Understanding NETFILE Eligibility and Limitations

6 mins

Understanding NETFILE Eligibility and Limitations

When it comes to filing your taxes in Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers several convenient options, one of which is NETFILE. This online tax return filing service is designed for individuals who want to submit their own tax returns. However, it’s important to understand that not all tax returns are eligible for NETFILE. In this article, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria and limitations of NETFILE.

What is NETFILE?

NETFILE is an electronic tax filing service that allows you to submit your personal income tax return directly to the CRA. The service is quick, easy, and secure. Once your tax return is submitted, you receive immediate confirmation from the CRA. If you’re expecting a refund, you may receive it within as little as two weeks.

NETFILE Eligibility

Before you can use NETFILE, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. For the 2022 tax year, you will be asked to enter an Access code after your name, date of birth, and social insurance number. This eight-character Access code is made up of numbers and letters and is located on the right side of your Notice of Assessment for a previous tax year.

NETFILE Limitations

While NETFILE is a convenient way to file your taxes, it does have some limitations. Here are some specific situations that prevent you from filing a tax return through the NETFILE service:

  • You can’t use NETFILE to file a tax return for any taxation year other than 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022.
  • You can’t use NETFILE to file a tax return for another person. For example, if a taxpayer prepared a spousal/family return, each taxpayer must send his or her return separately.
  • You can’t use NETFILE to file your tax return if you went bankrupt in 2022 or 2023 (this does not include a proposal for bankruptcy).
  • You can’t use NETFILE to file your tax return if you are a non-resident of Canada.
  • You can’t use NETFILE to change personal information. To update your personal information, you need to follow the CRA’s procedures for changing your name or address.

There are also several other restrictions related to specific situations, such as your tax return being discounted by a third party, being considered a deemed resident, filing a tax return for an individual who died in 2022 or 2023, and more. For a full list of restrictions, please refer to the CRA’s official website.


NETFILE is a convenient and efficient way to file your taxes in Canada. However, it’s important to understand its eligibility criteria and limitations. If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to use NETFILE, it’s always a good idea to check with a tax professional.


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