How to Check the Status of your CRA Tax Refund

Marin Perez
Waiting for a refund

A timely response to your income tax return depends on several factors. The CRA affirms that it aims to inform you of your income tax assessment and refund within two weeks for electronically filed returns and eight weeks for paper ones - provided you filed on time.

How to check the status of your refund

You can choose one of the following methods to check the status of your CRA tax refund:

  • Use the instructions provided in My Account
  • Use the CRA mobile app MyCRA
  • Call 1-800-959-1956. The CRA suggests waiting eight weeks after filing the return before calling. (Anecdotal evidence suggests calling the CRA may prove frustrating and/or fruitless.)

If you pay your income tax in instalments, you can arrange for any refund amount to be transferred to your instalment account. You are offered the option to do so when filing electronically, or you can attach a request to your paper return.

How can I get my refund more quickly?

The CRA recommends signing up for direct deposit in order to expedite the refund process. Direct deposit allows the CRA to use your bank account information to transfer funds. Individuals eligible for at least one of the following payments can sign up:

  • Income tax refund
  • Goods and services/harmonized sales tax credit and any similar provincial and territorial payments
  • Canada child benefit and any similar provincial and territorial payments
  • Working income tax benefit
  • Deemed overpayment of tax

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Individuals can sign up for direct deposit through the MyCRA mobile app, by phone at 1-800-959-8281, by mail using the Canada Direct Deposit enrolment form, or online using My Account.  Business owners eligible for at least one of the following payments can also use direct deposit:

  • Corporation income tax refund
  • Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit
  • Refund of excise tax or other levies
  • Refund of payroll deductions

Business owners or their representatives can sign up for direct deposit online through My Business Account or Represent a Client, or by mail using Form RC366, Direct Deposit Request for Business. An information line is available at 1-800-959-5525.  For direct deposit related to a trust, the name on the bank account must be the same as the name of the trust. Sign up by mail using the T3-DD, Direct Deposit Request for T3 form, or fill in the direct deposit section on the T3RET, T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return. For more information call 1-800-959-8281.

Why is my refund taking so long?

The CRA may not pay part or any of your refund if:

  • You owe or are about to owe a balance
  • There's an existing garnishment order under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act
  • You have certain other outstanding federal, provincial, or territorial government debts, including student loans, employment insurance and social assistance overpayments, immigration loans, and training allowance overpayments
  • You owe any GST/HST amounts related to a sole proprietorship or partnership
  • Your refund is $2 or less

What about interest on my tax refund?

Just as taxpayers pay compound daily interest on any overdue balance, the government ensures that the same applies to refunds, starting on whichever comes latest of the following dates:

  • May 31st
  • The 31st day after you file your return
  • The day after you overpaid your taxes