Note: The following guide provides essential information regarding late and back taxes in Canada. It is not intended to substitute professional advice. Taxpayers are encouraged to consult with a qualified accountant or tax professional to address their specific tax situations. Contact BOMCAS Canada Accounting and Tax Services today for all your accounting and tax needs


As tax season approaches, it is crucial for Canadian taxpayers to stay informed about the consequences of filing late or failing to file their taxes altogether. Late and back taxes can result in penalties, interest charges, and potential legal implications. This comprehensive guide aims to provide taxpayers with a clear understanding of the implications and steps to navigate the process effectively.

Understanding Late Filing Penalties and Interest Charges

Late Filing Penalties

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) imposes penalties for individuals who file their tax returns after the designated deadline. While there are no penalties for late filing if you do not owe any taxes, individuals who have a balance owing must file their taxes on time to avoid incurring penalties.

The late-filing penalty is determined as a percentage of the balance owing. For the tax year 2022, the penalty is set at 5% of the balance owing, plus an additional 1% for each full month that the return is late, up to a maximum of 12 months. It is important to note that even if you are unable to pay the full amount owed, you should still file your taxes on time to avoid the late-filing penalty.

Interest Charges on Late Taxes

In addition to the late-filing penalty, the CRA charges compound daily interest on any taxes owed that are not paid by the deadline. The interest rate is subject to change every quarter, based on prescribed rates set by the CRA. For the first quarter of the year, the interest rate on overdue taxes is 8%.

It is essential to address any outstanding tax balances promptly to minimize the impact of interest charges. The longer the taxes remain unpaid, the more significant the interest charges will become.

Filing Late Taxes

Can I Still File My Tax Return If I Missed the Deadline?

Yes, taxpayers can still file their tax returns even if they missed the deadline. The CRA allows late filing through the electronic tax-filing service, NETFILE, until 3 AM ET on January 26, 2024. However, it is important to note that late filing may result in penalties and interest charges if there is a balance owing.

Self-Employed Individuals and Late Filing

Self-employed individuals have until June 15th of each year to file their tax returns. However, any balance owing must still be paid by May 1st to avoid penalties. It is crucial for self-employed individuals to meet both the filing and payment deadlines to avoid unnecessary charges.

Consequences of Late and Back Taxes

Impact on Benefits and Credits

Failing to file taxes on time can have implications on various benefits and credits for which taxpayers may be eligible. For example, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and GST/HST credits require up-to-date tax filing information to determine eligibility and calculate the correct amount.

By filing taxes late, taxpayers may miss out on receiving these benefits and credits promptly, resulting in financial consequences.

Interest Relief for 2020 Income Taxes Owing

The CRA introduced interest relief for taxes owed for the 2020 tax year. Eligible individuals with earned income below $75,000 and who received COVID-19 emergency or recovery benefits in 2020 may qualify for interest relief. To benefit from this relief, taxpayers must file their 2020 tax returns by April 30, 2022.

False Statements and Tax Evasion

Knowingly making false statements on tax returns or engaging in tax evasion can result in severe penalties. The CRA may impose penalties of at least $100 or 50% of the unpaid tax amount, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Criminal convictions, fines, and potential jail time may also be imposed for unreported income and tax evasion.

Seeking Relief and Payment Options

Requesting Penalty and Interest Relief

Taxpayers facing circumstances beyond their control may request the CRA to waive or cancel penalties and interest charges. These requests must be made within a 10-year period from the request date. However, it is important to note that relief is not applicable to debts older than the specified time frame.

Voluntary Disclosures Program

The CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) allows taxpayers to rectify past returns without penalties. This program is designed for taxpayers who have unreported income, ineligible expenses, or unfiled information returns. By voluntarily disclosing the information, taxpayers may receive relief from penalties and potential legal consequences.


Late and back taxes in Canada can have significant financial and legal implications for taxpayers. It is crucial to file tax returns on time, even if you are unable to pay the full amount owed. By understanding the penalties, interest charges, and available relief options, taxpayers can navigate the tax filing process effectively and minimize the impact of late or unpaid taxes.

Remember, consulting with a qualified accountant or tax professional is essential to address specific tax situations and ensure compliance with the CRA’s regulations and requirements. Contact BOMCAS Canada Accounting and Tax Services today for all your accounting and tax needs