Filing a personal income tax return

Region: Ontario Answer # 176

Many people prepare their own tax returns by either following the steps in the tax return packages provided by Canada Revenue Agency or by purchasing a software program that asks for information to be entered and then calculates the amount owed or the amount to be refunded.

Some people prefer to get assistance from accountants or from tax filing services. A tax return must be filed by an individual who owed tax for the year, or who sold property that qualifies for a capital gain or loss. Also, if an individual wants to collect a refund, they will need to file a tax return.

Filing a tax return involves filling out forms for Canada Revenue Agency that report your income for the year, any deductions and credits you are claiming, and the calculation of the tax you owe for the year.

Filing a tax return yourself

There are a number of ways you can prepare and file your own tax return.

  1. Obtain a paper copy of the General Income Tax and Benefit Package from Canada Revenue Agency by one of the following ways:
  • download the forms from the CRA website,
  • get a tax package from the nearest post office or Service Canada office, or
  • request that the package be mailed to you by calling CRA at 1-800-959-8281.

Complete your paper copy tax return and mail it to your local CRA Tax Service Office.

  1. File online using a purchased software tax filing product. The computer program will ask you to input information and then calculate your taxes. These programs usually are set up in a simple question and answer format, and are programmed to check for any deductions or credits you may be entitled to.
  1. File online for free at CRA using Netfile.

Since there are usually changes to the tax laws each year, it is important to use a current form or updated software for filing your tax return. Also, each province and territory uses a General Income Tax and Benefit Package that contains guides, schedules and forms specific to each jurisdiction.

What information do you need to file your return ?

To fill out a tax return or have it filled out by someone else, you will first need copies of all the tax receipts from your income sources, including any T4 forms for employment income, T5 forms for interest, and T3 forms for trust income or mutual fund income. Generally, your employer and investment company will send these to you. It is also a good idea to compile any receipts for credits or deductions you will be claiming, such as RRSP contributions, medical expenses, donations, tuition, or rent.

Making changes to your tax return

If you need to make a change to any tax return that you have already filed, you can:

  • Complete a special form called a T1 Adjustment Request, which is available from Canada Revenue Agency and can be filed online or by mail;
  • Request changes using your online account with CRA. Log on to My Account, and choose “Change my return”; or
  • Write a letter to Canada Revenue Agency with the details of the changes you want to make, as well as your Social Insurance Number, name, address, and daytime telephone number. You should also attach any supporting documents or receipts.

For additional information on how to file an income tax return, visit the Personal Income Tax page on the Canada Revenue Agency website. For general information, contact Canada Revenue Agency.

For legal advice and assistance with tax planning, a CRA tax dispute, or other tax issues, contact Tax Chambers LLP

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