Do I need to file and getting started? - Segment 2


Host: Welcome to the segment called Do I need to file and getting started, part of the Preparing Your Income Tax and Benefit Return video. This segment mentions webpages where you can get more information. You can find links to these webpages in the Related links for this video.

I'm Karen Davis. With me is Sarah Taylor. Welcome Sarah.

Subject matter expert: Thank you Karen.

Host: Many people are new to filing a return, so let's quickly remind everyone why we pay taxes.

Subject matter expert: Many of the benefits Canadians enjoy are made possible through taxes. Canada's tax system pays for roads, public utilities, education, health care, economic development, cultural activities, defence, and law enforcement, among other things. Tax revenue is used to help lower income families, charities, students, retirees, and people with disabilities. Tax revenue also provides services such as old age security benefits, employment insurance benefits, the Canada child tax benefit, the working income tax benefit, and the universal child care benefit.

Host: So Sarah, can you tell me who has to file a return?

Subject matter expert: You have to file a return if you have to pay tax for a particular calendar year. You also have to file if the CRA sent you a request to do so. There are many other situations in which people have to file a return. For a complete list, go to the webpage on this topic.

Host: What if I want to claim a refund or apply for benefits?

Subject matter expert: If you want to claim a refund, receive the GST/HST credit, apply for child tax benefit payments or provincial credits, you have to file a return. For a complete list, go to the webpage on this topic.

Host: So I looked over the reasons for filing and I figured out that I have to file a return. What's the first thing I need to do?

Subject matter expert: Well, the first step is to get a social insurance number, which is also called a SIN, for short, if you don't already have one.

Host: What exactly is a SIN and what is it used for?

Subject matter expert: A SIN is a nine-digit number that you need to be able to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. Your SIN is unique, personal, and confidential. Only you can use it. You must give your SIN to your employer and to institutions that pay you interest or income. In other words, you have to give your SIN to anyone who prepares your information slips, such as a T3, T4, or T5 slip. Check your slips. If your SIN is missing or incorrect, tell the slip preparer. For more information on how to apply for a SIN or to find a Service Canada office near you, visit the Service Canada website or call 1-800-206-7218.

Host: Assuming I have a SIN, what's next?

Subject matter expert: Well, individuals in all provinces and territories file a federal general income tax and benefit return, which we also call the T1 return. They also fill out the applicable provincial or territorial schedules for their province or territory of residence, with the exception of Quebec.

Host: What form do I need to use to file my return?

Subject matter expert: Use the T1 return to report income, claim deductions and credits, and calculate your tax obligations for the year. Quebec residents file a federal T1 return for the CRA and a separate provincial return for Revenu Québec. For more information on the provincial return, visit

Host: So now that I know which forms to use, tell me what supporting information I need when I fill out my return.

Subject matter expert: Gather all the information slips that your employer, payer, or administrator prepared. Most of the slips and receipts have to be sent out by the end of February. Some of the slips you might receive include the:

  • T4, Statement of Remuneration Paid;
  • T4A, Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income;
  • T4E, Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits; and
  • T5007, Statement of Benefits.

For more information, go to the webpage on information slips.

Host: What do I do if I'm missing information slips or if perhaps I have lost some of them?

Subject matter expert: If you're missing information slips, you have to estimate the income that should have been on them. Keep track of the estimate and how you came up with it. For example, say you worked for a small company but by mid-March you still hadn't received your T4 slip. You contacted your employer, but they didn't respond to your calls. Use your pay stubs or any statements you may have to estimate the income to report and any related deductions you can claim. Enter the estimated amounts on the appropriate lines of your T1 return. No matter which method you choose to file your return, make sure you file it on time, even if some slips or receipts are missing.

Host: Thank you, Sarah.

This concludes the segment called Do I need to file and getting started, part of the CRA's Preparing Your Income Tax and Benefit Return video. Thank you for watching.

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