CRA allows for Electronic signatures to Process Tax Returns
Temporary measure immediately enabling electronic signatures for the T183, Information Return for Electronic Filing of an Individual's Income Tax and Benefit Return, and the T183CORP, Information Return for Corporations Filing Electronically
If an individual or a corporate taxpayer wishes to file their income tax return through an electronic filer, they must authorize the electronic filer to do so by completing a T183, Information Return for Electronic Filing of an Individual's Income Tax and Benefit Return, or a T183CORP, Information Return for Corporations Filing Electronically.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to improving and enhancing the services it offers to Canadians, including digital services, and is continuously striving to ease the burden imposed upon taxpayers and tax preparers when filing income tax returns. From March 18, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to meet the evolving expectations of taxpayers and electronic filers during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, the CRA will recognize a Form T183 or T183CORP that contains an electronic signature as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act as a temporary administrative measure.
An electronic signature would provide taxpayers and their representatives with further options to have these information returns signed. Electronic filers are already responsible for verifying the identity of the taxpayer, both to protect their own interests and the integrity of the tax system. This will not change.
In order for the CRA to accept an electronic signature from a taxpayer whose identity has been verified by the filer, the electronic signature will generally need to be provided in one of the following ways:
i. It may be provided if the taxpayer sends the information return, including the electronic signature using the electronic address most recently provided by the taxpayer to the electronic filer;
ii. It may be provided in person by the taxpayer, in the presence of the electronic filer. e.g. using a stylus or finger on a tablet; or
iii. It may be provided through an access controlled, secured electronic location such as a secure website, that is accessible to the taxpayer only because the location of the secure website has been made known to the taxpayer and access has been granted by the filer.
The number of tax returns filed electronically by tax preparers continues to grow and industry stakeholders have been requesting this change, especially now with the recent rise in COVID 19 cases in Canada. The proposed change is expected to better meet the needs of this population, and will reduce an unintended burden that the current signature requirement imposes on some individuals. These provisions will be in place until August 31, 2020. The CRA will continue to pursue regulatory requirements to implement these measures permanently.