Canada Revenue Agency Extends eSignatures for T183 Taxpayer Forms for 2021 Tax Season
Electronic signature use helps maintain social distance
If you're a Canadian citizen or corporation who filed taxes last year using an electronic signature, you're one of many who benefited from the federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The Canadian government approved the use of electronic signatures for individual T183 and corporate T183CORP forms to help reduce social contact revisiting tax preparers to sign completed tax returns. That measure has been extended to this 2021 tax filing season as well, while the government continues to pursue making it permanent.
Among the many economic relief measures for Canadian taxpayers, including deferred filing dates, deferred tax payment, elimination of penalties and interest at this time, the electronic signature provision specifically helps maintain social distance.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA or Revenue Canada) had been considering accepting electronic signatures for the millions of Canadian citizens and corporations who authorize tax preparers to file on their behalf using the T183 or T183CORP form. Once prepared, the final tax forms used to require a physical signature before filing, necessitating a return visit – in person – to the tax preparer’s office. Now that physical signature is no longer needed.
What are Form T183 and Form T183CORP?
Forms T183 and T183CORP grant permission to a third party to submit a tax return on behalf of an individual or corporation.
Revenue Canada recognized the burden of having to visit an accountant (at least) twice to file a tax return—once to drop off paperwork, then a second time to sign the form in person before the return was submitted. Approval of e-signatures using Forms T183 and T183CORP now allows taxpayers to authorize an electronic filer to submit an income tax return on their behalf without a physical signature.
Taxpayers may enjoy two additional benefits:
- Register for email correspondence directly from the CRA
- Arrange Pre-Authorized Debit (PAD) payments from the taxpayer’s bank account
What will eSignature bring to T183 and T183Corp?
Now that electronic signatures meet the Canadian Income Tax Act requirement, use of an electronic signature like DocuSign for T183 will transform the tax filing experience for many Canadians:
- Eliminate the need to physically sign a tax return before filing
- 100% digital experience – fully paperless
- Save time, travel and post charges – with just a few clicks, an e-signature service enables signatures on tax forms from virtually anywhere
- Integrated backup – no stored paper forms, easy access to electronic files
- Keeping families and communities safe by reducing social interaction
What about EFILE and NETFILE?
Form T183 with a pre-authorized e-signature can be used in conjunction with EFILE. EFILE is a system for electronic tax filing certified by CRA that is only available to professional preparers. Your accountant can prepare and file your taxes using EFILE but will no longer require your physical signature if you fill out the T183 in advance.
EFILE should not be confused with NETFILE, which is for individual taxpayers who file returns using the internet. Taxes submitted online via NETFILE must be prepared using a NETFILE-certified product. A NETFILE submission does not require a signature since the individual tax return is prepared using CRA-approved software.
The T183CORP e-signature pre-authorization has the equivalent effect for corporations when taxes are filed by someone other than the corporation.
At a time when global citizens are being asked to limit human interaction, the Canadian government also emphasizes the ongoing need for efficient, digital business solutions to keep the economy strong. This electronic signature provision is a great example of simplifying and enabling remote transactions.
The Canadian government is committed to helping citizens and businesses stay strong and healthy during the Corona pandemic.