News Article

A Long Way to Go: Only 30% of T1s Filed to Date

Posted: April 09, 2019 By : Beth Graddon
Posted in: Strategic Thinking, CRA, Canada Revenue Agency, tax returns, tax filing, individual tax returns, tax season statistics, filing statistics

Get ready for the last minute T1 filing rush! According to the CRA, just over 10.6 million tax returns were filed as of April 1; against a total of over 30 million in the last tax season. While electronic filing is the preferred choice for filing again, the average refund has decreased.

This year, almost 91% have filed using the CRA’s Netfile and e-file services so far. That’s already higher than last year, when close to 90% chose electronic filing options. But the statistics so far, show a surprisingly low average refund this year. At $1,615, that’s lower than last year’s $1,757 (as of the end of the season).

The filing method that’s still rendered limited results is the CRA’s File My Return program. Originally introduced last tax season, the program invited 950,000 people living on limited or fixed incomes to use this new automated phone service that simply requires them to answer a few income-related questions.

Last year, only 0.2% of returns were filed using this method. This year, the program has had slightly better success, as to date it accounts for 0.3% of all returns filed. Those choosing to use File My Return can still do so, but only until the April 30 midnight tax deadline for individual returns. It’s not available to those who file late.

Paper returns make up 9.1% of filing methods.  Is demand for paper filing decreasing as a preference, or is it just harder to find a paper tax return to file? Tax professionals felt the option should be continued in a previous Knowledge Bureau poll. It remains to be seen if the CRA will continue the commitment to print.

With only 10,640,963 returns filed so far – the remainder of April is sure to continue to be a busy month for all of you professional tax preparers. Be sure to get some sleep and some exercise to keep up your health and your spirits! 

Check out the rest of this tax season’s filing statistics published by the CRA:


Returns received from February 11, 2019 - April 1, 2019

Filing Method Number of Returns Percentage of Total Returns Filed
EFILE 5,809,532 54.6%
NETFILE 3,830,077 36%
File My Return (FMR) 36,680 0.3%
Total - electronic 9,676,289 90.9%
Paper 964,674 9.1%
Total - all methods 10,640,963 100%

Returns processed from February 11,2019 - April 1, 2019 

  Number of Returns Total Dollar Value Average Amount Per Return Percentage of Total Refunds
Refund by cheque 1, 468,98 $2,080,639,741 $1,417 21%
Refund by direct deposit 5,491,163 $9,156,226,925 $1,667 79%
Total refunds 6,959,261 $11,236,866,666 $1,615 100%
Balance owing 1,447,975 $4,888,869,322 $3,376 N/A
Nil return 1,454,584 N/A N/A N/A


Knowledge Bureau Report will provide you with another update on this season’s final tax filing statistics once they’re available from the CRA after the upcoming deadlines.

Additional educational resources: Learn to help your clients, by really digging deep for every deduction and credit available, and then to help them plan to reduce taxes in the future, so that they can accumulate more wealth. Become a DFA – Tax Services Specialist™ today!


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