2020 Taxes: Where to Start?

Tax season is upon us! Completing and filing your taxes can be challenging at the best of times, but this past year has added some extra complications.

Whatever your situation, there are community and government resources available to help you get your taxes done and filed by Friday, April 30 for individuals or Tuesday, June 15 for self-employed individuals. For all tax filing and payment deadlines, visit the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) website, opens a new window.

Free Tax Clinics

From the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA): CRA is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is looking into the best possible measures to serve Canadians through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. CRA’s goal is to prevent disruptions to Canadians’ tax and benefit affairs, while also ensuring the safety of Canadians, our partner organizations and our employees. Community organizations are hosting free virtual tax clinics for Canadians with a modest income and a simple tax situation. Volunteers may be able to complete and file taxes for free, by videoconference, by phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement.

A modest income is defined by the limits outlined below, but if you are uncertain if you qualify or if you received any sort of COVID-19 benefit in 2020, call 211 and inquire. You can also view a more detailed list of eligibility requirements, opens a new window.
In Edmonton, there are many organizations working with the CRA to offer free tax clinics in a number of different languages. One option that provides support for hundreds of Edmontonians is Make Tax Time Pay with e4c, opens a new window. Starting Monday, March 1, you can call 211 and request a phone appointment. A volunteer will call you for your appointment and complete your taxes with you over the phone. You will receive a copy of your taxes in the mail two-four weeks later. 

If you can’t phone in or are looking for other options including drop-off or virtual service, there are many more free tax clinics here in Edmonton and across Alberta. To view them all, visit the directory on the CRA website, opens a new window

COVID-19 Benefits & EI

If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) payments, these are considered taxable income and you may owe tax when filing your personal income tax and benefit return.

You will be issued a T4A slip for any of the above benefits to record on your taxes. This should arrive to you by mid-March and may also be available online from CRA My Account. There are also many videos and recorded webinars on the CRA website to help you access your slip. If you have questions about the slip, including if you think there may be  a mistake or have received it in error, or if you haven’t received yours by mid-March, please contact CRA by phone at 1-800-959-8281.

If you received Employment Insurance (EI), you will receive a T4E Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits from Service Canada. Your T4E is available online as of Monday, Feb. 1 through My Service Canada Account (MSCA), or you can also get your T4E by mail. If you choose to receive your T4E by mail, or if you didn’t select any delivery option on your EI application, your T4E will be mailed by Sunday, Feb. 28. If you don’t receive your T4E by mid-March, contact Service Canada by phone at 1-800-206-7218.

Depending on which benefits were received and other personal circumstances, some people may owe taxes after they file. The CRA understands that many Canadians and small businesses are in a difficult financial situation due to the pandemic and may find themselves owing money, possibly for the first time. They have made it easier than ever to make flexible payment arrangements. Call them, they can help! The number for arranging a flexible payment plan is 1-888-863-8657.

Be Scam Smart!

Watch for scams this filing season. You may have seen the CRA’s ads on TV or online. Check out how to protect yourself, opens a new window.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of identity theft or fraud, call the CRA so they can validate your account and discuss additional security measures. If your account was compromised, you may be eligible for free credit monitoring services.

Still Have Questions?

The CRA is committed to making information easier to understand and meaningful, enhancing and integrating their service channels to provide a seamless client experience and offer personalized services and outreach to ensure Canadians feel respected and valued.

Have questions about your taxes or need help? Check out the CRA’s tax information videos, opens a new window

Still have questions or otherwise need to contact the CRA? They have extended their call centre hours from Monday, Jan. 25 to Friday, April 30. The individual inquiries line is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, and Saturday service starts on Saturday, Feb. 27 and will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CRA telephone numbers, fax numbers, addresses and even estimated wait times for the different numbers are available.

Contact CRA

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