Saturday, 10 March 2018 09:45

CRA announces changes to services for 2018 tax season

Written by  Demi Knight
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Feb. 26 marked the day that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officially launched its 2018 tax filing season.

With continuous changes being made each year to improve the services offered to the Canadian public in relations to the filing and access of tax credits, the recent announcement of this season’s launch also came with important updates members of the public should know going forward.
“The Canada Revenue Agency is committed to providing quality service to Canadians,” says CRA spokesperson, TJ Madigan. “Many of the big changes this year are improvements in the ways people file their taxes.”
With the introduction of new services and software including ExpressNOA which allows tax-filers to get their notice of assessment almost instantaneously as well as ReFILE which lets the public adjust their returns online and new Auto-Fill uploads, the public will see their tax-filing process being elevated in several different ways this year.
Since the majority of Canadians each year rely on online platforms to file their taxes, these improvements along with a list of certified tax software (some of which are free to users) are being presented to make navigating the system as easy as possible for each and every member of the public this current tax season.
“This year, CRA even introduced a way for Canadians with simple tax situations to file their return over the phone,” added Madigan,
“We’re now directly mailing tax packages to people who filed on paper in previous years; no more trips to the post office to pick up blank tax forms.”
However, this year’s improvements haven’t been solely on new software to help the public with simplicity issues, but also on the implementation of the File My Return (FMR) service.
This service which was previously announced for this year’s season on Jan. 8, allows for over 950,000 eligible individuals with a low or fixed income that is unchanged from year to year to file their income tax and benefits returns over the phone by answering a series of short questions.
As a result, the FMR service will ultimately help allow for all the eligible deductions, benefits, and credits of the individual is entitled to be received without having to fill out any forms.
“There are changes to tax credits too. A new Canada Caregiver Credit gives tax relief to individuals who care for a disabled dependent, spouse or common-law partner. We’ve simplified the process for applying for the Disability Tax Credit, allowing nurses across Canada to certify the application,” added Madigan on the reach of improvements that this years tax season will see. With April 30 being the common deadline for tax and benefit returns for the majority of Canadians, the CRA is offering extended evening and weekend hours from the official opening of the season until the end of April.
Online services and software for Canadians to file their returns via the web will also be available until this date for the public’s convenience and since last year saw twenty-five million people (which is nearly 90% of the country’s population) use these online platforms, they are expected to once again be the most popular method this year.
“With the opening of this year’s tax-filing season, I want to remind Canadians that filing an income tax and benefit return is the key to accessing benefits and credits like the Canada child benefit that I know can be an important source of support for many families,” said Diane Lebouthillier, the Minister of National Revenue, in a press release earlier this month on why being informed on all of the options available by the CRA during the season is imperative to the public.
“Doing your taxes is now easier, faster and more secure than ever before.” added Lebouthillier.

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