FAQs: T-slip turnaround for auto-fill my return

For practitioners, the Canada Revenue Agency’s Auto-fill my return service offers a quick way to populate a client’s 2016 and 2015 tax returns with tax slip information. How quickly is this data available?

One of the benefits for practitioners who sign up for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Represent a Client service is the ability to use Auto-fill my return with tax preparation software to auto-populate tax slips and other tax information the CRA has received from employers, financial institutions and other third parties. As noted on CRA’s Auto-fill my return webpage, in relation to the 2016 taxation year, most tax information slips and other tax information will be available by early March.

At the request of CPA Canada’s Small and Medium Practitioner Tax Committee, the CRA offered the following answers to questions about how it processes this information and updates the My Account and Represent a Client databases. These answers will allow taxpayers and practitioners to better understand the process, benefits and potential risks of using Auto-fill my return for the 2016 and 2015 taxation years.

For T-slips that are electronically filed with the CRA, how quickly is data loaded into the Represent a client database?

Roughly 95 per cent of the information slips that the CRA receives are filed electronically. In most cases, the CRA processes the information within 48 hours of receipt and the slips are then available for viewing by Canadians in My Account and Represent a Client within 48 hours of processing.

The CRA acknowledges some processing delays may occur around the February 28 information slip filing deadline, but these are minimal. Processing delays may also occur for quality reasons, for example, for slips with invalid account numbers, duplicate slips and other errors that require CRA follow-up.

How quickly is data loaded for T-slips filed manually?

For T-slips filed manually, which are less than 5 per cent received annually, the CRA processing timelines consider the type of slip and the time of year that the slip is filed. Slips such as T3, T4 and T5, which have the greatest impact to Canadians and other government departments, receive higher priority. The CRA’s general service standard is to process paper-filed slips within 90 days of receipt.

How quickly are amended T-slips processed, and does the system indicate that the slip was amended?

Amended T-slips are usually processed as follows:

  • Amended T5 and T3 slips filed electronically are usually processed within 48 hours.
  • Amended T4 family slips filed electronically are usually processed on a first-in, first-out basis. The CRA’s general service standard for processing amendments is 60 days. This timeframe is due to the requirement to validate the information received by employers.
  • Paper-filed amendments or electronic amendments that require CRA intervention are processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

Slips displayed within My Account are designated as either “Amended” or “Original.”

The Auto-fill my return service is an excellent tool to assist with streamlining the preparation of personal tax returns, but it should not replace professional judgment when ensuring completeness and accuracy of the tax return.