax relief available?

In special circumstances (like during natural disasters), you might be able to request taxpayer relief. This means the CRA and Revenu Québec can cancel or waive penalties or interest if you can’t file your return or pay taxes on time due to circumstances beyond your control. To find out what circumstances might qualify for this relief, visit the CRA website.

If you received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or COVID-19 emergency benefits in 2020 and your taxable income was less than $75,000, you won’t have to pay the taxes you owe until April 30, 2022. However, you still need to file your return by April 30, 2021 to avoid late-filing penalties.

Ready to file? H&R Block can help you get through this year’s tax changes. Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software

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