Transcript - International Students and Income Tax, Segment 5: How to file a Canadian income tax and benefit return

Host: Welcome to the segment called How to file a Canadian income tax and benefit return, part of the International Students and Income Tax video.

This segment mentions links where you can get more information. You can find all these links in the Related links for this segment.

With me is Nicole Bélanger. Welcome, Nicole.

Subject matter expert: Thanks Sarah.

Host: When do I need to file or send my income tax and benefit return?

Subject matter expert: A tax year, like a calendar year, ends on December 31st. You have until April 30th of the following year to file your income tax and benefit return and pay any taxes you owe.

There is one exception. If you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed, your return must be filed on or before June 15th. Keep in mind that if you owe any taxes, you still have to pay any amount due by April 30th.

If you don't file on time, or don't pay your taxes owing on time, you could be charged penalties and interest.

Host: Some international students may have been in Canada for a few years but are just now learning that it may be beneficial for them to file a return.

Can they still file their previous year's returns? 

Subject matter expert: Generally, an individual has three years from the end of the tax year to file a return and to claim a refund.

However, there are some exceptional situations that may allow you to file after the three-year deadline.

For more information, see the CRA's Income Tax Information Circular IC07-1, Taxpayer Relief Provisions.

Host: Let's say I have to file several years of tax returns, and have to pay tax. Is there a way to reduce the penalties and interest?

Subject matter expert: You might qualify for the CRA's Voluntary Disclosures Program.

For more information about the program, go to www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.

Host: As an international student, which income tax and benefit package should I use?

Subject matter expert: That depends on your residency status and the income that you are reporting. We discuss the different residency statuses in the segment of this video called Residency and why it's important.

As an international student, you will either use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you lived on December 31st, or the income tax and benefit package for non-residents and deemed residents of Canada.

Host: Let's say I'm an international student who was a resident of Canada for tax purposes for the whole year. Which tax package should I use?

Subject matter expert: If you were a resident of Canada for a full year, use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you lived on December 31st.

If you were a resident of Quebec on December 31st, you have to file a federal return with the CRA and a separate return with Revenu Québec.

For information about filing in Quebec, visit www.revenuquebec.ca.

Host: What types of options do I have for filing my return as a resident of Canada for tax purposes?

Subject matter expert: If you'd like to prepare your return yourself, you can file your return online using one of several tax preparation software packages available for a fee or, in some cases, free of charge. You can find a list of NETFILE certified software at www.netfile.gc.ca/software.

You can also file a paper copy of your return by mailing it to your local tax centre. You can download and print a copy of the tax package from the CRA website or, if you are using the general package, you can pick up a copy at any Canada Post location from February until May.

You can also have a tax professional help you prepare and file your return online.

Whether you prepare your return yourself or have it prepared by a tax professional, remember that filing online means that you get your refund faster.

The CRA webpage called Sending a tax return lists all the filing options available to you.

Host: Let's say I am an international student who recently arrived in Canada and became a resident of Canada during the year. Which tax package would I use?

Subject matter expert: As a newcomer to Canada, you use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you lived on December 31st.

Have a look at pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada, for other filing options available to you.

Host: What if I am an international student who is a deemed resident of Canada? 

Subject matter expert: Use the income tax and benefit package for non-residents and deemed residents of Canada.

You'll find a complete list of filing options for deemed residents in CRA Guide 5013-G, General Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada. See the heading called “How to file your return,” which is in the Refund or Balance owing section of the guide.

Host: Let's say I'm an international student who is a non-resident of Canada for tax purposes. Which tax package do I use?

Subject matter expert: If you are a non-resident of Canada, the type of income you earn affects which return you need to file. Generally, you use the income tax and benefit package for non-residents and deemed residents of Canada.

However, if you are only reporting income from employment in Canada, use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you earned the income. You'll also have to include a schedule D.

It's also good to know that if you're considered a non-resident for income tax and benefit purposes and don't have any taxable Canadian income, you can't file a return for the sole purpose of carrying forward the tuition, education, and textbook amounts.

The CRA webpage called Exceptions lists all the situations where a non-resident might file a different return.

Host: What filing options are available for non-residents?

Subject matter expert: All the filing options can be found in Guide 5013-G under the heading “How to file your return.”

Returns filed by non-residents are processed by the International Tax Services Office.

Host: What is the contact information for the International Tax Services Office?

Subject matter expert: The address and telephone numbers are on the CRA's website.

Host: Thank you, Nicole.

This concludes the segment called How to file a Canadian income tax and benefit return, part of the CRA's International Students and Income Tax video.

Thank you for watching.

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