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'Double whammy': What happens if you don't file your taxes by the deadline


For most Canadians, the clock is ticking ahead of the deadline to file a 2023 income tax return.

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) will consider a return to be filed on time if it's submitted on or before April 30. It's also the last day to pay any outstanding balance to the CRA to avoid owing interest.

"It's definitely not something you want to be late on," Douglas Hoyes, a personal finance expert, told CTV News Channel on Monday. "Get them filed so at least you're not getting hit with penalties."

Not filing your taxes on time can lead to a "double whammy," says Hoyes, who warns that not only can you be hit by stiff penalties, you can also lose out on benefits – like the Canada Carbon Rebate (CCR) and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

"Any kind of benefits you get, you want to get your taxes filed," he explained to CTV News anchor Marcia MacMillan. "If you file today, it might be six to eight weeks before you get the first payment that a bunch of people already got."

What if you owe more than you can pay?

Most Canadians fall into "two groups" when filing their taxes, according to Hoyes.

The first group are people who get a refund and "jump on it quickly," but then there's a second group that is more "at risk" for missing the deadline.

Hoyes warns that this group knows they owe money, so ask "what's the point" of filing early and miss the deadline – putting them at risk of being hit by stiff penalties and interest.

But what about Canadian who end up owing more than they're able to pay?

"If you can't pay in full on April 30, then number one thing to do is talk to CRA," Hoyes advises. "If you can get it paid off over the next six months... the CRA will work with you."

Taking action is critical, says Hoyes, because if you set up a payment plan with the CRA "they're going to charge you interest," but nothing else will happen.

However, if you have a large amount of debt, Hoyes says that a "consumer proposal" involving working out a "payment plan" with both the CRA and other creditors is an option to consider.

"You want to get some expert advice from a licensed insolvency trustee before making that decision," he advised.

How easy is it to contact the CRA?

Many of the documentation that Canadians need is accessible online, and according to Hoyes, that's the most efficient way to get information.

"You can see all your T slips, you can see where your tax refund is at, you can see what benefits you're eligible for."

However, if you actually want to talk to a representative, he warns you should call early and be prepared to wait.

"If you want to talk to a human being, it's not easy." Top Stories

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