You May Be Able to File Your Taxes Over the Phone in as Little as 10 Minutes

You May Be Able to File Your Taxes Over the Phone in as Little as 10 Minutes
A sign outside the Canada Revenue Agency is seen in Ottawa, on May 10, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Jennifer Cowan

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is sending out invitations to some taxpayers with lower or fixed incomes to file their taxes by phone.

The CRA’s SimpleFile by Phone allows qualifying taxpayers to file their taxes beginning this week by placing a simple phone call.
“People who have a lower or fixed income and a simple tax situation may receive an invitation letter to use this service in February 2024,” the CRA said in a press release, describing the service as free and “easy to use.”

Formerly known as File My Return, the automated service uses the information already on file with the CRA combined with answers provided over the phone, to auto-file and process tax returns.

Those who are eligible to use SimpleFile will receive a personalized invitation letter this month. The service can only be used to auto-file the current tax year income tax and benefit return.

Use of SimpleFile will allow taxpayers to access benefit and credit payments, such as the Canada child benefit and the GST credit, without having to do any paperwork, the CRA said.

Those with a personal identification number can also receive net income, taxable income, and refund estimates at the end of the call.

The agency said concern about making a mistake shouldn’t keep eligible taxpayers from using SimpleFile.

“If you think you have made an error before the end of the session, you can hang up and call back to start over,” the CRA said.

Hanging up or being disconnected before the end of the session will erase all inputted information, making it necessary for the caller to start from scratch.

What you need to know about SimpleFile:

  • An invitation letter will arrive in the mail unless you are registered for My Account and have chosen electronic mail as your correspondence preference.
  • The invitation letter provides the information you will need to use this service.
  • The service is available 21 hours per day, from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. EST seven days a week.
  • You do not need to speak with a contact centre agent.
  • Tax returns can be complete in as little as 10 minutes.
  • You will need to use the keypad of your phone to confirm some personal information and answer a series of short questions.
  • If you have questions about the SimpleFile by Phone service, you can call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.