Let’s get the simple stuff out of the way first:
- Your tax return is considered late if it is not received by the due date and a penalty applies
- If you don’t owe or are owed a refund there is no penalty
- Penalties are fixed and apply to returns that are late; interest is variable and depends on how long the owing amount was outstanding
If a taxpayer owes tax for 2016 and does not file a return by May 1, 2017, the CRA will charge a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months (i.e. as high as 13%)
If a taxpayer is charged a late-filing penalty on their return for 2013, 2014, or 2015 their late-filing penalty for 2016 may be 10% of their 2016 balance owing, plus 2% of their 2016 balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months (i.e. as high as 50%).
- Always try to file and pay by the deadline
- Even if you can’t pay on the deadline, file your return by the deadline
- If you can’t afford to pay the entire amount owing you or you representative call CRA’s debt management call centre at 1-888-863-8657 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern time.