T4 Internet filing — the new way for employers to file returns

|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/09/2003

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is offering qualifying employers the opportunity to file T4s over the Internet. The new alternative filing method has already successfully been piloted and is ready for a wider rollout.

T4 Internet filing pilot

This new filing option was successfully piloted in January 2001.

Close to 3,000 employers across the country were invited to visit the CCRA's Web site, download a T4 Java application and test the new filing option. Participating employers had to have:

•15 slips or less to file;

•a computer operating Windows 95/98 or Windows NT; and

•a 128-bit encryption browser.

During the pilot, participating employers were invited to install the T4 Java application on their computer, and to complete and transmit their returns to the CCRA. The application allowed them to validate, format, save and print T4 forms on plain paper. Once the returns were successfully filed, confirmation information via the Web provided: a confirmation number, the return type, the number of slips and the tax year filed.

User satisfaction among employers who participated in the pilot was very high. The majority (90 per cent) indicated they would use T4 Internet filing again, and more than 80 per cent said they would recommend the service to someone else.

T4 Internet filing won the CCRA a gold medal in the category "Improving Service Delivery to Citizens and Businesses" at the Technology in Government Week gala last fall.

For January 2002

Building on the pilot, the CCRA is expanding T4 Internet filing to a broader audience. Now, employers who filed 70 paper slips or less last year will have a Web access code printed on their personalized T4 Summary mail-out, just above their Business Number. With this Web access code they will be eligible to use the T4 Internet filing service.

Starting in January 2002, employers will be able to access the following electronic options from the CCRA Web site:

-T4 Web forms: This is the most convenient filing option for employers that have to either file a nil return or file three slips or less.

With T4 Web forms, all that is required is a browser to be able to complete, print and submit a T4 information return.

-T4 Java application: This is the most convenient filing option for employers that have to file more than three slips, but not more than 70 slips. This downloadable Java application lets employers create, save, print and submit an electronic T4 information return.

The advantages of T4 Internet filing

With T4 Internet filing, employers will no longer have to order T4 forms, nor will they have to send a paper copy of the information return to the CCRA. However, employers still have to keep all information and documents used to prepare a T4 information return (generally, employers should keep the information for at least six years).

T4 Internet filing also means better service -- it will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employers will be able to file their T4 information returns at a time that's convenient for them.

Both the T4 Web forms and the T4 Java application will help employers:

•electronically prepare their T4 slips, summary and transmittal record;

•validate data;

•calculate totals for the summary; and

•print slips to be sent to employees.

After preparing a T4 information return, the employer will be able to send the return directly to the CCRA's computer system. The CCRA will send the employer a confirmation number once it receives the return.

For the CCRA, the T4 Internet filing project will introduce state-of-the-art technology that will eventually replace the existing manual, labour-intensive system -- that means faster processing of T4 information returns.

T4 Internet filing will reduce paper and mailing costs by diminishing the need to print and mail paper copies of T4 information returns to employers.

Future plans

The CCRA is planning to make T4 Internet filing available to all employers by January 2003. This service will be expanded to include the following features:

•an additional filing option, the Electronic Return File

Transfer option, will allow all employers, including large filers and those using third-party software, to electronically transfer information returns to the CCRA in a prescribed format; and

•Java application support for other computing platforms such as Macintosh and Linux.

The CCRA will also seek the collaboration of software developers by encouraging them to develop and incorporate T4 Internet filing solutions in their products. As the T4 Internet filing system expands and evolves, software developers will have the opportunity to meet their clients' needs by enhancing their software packages.

For more information about T4 Internet filing and to view the pilot project report and results, visit the CCRA Web site at: www.ccra.gc.ca/T4internet.

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