What happens if I file my return late?
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec require you to file your tax return on or before the April 30th deadline. If you’re self-employed, the deadline to file your return is June 15th. For both individual and self-employed returns, if you owe on your taxes, you need to pay on or before April 30th for the CRA and on or before May 31st for Revenu Québec to avoid penalties and interest on the amount owning.
If you file late and you owe taxes to the government, the CRA and Revenu Québec (if applicable) charge interest and late-filing penalties on the amount you owe:
- Interest is compounded daily starting May 1st and interest on penalties starts the day after your filing due date. Refer to the CRA website for their prescribed interest rates.
- Late filing penalties are 5% on your tax owing plus 1% for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months.
Note: Even if you can’t pay your tax owing amount right away, you should file your return by the deadline to avoid late-filing penalties. Refer to the CRA website for information on making a payment or payment arrangements.
If you don’t owe taxes, you won’t be charged interest or penalties for filing late. However, you should still file on time to make sure there aren’t any interruptions to your benefit payments.
In special circumstances (like during natural disasters), the CRA and Revenue Québec remind affected Canadians to request for taxpayer relief. The taxpayer relief provision lets CRA cancel or waive penalties or interest when taxpayers can’t file their return or pay taxes on time due to circumstances beyond their control. Refer to the CRA website to see circumstances that might result in taxpayer relief.
Reminder: Be sure to register for direct deposit through the CRA My Account and Revenu Québec My Account services to avoid a delay in getting your tax refund and/or benefit payments.
- Taxpayer relief provisions (CRA website)
- What is the Voluntary Disclosure Program (H&R Block Online help centre)
- Voluntary disclosure (Revenu Québec website)