This weekend looks to be a busy one for the millions of Canadians who have yet to file their tax returns, according to figures from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The filing deadline is midnight Monday.
The tax department says it has processed 14.2 million returns as of April 23. With about 27 million returns expected, that leaves about 13 million left to process.
The CRA says it has actually received more than 14.2 million returns because it takes time to process them — about two weeks for returns filed electronically, and four to six weeks for those filed on paper. But millions always leave the task to the last few days.
The latest statistics show that Canadians are increasingly choosing to file their returns electronically. Almost half of the returns processed so far this tax-filing season have been Efiled through commercial tax preparation firms. Another quarter have been Netfiled, which allows Canadians to file returns themselves through the internet using online or software programs. Most of the rest have been sent in the old-fashioned way — on paper.
About 9.5 milllion of the returns processed have resulted in refunds, with an average refund of $1,547. About 1.7 million tax filers owed money — an average of $3,100 each. The other three million returns have no balance owing and no refund due.
Failure to file by the midnight Monday deadline results in a late penalty of five per cent of the taxes owed plus one per cent a month.
That penalty doubles for those who were charged a late-filing penalty relating to their 2008, 2009 or 2010 tax returns.
Interest, compounded daily, will also be charged on unpaid amounts owing for 2011 as of May 1.
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