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What is NETFILE?

NETFILE is one of our electronic tax-filing options. This transmission service allows you to file your personal income tax and benefit return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) using the Internet. You can only transmit your own tax return to the CRA using NETFILE. You cannot transmit tax returns on behalf of your clients.

When you use NETFILE, you cannot change any of your personal information such as your name, address, or direct deposit information.

To change your address: If you are already registered to use the My Account online service, login and change your address prior to using NETFILE. If you are not registered, you can change your address by calling 1-800-714-7257.

For information on changing your name and/or correcting your date of birth, contact Individual income tax enquiries at 1-800-959-8281.

Requests for direct deposit or to update your information can also be found using the My Account service.

NETFILE is intended for the millions of individuals who use commercial software to manage their financial affairs and prepare their tax returns. These individuals can transmit their own tax returns using the CRA's free Internet transmission service, NETFILE. In the past, they had to print and mail their tax returns.

The NETFILE transmission service to electronically file your 2013 personal income tax and benefit return is available from February 10, 2014, until January 16, 2015.

Who can use NETFILE?

NETFILE is available to most Canadians; however, there are some types of tax returns that cannot be submitted electronically. Our Restrictions webpage explains the exceptions.

Tax preparation service providers cannot use NETFILE to file tax returns on behalf of their clients. They must use EFILE.

How NETFILE works?

Tax returns filed via NETFILE must first be prepared using one of the commercial tax preparation software packages or web applications certified for NETFILE.

Once you have prepared your personal income tax and benefit return using NETFILE-certified tax preparation software or web application, you simply need to follow the software developer's instructions to save your tax return in the proper format for NETFILE. This will save your file with a ".tax" extension. You are now ready to file your tax return.

On the NETFILE website, click on Ready to file from the left-side menu, and read and agree to the terms and conditions. This will bring you to the personal information page, which will remind you that you cannot use NETFILE to change personal information such as your name, address, or direct deposit information because this personal information is not transmitted with your return when you use NETFILE. Your notice of assessment and refund will be sent to the address on file with the CRA, not to the address you entered using the software to prepare your tax return.

If you did not change any personal information on your tax return, proceed with NETFILE. On the NETFILE transmission page, enter your social insurance number and date of birth. Attach your ".tax" file.

We suggest you use the "browse" or "choose" option to find and attach your ".tax" file; you can also copy and paste the name of the ".tax" file in the appropriate box. Should you decide to type the name of the ".tax" file, ensure you type the name correctly, including any spaces or underscores that are part of the folder structure.

If you changed any personal information on your tax return, you must update your personal information with the CRA before you can use NETFILE.

Another electronic way to file your tax return

If you decide not to use the NETFILE service, you may be able to use our other electronic tax-filing option, EFILE.

Why use NETFILE?

NETFILE is an easy-to-use, convenient option for filing your personal tax return. It streamlines the tax-filing process and offers the following benefits:

  • secure and confidential;
  • faster refunds (In most cases, with direct deposit, you could receive your refund in as little as eight business days);
  • greater accuracy (with the use of software, we don't re-key the information, and there is less chance of errors);
  • no paper return to mail;
  • no receipts to send in, unless we ask for them at a later date; and
  • immediate confirmation that we've received your tax return.

Is there a cost for NETFILE?

You'll have to use a NETFILE-certified tax preparation software or web application to prepare your tax return. There may be a cost for you to purchase a tax preparation software package or web application, but the NETFILE service is free.

A number of companies offer free use of their certified software or web application while others charge a nominal fee. Check out our Certified Software webpage for more information. Tax preparation software or web applications are provided by software developers. They are not provided by the CRA.