Canadian Corporate Tax Return Deadlines & Requirements
The Deadline Depends on Your Corporation's Fiscal Year
The basic rule for filing your Canadian corporate tax return is that you must file your return no later than six months after the end of each tax year.
So when your T2 tax return is due depends on your corporation's fiscal year end. If, for instance, your corporation has a fiscal year end of June 30th, your Canadian corporate tax return would be due on December 31st (the last day of the sixth month).
If your corporation's fiscal year end falls on a date during the month rather than at the end of the month, then your T2 tax return Canada be filed by the same day of the sixth month after the end of the tax year.
If, for instance, in the example above, your corporation's fiscal year end was June 16th rather than June 30th, your Canadian corporate tax return would be due on December 16th of that year.
And if the filing deadline for your Canadian corporate tax return is a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday? The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) advises that "we will consider the return filed on time if you deliver, mail, or transmit it on the first business day after the filing deadline."
Note that you must file a Canadian corporate tax return every year, even if your corporation did not make any money – and it's important to file your T2 tax return Canada on time, or you will incur late payment penalties.
If you have any doubts about your situation, don’t guess; contact a tax professional or local tax office and explain your situation.
Filing your corporate tax return online allows for much faster processing of your return. In fact, corporations with annual gross revenue of more than $1 million must file their returns online "except for insurance corporations, non-resident corporations, corporations reporting in functional currency and corporations that are exempt from tax payable under section 149 of the Income Tax Act" (Canada Revenue Agency). If the corporation is required to file Canadian taxes online and doesn't, there are fines for non-compliance.
See the Canada Revenue Agency's Mandatory Internet Filing for T2 Corporation Tax Returns.
To file your return electronically, your T2 return uses the GIFI codes. GIFI is a system which assigns a unique code to the line items commonly found on business's income statements, balance sheets, and statements of retained earnings. If you are using accounting software for business (which is highly recommended), your financial information is already organized into the appropriate GIFI codes and can be directly transcribed into your T2 return. Some tax software allows you to directly import the financial information from various accounting software packages into your tax software, making the process even simpler.
For example, TurboTax Business Incorporated can import financial information from QuickBooks, Quicken, and other products that use the GIFI file format. You can also file your T2 return online using TurboTax.
Provincial Corporate Tax Returns
With the exception of Quebec and Alberta, provincial corporate taxes are administered jointly with the CRA and included in your federal corporate tax return. If, for example, your corporation resides in Ontario your T2 corporate return would include a calculation for Ontario corporation taxes.
Because Alberta and Quebec administer their own corporate tax collection, you must file separate provincial corporate tax returns if your business is established in either of these two provinces. For Alberta see the Corporate Income Tax section of the Treasury Board and Finance website for the appropriate forms. Filing deadlines are similar to the CRA requirements.
For Quebec visit the Corporate Income Tax Return section of the Revenue Quebec website for corporate tax return forms and information.
For more information on preparing and filing corporate income tax returns, see my Corporate Tax Canada Guide.