By: Andre Boysen, CIO, SecureKey
As the snow begins to melt and the days get brighter, it’s a reminder that spring is just around the corner – and with spring, comes tax season in Canada! The April 30 deadline is creeping nearer, with the deadline for those that are self-employed (June 17) not far behind.
While this may sound like a lot of time to get your receipts and tax slips in order, you may want to start this year’s process now. If you haven’t already, the first step everyone should be taking is creating an account with the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) electronic filing service – by creating a username and password or by leveraging your financial institution login through SecureKey ConciergeTM.
According to new statistics from the Government of Canada, during the period between February 11 and March 11, 2019, 92.1 per cent of Canadians used electronic filing methods such as EFILE, NETFILE and File My Return (FMR) and only 7.9 per cent used paper for their 2019’s tax-filing. For the 2018 season, almost nine out of every 10 tax returns were processed using electronic filing methods (89 per cent) while only 11 per cent used paper. Year-over-year, the use of paper methods has seen a significant reduction, from 18 per cent in 2014, to 16 per cent in 2015, 14 per cent in 2016 and 12 per cent in 2017. In other words, with each year we are all getting more savvy about e-filing and benefiting from the convenience and time savings, not to mention getting our refunds faster.
This trend reflects new financial habits, evident not only during tax season but across the entire financial services spectrum. Consumer demand has generated a dramatic shift in financial services over the past decade as financial institutions face the continuous challenge of meeting their customers’ expectations to be always “on” and accessible, to be a trusted long-term advisor and to be there in a moment of need.
Consumers today expect secure and convenient access to banking services from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. Mobile has become the delivery channel for all financial institutions, as everyone with a smartphone has their bank in their pocket. In fact, FIS Global’s annual “Performance Against Consumer Expectations” (PACE) report found that digital self-service is a high priority for consumers under the age of 53. All generations except Baby Boomers – from young Millennials through Generation X – now prefer the mobile channel.
With this in mind, financial institutions strive to innovate and develop new technologies to continue providing their customers with products and services that they can trust. With the right mix of technology, products, services, education and outreach, even growing financial institutions are meeting their consumer expectations and aligning their offerings to what’s most relevant for their target audiences.
In Canada, financial institutions are far ahead in their approach to customer satisfaction. One of the steps they are taking – not only to keep their clients happy and engaged but to perform at the best of their capabilities regarding security and safety – is to partner with the federal and provincial governments and organizations such as the CRA to offer trustworthy solutions for online access to online service destinations.
Today, more than a dozen financial institutions in Canada are already using SecureKey ConciergeTM. Instead of creating and managing a new user ID for each government service available online, SecureKey ConciergeTM users access them by signing in with their online login credentials through their financial institution (“Sign-In Partner”). Once they sign in with their Sign-In Partner, they are provided with convenient access to the government service. It is important to note that no personal information or login details are exchanged during this process, guaranteeing complete privacy and security.
Last month, the network of trusted Sign-In Partners welcomed its sixteenth member, Servus Credit Union. Servus, an Alberta-based member-owned financial institution, now offers its members more private access to online government services, making their banking transactions easier and safer. This growing body of financial institutions partnering with the Canadian governments to offer easier, faster and more reliable services, marks a new era for banking and underscores the financial and government institutions’ commitment to becoming better financial partners.
At SecureKey, we are thrilled to have Affinity Credit Union, ATB Financial, BMO, Choice Rewards, CIBC, Conexus Credit Union, Desjardins, Caisses Populaires, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, Servus Credit Union, Tangerine, TD, UNI Financial Cooperation and Vancity as our SecureKey ConciergeTM Sign-In Partners and, together, look forward to contributing to the evolution of the financial industry, helping consumers make more informed decisions and enjoy banking at its best.
If your financial institution is listed above and you’re ready to use any of the CRA’s electronic tax-filing services, log in today through SecureKey ConciergeTM. If not, ask your financial institution when they plan to join the service.
To learn more about SecureKey ConciergeTM for tax purposes, visit the CRA’s frequently asked questions about Sign-in partners.
 EFILE is a service that lets authorized service providers and discounters send individual income tax return information to the CRA directly from the software used to prepare the tax return. NETFILE allows you to file your tax return directly to the CRA using the Internet and a NETFILE-certified software product. File my Return (FMR) is an automated phone service that allows eligible individuals to file their returns over the phone.