How to NETFILE a StudioTax 2012 Return Online to the CRA for Free

After downloading and installing StudioTax 2012, testing it with a typical personal Canadian income tax return, and a very simple business income and personal income tax return, I was ready to calculate my own taxes. After that, I filed my tax return online following the instructions provided by StudioTax. And it cost me


Well, I did make a donation to StudioTax but somehow that doesn’t feel the same as having to fork out the big bucks for boxed software. It’s like being asked to do something instead of ordered to do it.

UPDATE: I do hope to file a return again in early 2014 using StudioTax 2013. Until then, I hope this article will provide you with an overview of how it works.

Here’s how I filed online:

Filing a Canadian Income Tax Return Online from StudioTax 2012

  1. Double click on the icon to Start StudioTax 2012.
  2. Click on your name under the Recent Returns.
  3. Review each part of your return by clicking on the listed Schedules and Forms on the left side of the screen. Look for any errors or omissions. (Or print a draft of your return to review it.)
  4. It’s very important to review your return before filing. One user reported on RedFlagDeals that by entering a number for the public transportation credit using commas StudioTax reset the deduction value to 0! So take a few minutes and look closely.
  5. If you want to see a Schedule that is not listed,
    1. click on the icon at the top of the screen called Forms.
    2. Select the Schedule you want to review.
    3. Click the down arrow key to add it to the list.
    4. Click OK.

    The Schedule will now be added to the list on the left side of the screen. You can click on it and review the information on it.

If everything looks good, you can NETFILE your taxes.

Preparing to NETFILE your Return

  1. From the icons at the top of the screen, click on NETFILE.
  2. If necessary, save your file by clicking on YES.
  3. Read the explanatory message, then click Next.
  4. Read the next material.
    Check the box to confirm you have understood it.
    Click the Next button.
  5. Read the exclusions.
    If none of the situations apply to you, click on the No button, then click on the Next button.
  6. If you are prompted to check your facts, check them and then select Yes and click Next.
  7. Read any warnings.
    If no action is required, click Next.
  8. Make a note of where your file is stored on your computer:
    For example: C:\Documents and Settings\user7\MyDocuments\BETCROOKS_2012.TAX
    If the suggested location is acceptable, click on Next.
  9. After the file successfully generates, click on the Next button.

StudioTax generates a useful screen listing what you will need to NETFILE including your SIN number and the location of your .TAX file.

Sending the Return In by NETFILE

Click on the link to the CRA website at

On the CRA website:

Click on the Ready to File button.

  1. Read the information.
  2. If you want to continue click on the button: I agree with the Terms and Conditions – proceed
  3. Click on the applicable button:
    • I am filing an income tax return with the CRA for the first time.
    • My personal information including my name, mailing address or direct deposit information has not changed.
    • I need to update my personal information with the CRA including my name, mailing address, or direct deposit information before I can proceed with NETFILE.

    NOTE: when it asks whether you are filing for the first time, it means filing taxes by any method, including by mail, not just by NETFILE.

On the NETFILE transmission page

  1. In the Social Insurance Number (SIN) text box, type your SIN number.
  2. In the Date of Birth (YYYY MM DD) fields, type your date of birth as described.
  3. If you are filing your first income tax return with the CRA check the box: I am filing an income tax return with the CRA for the first time.
    It will then prompt you to enter your given name, second name, family name etc.
  4. After clicking on the Browse button, navigate to where the file is stored on your computer.
    Double click on the name of your file.
  5. If you intend to pay any taxes due within the next 5 days by internet or telephone banking and if you want your Notice of Assessment to show that you have paid, click on the box beside “I will make an electronic payment using my financial institution’s Internet or telephone banking services within the next five days”
    They will then place a hold on your return till after the 5 days before they review your taxes and print your Notice of Assessment.
  6. Read the Declaration.
    If you agree, click the check box beside “I agree with this declaration.”
  7. Click on the button: File my return now!
  8. You will receive a message thanking your for using NETFILE which should include your proper name.
    It should say
    “We have successfully received your 2012 tax return.”
  9. Be sure to make a note of the confirmation number, or print the page for your file, by clicking on the Print this Page button.

If you wish to file a return for your partner or spouse, click on the link Ready to file.
Otherwise, you can close your browser window.

Returning to StudioTax 2012

  1. Click on the Next button.
  2. Read the thank you.
    Seriously consider making a donation to StudioTax either now or when your Notice of Assessment comes back.
  3. Click on the Finish button.
  4. Click on File and select Exit to close the window.

You’re done! Now you’ll have to wait and see what the CRA says on your Notice of Assessment.

In the meantime,

  • be sure to file your supporting documents and keep them for at least 6 years in case the Canada Revenue Agency asks to see them
  • if desired, backup the program and your .TAX file to a more secure storage media, like a DVD
  • PAY any amount owing! The deadline for payments is April 30, 2013. If it’s later than that, pay immediately to reduce the interest charges that are building up.

Related Reading

Join In
Did you NETFILE your taxes this year with StudioTax or a competing product? Did the program help you find any extra credits or deductions? Did the CRA agree with your calculations? Please share your experiences with a comment.

2 thoughts on “How to NETFILE a StudioTax 2012 Return Online to the CRA for Free

  1. I am very late finishing my 2012 Tax Return via netfile but have now discovered I am too late to send it via the netfile link. Can I send this document another way, or do I now have to fill in the paperwork by hand and mail it?

    • First, print your return from StudioTax. Check that you have a copy of each of your forms and schedules. There is a Print button at the top of the screen.

      StudioTax provides the following information about printing a return:
      “If you don’t qualify or you choose not to use Netfile, then you can always file your return using a paper return. After you finish entering and reviewing your tax information, start the print wizard by clicking the print button and follow the wizard’s instructions. As of tax year 2005 CRA introduced the 2D Barcode technology to better capture printed returns data and minimize human errors. StudioTax added support for the new technology and we recommend printing and sending your return with 2D Barcodes.”

      Because you are filing by mail, you will also have to include the originals of your various slips such as your T4, T3s, T5s, etc. and any charitable tax receipts. (If you are not sure which slips you have to include, you can read through the 2012 General Guide at for your province.)

      Next, you will need to check which address to which to mail your return. Go to
      and check for the office that handles files for your home.

      If you have also completed your tax return for 2013, it says on the CRA website you can mai it in the same envelope.

      You will likely have to visit a post office to get your envelope weighed and to buy the correct postage. It usually costs much more than a regular stamp to mail a tax return.

      If you owe money, you should pay it immediately. That will reduce how much interest and/or penalty you may have to pay.

      If they owe you money make sure you’ve filled in the part of the tax form about your bank direct deposit numbers. It’s much faster to get direct deposit than to get a cheque from the CRA in the mail.

      I hope this helps a bit. And I’m sure it feels good to have your 2012 taxes done and will feel even better when they’re in the mail.

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