How to Check on Your Tax Refund in Canada

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The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not start processing Canadian income tax returns until the middle of February. No matter how early you file your income tax return, you will not be able to get information on the status of an income tax refund until the middle of March. You should also wait until at least four weeks after you file your return before checking on the status of an income tax refund. If you file your return after April 15, you should wait at least six weeks before checking on the status of your return.

Processing Times for Tax Refunds

The length of time it takes the CRA to process your income tax return and refund depends on how and when you file your return.

Processing Times for Paper Returns

  • Paper returns usually take four to six weeks to process.
  • For paper tax returns filed before April 15, wait four weeks before you check on your refund.
  • For paper tax returns filed on or after April 15, wait six weeks before you check on your refund.

Processing Times for Electronic Returns

Electronic (NETFILE or EFILE) returns can take as little as eight business days to be processed. However, you should still wait at least four weeks before you check on your refund.

Tax Returns Selected for Review

Some income tax returns, both paper and electronic, are selected for more detailed tax return reviews by the CRA before they are assessed, as well as afterward. The CRA may ask you to submit documentation to verify claims you submitted. This is not a tax audit, rather it is part of CRA efforts to identify and clarify common areas of misunderstanding in the Canadian tax system. If your tax return is selected for a review, it will slow down the assessment and any refund.

Information Required to Check on Your Tax Refund

To check on the status of your income tax refund you need to provide the following information:

  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • The month and year of your birth
  • The amount entered as Total Income on line 150 of your income tax return for the previous year.

How to Check on Your Tax Refund Online

You can check on the status of your income tax return and refund using the My Account tax service, which you can register for using your existing online banking information or by creating a CRA user ID and password. You will be mailed a security code within five to 10 days, but you don't need it to access some limited service options. (The security code has an expiry date, so it is a good idea to use it when it arrives, so you won't have to go through the process again when you want to use My Account for another service.)

To access My Account, you will need to provide:

  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your postal code or ZIP code, as appropriate
  • The amount you entered on your income tax return from either the current tax year or the one before. Have both handy.

How to Check on Your Tax Refund by Phone

You can use the automated Telerefund service on the Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) to find out if your return has been processed and when to expect your refund cheque.

  • The TIPS phone number is: 1-800-267-6999
  • The Telerefund service is also available at: 1-800-959-1956