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Changing your tax return after it's been filed

It’s happened to me, and—if you’re reading this post—it’s probably happened to you. You’ve gathered all your documents, completed your tax return, filed it through NETFILE, and are feeling pretty good about being done. But then you receive another slip, find a missing receipt, discover a typo, or simply realize that you need to make a change.

First, don’t panic. You can change your return. While you can’t resubmit your return through NETFILE, making a change isn’t hard. Let me walk you through it.

You can only change your return once it’s been assessed. This usually occurs within seven days of filing.1 Using CRA My Account, you can click on the “Tax Return” tab to see whether your return has been assessed. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for your Notice of Assessment to arrive in the mail.

The easiest and fastest way to change your return is through My Account. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be “adjusted” in no time:

  1. Log in to SimpleTax and—if you haven’t already—save a PDF copy of your tax return using “Print return”. This file is just for your records; we won’t use it again.
  2. Make the necessary changes to your return in SimpleTax.
  3. Save a new PDF copy of your return.
  4. Log in to My Account, click on the “Tax Return” tab, and then click on “View returns”. You’ll see a list of your tax returns and their assessments. The most recent year is at the top of the list. Click on “Assessed” for the year you want to change. You should now see at a page that looks like this:

    The first few sections (Total income, Net income, Taxable income, and Refund or Balance Owing) are on your T1 General. As you scroll down the page, you’ll see the other schedules and forms from your return. Note that not every form will be shown (e.g., form T2125 doesn’t appear).2
  5. Compare the amount on each line in My Account to the amount on your new PDF.
  6. Once you’ve determined what line numbers have changed, scroll back to the top of the page and click on “Change this return”.
  7. You should now see a page that looks like this:

    The tab that opens has a search box which you can use to search for the line numbers that have changed. You might find it simpler to just click on the tabs that correspond to the relevant section of your return.
  8. Enter any amounts that have changed. In the example below, I’m changing Interest and other investment income (line 121) from $500 to $750.

    Note that you can’t change any lines that are calculated (e.g., your total income on line 150). The CRA’s system does this for you.
  9. When you’re ready to confirm and submit the changes, the CRA may display “errors” or “warnings”. Errors stop you from making a change until you provide additional information, while warnings give you the opportunity to add additional information that may be applicable to you.
  10. After submitting your changes, you may have an amount owing. You can send money to the CRA through your bank, similar to how you pay bills. Simply add the CRA as a payee with your SIN as the account number.
  11. You can confirm your changes and payment by checking My Account.

If you don’t use My Account, you can fill out a T1-ADJ form and mail it to the CRA.3

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the nitty gritty of changing your return, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. We’re here to help!

1 If you didn’t use NETFILE, or if you invest in tax shelters, this can take more than 7 days.

2 If you need to make a change to your business income, you only need to adjust the corresponding lines on the T1 General (Gross Income and Net Income).

3 The steps are outlined on the form and are quite straightforward. The same idea applies: you are just advising the CRA of which line numbers have changed.

File your 2018 tax return today

This year, enjoy doing your taxes. Seriously.