(OTTAWA) Like other Canadians, the members of Tax-Filer Empowerment Canada (TFEC) listened with interest as the Governor General delivered yesterday’s Speech from the Throne before Parliament. TFEC took particular note of the government’s intention to “…introduce free, automatic tax filing for simple returns to ensure citizens receive the benefits they need.”
The Digital Service Collaboration Plan agreed to by the CRA and TFEC in 2018 was established in part to help ensure that low income Canadians can file their taxes in order to receive the benefits that they are entitled to, without significant new government IT spending at taxpayer expense. The strategic alignment between the Government of Canada and TFEC on this important principle is emphasized in the following section of the Digital Service Collaboration Plan:
“The CRA does not plan to develop and offer its own tax preparation software, and plans to remain on, and accelerate the current path, whereby the industry uses its expertise to provide a range of user friendly commercial products and services that give consumers and tax preparers competitive options, including low cost and no cost tax filing solutions for Canadians in need.”
“The Plan – Canada Revenue Agency” – 2018 Digital Service Collaboration Plan
The partnership between the CRA and the tax preparation and software industry has yielded many positive results for Canadians. Over the past two decades, our industry has enabled CRA to transition Canadians from filing their taxes by paper to the point where nearly 90% of returns are filed online. The partnership with CRA has also seen industry provide multiple free software options allowing Canadians at all income levels across the country to file their taxes at no cost.
More recently – in response to COVID-19 – TFEC and its members worked closely with CRA to ensure that low income Canadians continue to have access to virtual, or socially distanced tax filing options. These efforts included training for users on how to file their taxes using no-cost software, as well as CRA and industry working together on the use of electronic signatures for key tax documents.
Within the spirt of partnership outlined in the Digital Service Collaboration Plan, TFEC and its members look forward to leveraging the experience, expertise and the innovative capacity of Canada’s tax preparation and software industry to work with the Government of Canada in exploring collaborative digital solutions to further assist low income Canadians in filing their taxes and receiving the benefits they are entitled to.
Tax-Filer Empowerment Canada is a 10-member national industry association comprised of Canada’s leading tax preparation and software firms. Formed in 2018, TFEC was created to promote a greater collaboration between government stakeholders such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the tax preparation and software industry, and Canadians.
For more information on TFEC and for all media inquiries, please contact:
Dan Pfeffer | Executive Director | Tax-Filer Empowerment Canada