How to file your income taxes, and where to get help

Volunteers can help you file your taxes, either in person or virtually. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
Volunteers can help you file your taxes, either in person or virtually. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Your T4s have been delivered, your RRSP contributions have been made, and now it's time to sit down and work on your income tax return.

CBC News has gathered these resources to help Prince Edward Islanders complete their taxes.

What's new

There are a couple of new programs that are close to home.

For people looking to buy their first home, there is the First Home Savings Account. This program lets you save up for a downpayment for your first home in a tax-free account, much like a TFSA, or Tax-Free Savings Account. It means your can hold investments within that account and not have to pay tax on any capital gains, so your downpayment will grow faster. This isn't something you'll encounter on this year's tax forms, but open an account now to save next year.

Also on the home front, the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit provides a tax credit if you build a secondary unit for a family member to move into. Again, that's something to consider now so that you can qualify next tax season.

For people working from home, the simplified $2-a-day credit to cover associated costs brought in during the COVID era is gone. If you want to claim work-from-home expenses, you have to go back to the old, more complicated method of calculating a percentage of your total housing cost.

Do I have to file a return?

Even if you did not earn enough to pay income taxes, you should consider filing a return.

Canada Revenue Agency needs a tax return from you in order to see if you qualify not only for refunds but also for other benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit, the new P.E.I. Children's Benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.


If you owe money on your personal income tax, the deadline for filing without having to pay any interest on your balance is April 30.

If you are self-employed or operate a business, the deadline for paying any money owing is April 30, but you do not have to file your return until June 15.

Choosing a service

The Canada Revenue Agency says using software to file electronically can mean fewer errors, faster processing of your return, and therefore quicker payment of any refund.

The CRA system for receiving online returns is called Netfile. Make sure that the software you use to file is Netfile certified for use in Canada.

There are many commercially available Netfile-certified programs, but you can also find free programs that will work both on your desktop and your phone. CRA lists 11 of these programs, and you can find that list here.

In order to use Netfile, you will need your Netfile access code, which is included on your Notice of Assessment from the previous tax year. So make sure you have your Notice of Assessment on hand along with your T4s and other documents.

Need some help?

CRA has put together comprehensive information about filing income tax returns. You can find it here.

But if this all still seems overwhelming, you don't need to worry. You are not alone.

CRA has long sponsored a volunteer program to help Canadians file their taxes. More than 6,000 Prince Edward Islanders had their taxes prepared by volunteers last year.

There are 16 volunteer tax clinics on P.E.I., spread from one end of the Island to the other.

There are three basic types of clinics: walk-in, drop-off, and virtual.

At a walk-in clinic, you will sit down with a volunteer who will do your return while you wait. Some walk-in clinics are first-come, first-served, and others are operated by appointment.

At a drop-off clinic, you will leave your tax documents and pick up your completed return at a later time.

With a virtual clinic, a volunteer will do your return with you during a video conference or telephone call at a pre-arranged time.

These clinics are designed for relatively simple tax returns. Small business owners can find help directly from CRA through the Liaison Officer Service. You can find more information about that here.