Tax-Filer Empowerment Canada Code of Conduct:
Safeguarding the Personal Information of Canadians
Formed in 2018, Tax-Filer Empowerment Canada (TFEC) is a 12-member national industry association comprised of Canada’s leading tax preparation and software firms. TFEC members’ services are widely available across Canada, and we collaborate closely with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Quebec (RQ) to ensure all Canadians have access to impartial, accurate, and accessible tax preparation and software options.
Canadians benefit from a marketplace that provides secure and effective services to file their taxes themselves, or with the help of a tax preparer. This approach ensures a clear separation between the independent tax preparer, who represents the taxpayer, and the tax collection agency.
While filing taxes on paper remains an option for some, nine out of every ten Canadian taxpayers file electronically. Considerable collaboration between industry and the CRA has gone into ensuring that electronic filing is safe and secure. When taxes are filed electronically, a secure portal is used between the filing platform and the CRA. Private sector tax-filing software, including the free versions available to Canadians, are certified annually by the CRA. This entails meeting government software standards and testing by a specialized IT group within the CRA.
TFEC wants Canadians to understand and be reassured on how TFEC members safeguard their Personal Information. Members abide by federal legislation, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act (PIPEDA), as well as comparable provincial legislation in some provinces.
Accordingly, and in keeping with Personal Information security principles set out by law, TFEC members commit to the following:
- Privacy programs and policies that safeguard the Personal Information of their clients.
- Employee training in privacy and security.
- Clients will be made aware of the purposes for which Personal Information is being collected.
- Personal Information will be collected only for limited purposes. Unless the client consents or as otherwise permitted by law, Personal Information will only be used or disclosed for the purposes for which it was collected.
- Personal Information of clients will be kept accurate, complete, and up to date as possible.
- Personal Information, whether stored in physical or electronic format, will be protected by appropriate security measures in accordance with law and best practices.
- Tax filing software, services and products must be certified by CRA on an annual basis.
- Appropriate safeguards are in place to protect electronic systems from hacking, illegal intrusions, viruses, and phishing. These safeguards are reviewed with a view to updating regularly in response to emerging cyber risks.
- Clients have a right to request access to their Personal Information, review its accuracy and completeness, and request corrections.
- Each TFEC member will have privacy policies and a Senior Privacy Officer with applicable contact information publicly available.
- TFEC and its members will continue to work with the CRA and RQ to help ensure that online filing remains safe and secure.
- TFEC has established a Privacy and Security Committee to review these commitments, collective policies, and practices on an ongoing basis. The Committee will collaborate with tax administrators, government privacy and security authorities, and relevant outside experts.
Adopted: March 10, 2023