Your clients have the option to file their individual income taxes electronically. To do so, they have to be set up with EFILE, an automated service that allows you to send their information to the Canada Revenue Agency through the computer. The general idea is your client brings their tax slips and supporting documents to your office, you prepare their return using software, and then file the return online.
To get set up, your client has to file Form T183 (Information Return for Electronic Filing of an Individual’s Income Tax and Benefit Return). There’s seven parts to the form; six of these parts are required. Your client provides their general information, amounts they’re reporting on their tax return, and your electronic filer identification number. Your client also has to declare that the information is correct and decide how they want to receive notifications of assessments or reassessments.
If your client has filed their income tax return electronically, they can keep a scanned version of the form as a backup. Although the traditional definition of the Income Tax Act referred to a “record” as a paper copy, an electronic file is now accepted as long as it adheres to the requirements of Section 230. The scanned version has to be good enough quality to be readable, and the file can’t be saved in a way that the information can be changed. Document retention rules for scanned or paper copies of the form are the same. Your client has to keep a version of the T183 for six years.
Filing your client’s taxes electronically might be the safest and fastest method. With electronic document retention being accepted, feel free to keep digital records of Form T183 to minimize the amount of papers you accumulate.