October Poll

Are government plans to introduce automatic free tax filing for the 12% of adults who don’t file tax returns to get benefits a good idea?


It is not a good idea, since there are married persons and the Goverment needs the information to updated every year to calculates their benefits sunch GIS, OAS, GST and provincial credits.

By Jose Pineda on October 16, 2020

Not a good idea as those not filing have their reasons.  Marital Status changes, kids no longer in custody, drugs, medical premiums owing etc.  CRA will not have the personal information and so often when taxpayers see a tax consultant they have all the delinquent years filed and they have all the required documents filed to clean up their past.    CRA will not do that!

By Pat Morton on October 15, 2020

Not a good idea, they individuals are not filing tax returns, don’t care about the tax credits or refunds - make a choice not to file their taxes - believe this would be better overhaul GST/HST Sales Tax for businesses.

By Ina on October 15, 2020

Not a good idea, as situations change annually. One who typically may only receive a T5007 each year, might be in a better position to get a job one day, maybe become self employed. Having their taxes automatically filed would cause confusion in thinking they may not be required to report additional income.  There are also several benefits and tax credits that run the risk of incorrect calculation each year.  It’s a great idea to ensure those who need the assistance are getting benefits they may not be receiving, however investing more resources into free clinics might be the better solution for now until our tax system isn’t so complex.

By Amanda Zais on October 15, 2020

Not a good idea.  Who is going to know if the taxpayers is providing his actual total income source to the preparer.  I have seen a lot of cases where filing taxpayers are not disclosing their true Foreign Pension Income to CRA for one reason or another.  By not having to file a tax return and having someone else do it for them should get them off the hook for tax evasion.

By Siegfried Merten on October 12, 2020

Why not.  They deserve tax credits the same as everyone else.

By Frank Bird on October 11, 2020

Community tax preparation is available in most regions of the country for those unable to do it themselves or pay for the service.  When questions are asked currently of CRA staff, they often result in contradictions and errors that require correction.  Staff hired to perform this task are less likely to make the right determinations, than the regular, full time employees do now.  It seems that this proposal will result in further errors and costs to the public as a whole.

By Marilyn Kenny on October 10, 2020

CRA has trouble answering the phone and providing consistant information.  Does anyone really want them preparing tax returns?

By ALAN ROWELL on October 09, 2020

CRA in “My Account” seems to have all the information they need to determine a tax position and likely benefits they would be eligible for. For lower income Canadians up to a certain income level it is probably a good idea.  There would need to be some checks and balances to ensure individuals have not left the country, are deceased, etc.

By Donald Bieber on October 09, 2020

No. They should have to at least file a return. Giving benefits yet doing nothing is just plain wrong.

By Rick on October 09, 2020

I had another thought about this. With the CRA being in such a mess after 5 years of being supervised by a social worker and under a government led by a moron, would you really want to trust your tax return to such a bunch of incompetents? It is, after all, your money that is at stake, and we have a government that burns money it doesn’t even have.

By Nitzi-Lynne Morgan on October 09, 2020

Assuming there is a fundamental reason why certain individuals aren’t filing (living in remote locations, mental illness, old age), I can’t see offering free tax sessions to entice these individuals to seek it out.  On the one hand if those who have very simple returns are able to have their returns filed and thus receive benefits they would have otherwise been entitled to then I’m in agreement.  I’m just not sure how “tuned” in the government is. People in prison are getting CERB currently so will a bunch of inmates have their taxes prepared and receive further benefits?  What about individuals with addiction problems, they too would receive additional income sources to help feed their addictions?  There is no perfect solution but there are likely a fair number of individuals living remotely, or individuals living in poverty who never file their returns and could likely benefit from this service.  At the end of the day, if we assume it’s Canada’s most vulnerable who benefit then we should do it, at least as a trial.

By Laura Thompson on October 09, 2020

While it is a reasonable effort to help the disavantaged, other countries who have tried this find themselves swamped with adjustments for unclaimed credits.  In Provinces where there is a rent/property tax credit, chances are close to 100% that CRA will not autofill.

For the past 5 years, we have averaged 50 returns adjustments for tax returns prepared at FREE CLINICS.  I would also like to point out FREE CLINICS are not free to hold, the organization holding receives a grant for the management of the Clinic.

What whould be better is for the Government to pay certified preparers a small amount fee to properly prepare the returns or a business annual tax credit.

By Gerry Campbell on October 09, 2020

The best part of this radically stupid idea is that we will have to hire a fleet of “accounting clerks 3s,” pay them federal salaries and pensions, likely not attract CAs because they’re too expensive, and when finally done in 5 years will have simply replaced the ALREADY FREE supports that exist to assist individuals to do this with a program that will cost far more money to administer than it will ever collect.

Actually no, the best part about this is that we will have to amend both the CCC and the ITA to allow for this because, let’s not forget, it is a CRIME to not file your taxes.

By Michael Silicz on October 09, 2020

No, because who knows they have still other income from other sources. Besides , it’s been a practice that everybody should be responsible for their own taxes , why change now?

By Bambi on October 09, 2020

There is information that the government will not have, so the returns will be incomplete. CRA already offers the free tax clinics. These need to be advertised better, offered all year long, and the Government should direct individuals to these clinics rather than filing for them.

By Tami Peters on October 09, 2020

It may sound very good but a reality check will show very quickly that there is only one winner.
How can you rely on CRA to manage to file tax returns if they can’t even manage taxpayer’s phone calls
in volume and providing correct and valuable answers.
The expectation of a correct filed return on an automated system seams very questionably.
There is no further advice, no further information leaves the taxpayer blind and absolutely vulnerable.
CRA gets the absolute perfect taxpayer. No questions, No expectations, No objections - just nice…..

By Frank Arnold on October 09, 2020

I agree with the comment from Kim Gamble. What would be the incentive for the middle class to continue filing then. Should they just stop and wait till they get it for free???

By Shelley Kolach on October 09, 2020

Yes, if they aren’t going to teach about taxes in school then they should file taxes automatically ESPECIALLY as they have all the info anyways.  I can’t believe people would begrudge the poor and elderly benefits because of “this is supposed to be a self-assessment system”.  Why does it matter to you?  Obviously it’s not for everyone but for some people it’s an improvement and so it’s a good thing.

By Kenneth Dreger on October 09, 2020

This is supposed to be a self-assessment system. Each taxpayer is responsible for filing his or her tax returns. If the government meddles, this foundation will be irretrievably broken.

By Regina on October 08, 2020

If they get benefits without filing, then what incentive is there to file.  Middle class will stop filing so they can finally get benefits.

By Kim Gamble on October 02, 2020

Not a good idea!

By Sandy Chew on October 02, 2020

My impression was that this is only going to be available for the simple tax returns, like many seniors and people on Social Assistance. In that case it could be a good idea. (Does this excuse for a government have good ideas?) Self-employment, rental properties, employment expenses, etc. don’t even try it. Incidentally, accountants do accounts, not personal tax returns, although they give it a shot. I have had to unravel some awful stuff done by accountants to personal tax returns. They might say they know it all, but they don’t. But will it ever happen? Wait and see.

By Mitzi-Lynne Morgan on October 02, 2020

I would be far better to gave our government sponsor “free” tax clinics for the 12% in question.  Of course, only real accountants (or the actual accounting firm) or certified tax preparers registered with the government (CRA) should provide this service.  This will allow the taxpayer to be educated about their tax return and allow the taxpayer to benefit from all of the available tax deductions and credits due to the tax-related knowledge of the tax preparer.

By Gaetan Ladouceur on October 02, 2020

This won’t work for self-employed individuals at all.  Provincial benefits won’t be accurate, the clients will only get the minimum (Trillium in Ontario).  Higher income clients won’t qualify for GST or provincial benefits anyway.  What about medical deductions, caregiver amounts, CCB?  The lower income tax payers who would benefit need someone to ask about these deductions.
I also volunteer at tax clinics, and can share information with these clients about extra deductions and services that they may qualify for.

By Rosalind Kemp Gleave on October 02, 2020

Yes, even though the government won’t know about rent in Ontario.  The client still will get the GST and Sales tax credit.  I just did 10 years of returns for a deceased person, who hadn’t filed since 1997.  To get a clearance certificate CRA wanted the 10 years prior to year of death.  She lost a lot of money.  She came into insurance money 3 months before she died.  So year of death was filed and an Estate return.

By Tineke on October 01, 2020

Canada has no free lunch.

By THOMAS LUK on October 01, 2020

Yes!!! As a volunteer who assists low-income Canadians in tax preparation, I have some knowledge of how much failure to file income tax is costing the most needy and vulnerable of our fellow Canadians.

By Donna Wuschke on October 01, 2020

Not a good idea at all.
The feds will not have access to rent or property tax figures.
The returns will be incomplete.
Giving the feds this information so that they can do the tax returns properly creates all kinds of problems.
Let these individuals go to free tax clinics or get advice as well as assistance in ding their tax returns

By Enzo Galano on October 01, 2020