No deadline extension for tax returns despite potential CRA strike

Click to play video: 'Federal workers set to strike Wednesday if no deal reached: PSAC'
Federal workers set to strike Wednesday if no deal reached: PSAC
WATCH: More than 150,000 federal public sector workers will walk off the job on Wednesday if the federal government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada are unable to reach a deal. Touria Izri takes a look – Apr 17, 2023

Londoners and Canadians alike still need to file their tax returns by May 1 this year, despite a looming strike by federal workers.

The Canada Revenue Agency says there will be no extensions for T1 tax filing despite more than 35,000 CRA workers being in a legal strike position.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents more than 155,000 federal public servants, including CRA employees, says if a deal is not reached with the federal government by 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, a strike will commence at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Even though the potential for a strike has been known for months, Crystal Volpe, president of C&V Income Tax Service in London, says there has been a rush from clients over the past week to get filings done and accounted for.

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“At this time of the year, we are always busy… but we are finding an immense amount of emails and calls clients wondering what is going to happen,” said Volpe on Monday.

Volpe says the most prominent concerns she is hearing from people reaching out are if there will be an extension and if returns will still be issued.

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Residents are not alone in seeking out an extension. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) issued a statement Monday urging both sides to reach an agreement quickly. Should an agreement not be reached, the CFIB is asking for deadlines to be extended to ensure businesses can submit all files on time.

“If CRA workers, in addition to more than 120,000 other federal public servants, go on strike, the impact on small businesses could be massive,” said Dan Kelly, president of the CFIB. “We’re looking to both sides to come to a quick resolution at a cost taxpayers can afford.”

The CFIB is also calling on full service to be maintained for small businesses should a strike occur and for back-to-work legislation be considered should negotiations fail.

Despite calls from taxpayers and businesses alike, the CRA says an extension would not be granted. A potential strike “in no way impedes the ability of Canadians to file their taxes electronically or on paper,” an agency spokesperson told Global News in an email Thursday.

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The CRA says disruptions should be anticipated if filing by paper or attempting to reach their contact centres for questions.

Volpe underscored that electronic filing would not be impacted in any way.

“The computers will still be processing returns, refunds will still be coming out,” said Volpe. “Everything that is done electronically should not stop.”

Except for certain statuses of immigration and bankruptcy, Volpe says all filing can now be done electronically and should be the manner of filing taxes from now on for most people.

If yet to file, Volpe says there is still time as long as you are willing to be patient.

“We have patience with you, have patience with us,” said Volpe. “We still have two weeks, that’s plenty of time to get things done and processed, just don’t wait until April 30th because that is only going to create more pressure.”

A final round of negotiations between PSAC and CRA is set for April 17-20.

— with files from Global’s Saba Aziz and Aaron D’Andrea

Click to play video: 'CRA strike: Canada’s public service workers intend to reach deal, avoid strike'
CRA strike: Canada’s public service workers intend to reach deal, avoid strike

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