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Published April 21, 2023

CRA Strike: What Last-Minute Tax Filers Need to Know

File ASAP, file electronically, and sign up for a CRA My Account immediately, if you haven't already.

On April 19, more than 155,000 employees of the Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency went on strike. Strikers include around 39,000 CRA employees, putting that agency’s operations at risk for major disruption less than two weeks before Canada’s tax filing deadline.

If you’re one of the millions of Canadians who hasn’t yet filed a 2022 tax return, you will likely face additional hurdles and delays due to the strike, but all hope is not yet lost. 

Take steps now to ensure your return is filed on time and any potential refund is issued as quickly as possible.

May 1, 2023 is still the deadline for filing your taxes

In a recent press release, the CRA made it clear that Canadians will not have extra time to file their taxes due to the strike.

If your tax return — along with any balance owed — isn’t submitted by the deadline, you will be subject to late-filing penalties. These penalties could be even more severe if you filed late in any of the previous three tax years. 

Note: If you or your spouse/partner are self-employed, your tax filing deadline is June 15, 2023.

Tip: File as soon as you can. This is not the year to leave things until the last second. Consider spending time this weekend to get your documents in order, and submit your return as soon as possible.

File digitally, if you can

The best thing you can do to ensure your tax return is processed in a timely fashion is to skip the paper forms. “Those that are filed digitally, which represent the vast majority of T1 and T2 returns, will largely be processed automatically by our systems without delay,” the CRA said in a statement.

Tip: Choose an electronic filing method ASAP. DIY options for filing your taxes online include various NETFILE-certified tax softwares, such as TurboTax and H&R Block Online. Many are free or offer a pay-what-you-want model. You can also have your taxes prepared by a professional and submitted digitally, as long as they use EFILE-certified tax software. 

Note: The strike has reduced staffing at CRA call centres and ‘Online Chat with a CRA Agent’ is already closed. Using a tax professional, or tax software that offers customer support, will ensure you can get timely help if you need it.

Save time with CRA’s online services 

If the idea of gathering up all your tax documentation this weekend has you in a panic, remember that the CRA may have already done some of the work for you. The agency’s “Auto-fill my return” service should have copies of many of your relevant tax slips, which can be used to complete your return even faster. 

Tip: Register for CRA My Account immediately. If you don’t already have CRA My Account, make it your priority to sign up. This will give you access to the Auto-fill my return service, and allow you to complete other important tasks online, like changing your personal info, registering for direct deposit of your tax refund, and tracking the status of your return — something that will likely be useful if the strike drags on.

About the Author

Beth Buczynski

Beth Buczynski is an assigning editor on the international expansion team at NerdWallet. Beth works with writers and editors to bring financial clarity to readers across Canada's 10 provinces and…

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