CRA e-Services: What’s new, what’s needed?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is bringing more services and data online, making tax compliance simpler and easier for tax preparers and their clients. What new services are in the works? What are your priorities?

 This article was updated in June 2016 to reflect new information:

  • electronic filing for Form T1135 for corporations is available as of May 2016
  • the ability to submit electronic versions of documents with efiled T2 returns – such as financial statements and provincial credit statements – is no longer tentatively planned for October 2016

For the 2015 tax year, the CRA plans to roll out all sorts of enhancements to its electronic services, developed in part with input from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)’s tax committees and other stakeholders. The changes are part of the CRA’s drive to simplify and improve access to its services by putting more of its systems and data online.

GOODBYE TDD, HELLO AUTO-FILL MY RETURN

The CRA’s Tax Data Delivery (TDD) service for tax preparers using EFILE certified software, launched in 2015, is being expanded and renamed. In February 2016, individuals using NETFILE certified software will also have access to the service, now called Auto-fill my return.

As the name implies, individuals and tax preparers can use the system to automatically fill in parts of an individual income tax and benefit return with tax information already on file with the CRA. This includes T4 and RRSP contribution amounts and — new for 2016 — data from T3 and T5 slips.

As will be noted in the 2015 T1 guide, a taxpayer must be fully registered for My Account in order to use this service. For tax preparers using an EFILE program (i.e. Taxprep, Cantax, Profile, DT Max, TaxCycle), there is no requirement that the taxpayer be registered to My Account. Instead, you must have access to the taxpayer’s information through Represent a Client.

MORE SLIPS IN MY ACCOUNT

Also starting in February 2016, you’ll be able find more tax information slips in My Account than before, including:

  • T5 Statement of Investment Income
  • T3 Statement of Trust Income Allocations and Designations
  • T4RSP Statement of RRSP Income
  • T4RIF Statement of Income From a Registered Retirement Income Fund
  • T5007 Statement of Benefits
  • T5008 Statement of Securities Transactions
  • RRSP contribution receipts

Tax preparers also will be able to receive information that is available on the enhanced Client Data Enquiry (CDE) web page in the Represent a Client online portal, including specific amounts, without having to complete Form T1153 Consent and Request.

With these enhancements, taxpayers and benefit recipients can more easily populate their electronic tax return with their income information.

FILE AND PAY IN ONE STEP

Starting in July 2016, EFILE-registered tax preparers will gain the ability to sign their clients up for the pre-authorized debit payment option via EFILE software. Clients who have a balance owing will be able to file and pay their taxes owing through EFILE at the same time.

TRACKING PAPER-FILED RETURNS

Improvements to the CRA’s mailroom operations allow for paper-filed T1 returns to be immediately logged as filed within My Account as soon as they are received in the mailroom. This will facilitate access to the returns by CRA helpline staff and help reduce the number of duplicate returns received.

MANAGE ONLINE MAIL

In February 2015, the CRA introduced an online mail service that allows individuals to receive some of their tax-related correspondence (e.g., notice of assessment) from the CRA directly in My Account. Once you register for online mail via your tax return, eligible correspondence is no longer printed and mailed. When new mail is available, an email notification is sent to the email address provided that the correspondence can be viewed online in My Account. This service will expand in the summer of 2016 with the addition of benefit notices.

The CRA has asked us to help make practitioners aware of this online service for the 2015 tax filing season, especially as the CRA’s new online mail service is secure, faster and easier than managing paper correspondence.

T2 SYSTEM ENHANCEMENTS

The CRA also has improvements in progress for T2 Corporate Income Tax Return and related filings:

  • Electronic filing for Form T1135 for corporations will be available as of May 2016.
  • Other forms being considered for efiling include:
    • Form T106 Information Return of Non-Arm's Length Transactions with Non-Residents
    • T1134 Information Return Relating To Controlled and Not-Controlled Foreign Affiliates
    • T1135 Foreign Income Verification Statement for partnerships.
  • The CRA is looking into the feasibility of removing the efiling exclusion for insurance companies for October 2016.
Find out more at our CPA Canada webinar on February 25 (English) and March 1 (French), where CRA officials will share details about these and other electronic service enhancements.

KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING

I want to hear from you. What forms, data and services would you like to see on the CRA’s agenda for expanded electronic services? You can keep the conversation going by posting a comment below.

CPA Canada’s Tax Blog is designed to create an exchange of ideas on tax policy and practice issues, and their impact on those who practise tax. Your comments can provide helpful input into the public interest advocacy positions developed by CPA Canada.

About the Author

Gabe Hayos, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

Vice-president, Taxation, CPA Canada

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