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How Long Does It Take To Get Your Income Tax Refund?

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Income Tax Refund?

Filing your taxes is not the most exciting thing you will do this year. But getting an income tax refund can make a big difference to your annual budget. If you are expecting a refund, chances are you don’t want to wait for your money. Please find out how long it takes to get your income tax refund and some tips to make the process as fast as possible.

Filing a Tax Return in Canada

Canadians have 2 options for filing their tax returns. They can file them online or mail in a paper version.

If you choose to file it online by yourself or with tax preparation software, you will use the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Netfile portal. And if you have a representative, known as an authorized service provider such as an accountant, electronically file your income tax return for you, they will do so through the CRA Efile portal.

You have until April 30th of every year to file the previous year’s tax return for most situations. If you are self-employed, the deadline is June 15.

If you file late, you risk owing interest and penalties on any tax owed and delaying any eligibility you may have for other government programs. But if you are expecting a tax refund, there is technically no penalty for filing late. You will have to wait longer to receive your money.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Tax Refund?

How you choose to file your taxes will determine how fast you may receive your tax refund. Below are the guidelines, but you may receive your money faster than the standard guidelines. Check the CRA website to see what the currently suggested processing timelines are.

Filing Online

If you sign up for a direct deposit and file your tax return online, you could receive your tax refund in as little as 8 days. But the regular expected time to receive your tax refund when electronic filing is 2 weeks. This timeline may be longer the closer you file to the deadline.

Filing a Paper Return

If you file your tax return by mailing in a paper tax return, you can expect to receive your tax refund within 8 weeks. But you may have to wait as much as 16 weeks if you have a special circumstance. The closer you file to the deadline, the longer you can expect to wait.

How To Check Your Tax Refund Status

There are 2 ways that you can check your refund status. You can check the status online through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account portal, or you can call the CRA.


To check the status of your refund online, log into your CRA My Account. After you sign in, you can see your tax return status and when the CRA received the return. For more details, click on the Tax Returns menu option. From there, you can see your notice of assessments and filing dates for previous tax years as well as your most current filing.

By Phone

If you do not have access to a secure computer, you can check on your tax refund status by calling the CRA. But before you contact the Canada Revenue Agency, be sure to have the following information ready as you will need it to gain access to your account information:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Full Name and Date of Birth
  • Complete Address
  • Line 150 Form Your Most Recent Assessment

Once you have all of the required information ready, the number for the tax information phone service is 1-800-959-1956. This is an automated service and is therefore available 24 hours a day.

Tips To Get Your Tax Refund Faster

If you are expecting a tax refund, chances are you want your money as soon as possible. Here are some tips to help make the process faster.

  • File online – online tax refunds may be returned in as little as 8 days. Paper filing takes much longer.
  • Sign up for the direct deposit option – that way, you don’t have to wait for your refund cheque to arrive in the mail. The funds are transferred directly into your bank account.
  • File your tax return early – processing times are typically faster the earlier you file.
  • File a complete return – missing paperwork or filing an incomplete income tax return can delay your notice of assessment. This can also trigger the CRA to do a more detailed review of your income tax return – something nobody wants.

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