Webinar for persons who are new to Canada: Get your benefits and credits
Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired, on March 16, 2022. For the most recent information on these topics, go to the following website: Newcomers to Canada (immigrants and returning residents) - Canada.ca
Hello, and welcome to Canada Revenue Agency’s webinar for people who are new to Canada.
My name is Dawn and I’ll be your host for this session.
I’ll talk about the benefits and credits you can receive and the services we have to help you with your taxes.
I would like to start by acknowledging that I am presenting to you from the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and the island of Newfoundland as the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq. I acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassinan, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of NunatuKavut.
We recognize that many of you joining us today are in different places. We invite you to take a moment of silence to acknowledge the territory that you are on.
During this presentation, I will tell you about:
- Canada’s tax system,
- some of the benefits and credits you could get,
- how to keep getting your payments,
- some of the services and tools the CRA offers,
- how to manage your tax and benefit affairs securely, and
- and how to protect yourself against scams.
Note that for the rest of the presentation, I’ll be calling the Canada Revenue Agency “the CRA.”
The CRA administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories. The CRA is also responsible for federal, provincial, and territorial programs funded through the tax system.
Many of the services and benefits we enjoy are made possible through taxes.
The money collected through the different types of tax is used to fund facilities, services, and social programs such as:
- roads and bridges
- education and schools
- healthcare and hospitals
- libraries, parks, and playgrounds
- employment insurance, old age security, the Canada child benefit, as well as,
- social assistance.
Canada’s tax system is based on a self-assessment principal.
That means every taxpayer is responsible for:
- doing their income tax return on time,
- reporting their income from all sources,
- paying any income tax owed on time,
- and, ensuring the information on your return is accurate and complete.
The CRA uses information from your tax return to calculate your benefit and credit payments. You need to do your taxes to receive what you may be eligible for.
For more information on Canada’s tax system and how to do your first income tax return as a resident, go to the web address on your screen.
You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant ties in Canada. And usually, you establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada. Significant residential ties to Canada include:
- a home in Canada
- a spouse or common-law partner in Canada
- dependants who move to Canada to live with you
Note that your residency status for tax purposes is different from your immigration status.
If you would like the CRA’s opinion about your residency status, you can fill out Form NR74, Determination of Residency Status.
One question you may be asking yourself is, do I have to do a tax return?
If you’ve only lived in Canada for part of the year, you may still have to do your taxes for part of the year when you lived here.
Completing a tax return and reporting your income let's you calculate whether tax is owed or a refund will be issued.
In some situations, doing your taxes is mandatory. For example, if you have to pay tax or the CRA sent you a request to do so.
But even if you don’t have to do your taxes, it can be a good idea.
For instance, you’ll need to do your taxes to claim a tax refund or get benefit and credit payments like the GST/HST credit. You could be eligible to receive payments even if you didn’t earn an income or your income is tax-exempt.
For a complete list of when you need to do your taxes, you can refer to the section “Do you have to file a tax return?” on the Canada.ca website or in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
Before I move on, I’d like to tell you about our new online interactive tool called “Learn about your taxes.”
After listening to todays’ webinar, I encourage you to go to the web address on your screen to learn more about Canada’s tax system.
This online self-directed tool takes you through starting to work, preparing to do your taxes, and an introduction to completing a basic tax return.
It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, and links to websites where you can learn more.
More topics will be added including content on the purpose of taxes, what you should know after doing your taxes, and more on benefits and credits.
Be sure to check it out!
To work in Canada and receive benefits and services from the government, you need a social insurance number, also called a SIN.
A SIN is a 9 digit identification number that is unique to you. You are the only person who is supposed to use it, and you are responsible for keeping it safe. If your SIN gets into the wrong hands, it could lead to fraud or even identity theft.
The federal organization that issues SINs is Service Canada.
You will need to give your SIN to your employer when you start a job and to your bank when you open an account. They are responsible for protecting your personal information. They use your SIN to send information about your income to the CRA.
You also need to provide your SIN to government agencies or departments to access a benefit or service. For example, you’ll give your SIN to the CRA when you do your taxes or complete a benefits application form. Here, your SIN will help identify you in the CRA’s system.
To get a SIN, you can apply online, by mail, or in person through Service Canada. You will have to provide or send in a document that proves your identity.
To find a Service Canada office near you, or for more information on the SIN, go to the web addresses on your screen or call the toll free numbers.
If you don’t meet Service Canada’s eligibility criteria for a SIN, you can still apply for benefits and credits with the CRA.
To do so, send us your benefit and credit application with a note explaining why you cannot get a SIN. Along with the note, you will need to include a photocopy of any document that proves your or your spouse's or common-law partner's identity. This could be a:
- driver’s licence,
- proof of birth,,
- study permit,
- temporary resident permit,
- or, any document issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.
The CRA will then give you a temporary tax number you can use on your application forms and on your income tax and benefit return, until you get your SIN.
As someone new to Canada, you may be able to get benefit and credit payments right away.
I will tell you about the Canada child benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, also known as the GST/HST credit, the disability tax credit, and the child disability benefit.
The provinces and territories also have several benefits and credits that you may get just by applying for the programs shown on your screen.
You can learn more about them by visiting the web address on your screen and clicking on “Provincial and territorial programs.”
Let’s see how you can get these benefits and what you need to do to keep getting them.
The Canada child benefit, or CCB for short, is a tax-free monthly payment that helps with the cost of raising children.
You may be eligible for the CCB if you are a resident of Canada for income tax purposes, you live with a child and are responsible for that child’s daily activities and needs.
You or your spouse or common-law partner must also meet one of the following statuses in Canada.
You must be:
- a Canadian citizen,
- a permanent resident,
- an Indigenous person who meets the definition of "Indian" under the Indian Act,
- a protected person,
- Or, a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for 18 continuous months prior to applying and who continues to hold a valid permit.
Depending on the age of your child and your family’s net income, you can get up to $6,833 per child under 6, and up to $5,765 per child aged 6 to 17, each year.
The CCB is paid to the primary caregiver of a child who is under 18.
Now, I’ll tell you how to apply for the CCB…
Applying for the CCB will also register your child for any federal, provincial or territorial programs.
If you live in Quebec, additional assistance to help with the cost of raising a family is available. However, you will need to apply separately through Retraite Québec to get these provincial child assistance payments.
New residents of Canada can apply for the Canada child benefit by filling out two forms and mailing them to the CRA.
The two forms are:
- the Canada Child Benefits Application (RC66), and
- Status in Canada and Income Information for the Canada Child Benefits Application (Schedule RC66SCH).
If your child wasn’t born in Canada, you’ll have to send us proof of birth with your forms. This document shows the child’s full name and date of birth, such as a photocopy of a birth certificate or a birth registration. A list of all the documents you can provide is found on the back of Form RC66.
On the schedule RC66SCH, you will have to include information about your and your spouse or common-law partner's residency and citizenship and immigration statuses.
You’ll also need to provide your income from all sources, including income that is not reported on a Canadian tax return. You may have to include information for up to two years, depending on the date you became a resident of Canada.
You have to include income information, even if it’s zero. The CRA needs this information to calculate your payments.
It could take about 11 weeks to get your first CCB payment if you're eligible. To avoid delays, please make sure to include all of the information requested on your application.
You only have to apply once to get the CCB for a child, but if you have another child, you’ll have to send another application for them.
The mother should apply for the CCB if the child lives with both their mother and father in the same home.
The father can apply, but he will need to include a letter from the child’s mother saying he is the primary caregiver of all the children in their household.
If the child lives with same-sex parents, only one parent should apply for the CCB.
The CCB application, form RC66, asks if you’re in a shared custody situation for your child.
The CRA considers a child is in a shared custody situation when the child lives part of the time with you and part of the time with another individual at a different address on an approximately equal basis.
For example, a child could live:
- four days with one person and three days with the other, or
- one week with one person and the next week with the other,
- Or, it could be any other regular, alternating cycle.
When the child lives with them, both people must be primarily responsible for their care and upbringing.
Each eligible person will get half of the payment they would have received if the child lived with them full-time.
If your child lives with you and the other parent in the same home, you are not in a shared custody situation. In this case, you would tick the “No” box for this question on Form RC66.
The GST/HST credit, is a tax-free payment. It helps individuals and families with a low or modest income offset some of the tax they pay through GST or HST.
If you’re eligible, you could get up to $456 per year if you’re single, and up to $912 if you’re a couple with 2 children.
You could also be eligible for related federal, provincial or territorial credits. The payment is issued 4 times a year, around the 5th of July, October, January, and April.
If you are new to Canada, you have to apply for the GST/HST credit using the form, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada (RC151).
You only have to apply once, in the year you became a resident of Canada.
After that, the CRA will determine if you’re eligible when you do your taxes every year.
On your application, you’ll need to provide your income from all sources, including income that is not reported on a Canadian tax return. You may have to include information for up to two years, depending on the date you became a resident of Canada.
If you have a spouse or a common-law partner who is also a new resident of Canada, you have to include their income, even if it is zero.
Only one person per couple gets the GST/HST credit. The amount is the same no matter who gets it.
If you have children and have applied for the CCB, you don’t have to send in Form RC151. The CRA will use information from your CCB application to determine if you’re eligible and calculate amounts.
Now, let’s move on to the disability tax credit…
In Canada, we recognize that persons with disabilities face many barriers including additional expenses.
The disability tax credit, or DTC for short, helps persons with disabilities or the family members that support them reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit. This means that you don’t get a payment, but it reduces the amount of tax you may have to pay. You can also transfer any unused portion to a supporting family member.
If you’re eligible for the DTC, you can claim the disability amount of up to $8,662 on your tax return.
For those under 18 years of age, you can also claim a supplement of up to $5,053.
The child disability benefit is a tax-free payment of up to $2,915 annually.
It’s made for families who care for a child under age 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
If you are already getting the Canada child benefit for a child in your care who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you do not need to apply for the child disability benefit. You will get it automatically.
The child disability benefit is paid monthly to the person who receives the Canada child benefit for that child.
We invite you to check out our online video gallery, at the link on your screen, for webinars on how on how to apply for the DTC and for benefits and credits related to the DTC, such as the child disability benefit.
To continue helping individuals and families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the following benefits are available:
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
Each benefit has specific eligibility criteria and payment amounts.
I will describe each of these benefits. You can find more information by visiting the web address on your screen.
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week ($270 after taxes withheld) to individuals who are employed and self-employed, but are unable to work, due to a local lockdown order in place anytime between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.
From December 19, 2021 to February 12, 2022, there is an expanded eligibility to include provincial and territorial orders involving capacity restrictions of 50 per cent or more.
Individuals can only apply for the worker lockdown benefit if their region is impacted by a lockdown order which was approved through an Order in Council.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
The recovery sickness benefit provides a payment of $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period you apply for.
You can apply for a maximum of 6 weeks between September 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. The 6 weeks do not have to be taken consecutively.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.
This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
The recovery caregiving benefit provides a payment of $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per household for each 1-week period applied for.
Only one eligible individual per household (living as a family at the same address) can apply for the benefit per week.
Each household can apply up to a maximum of 44 periods between September 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. The 44 weeks do not need to be taken consecutively.
You can apply for all of these benefits online through My Account.
If you sign up for direct deposit you should receive your payment within 3 to 5 days. Otherwise, you will receive a cheque by mail within 10 to 12 business days.
The COVID-19 benefit payments you receive must be reported as income when you do your taxes.
To find out what benefits you may be eligible for, you can use the Benefits Finder online. By answering a few questions, the Benefits Finder will customize a list of benefits for which you may be eligible. Go to the first web address on your screen.
If you want to get an estimate of the payment amounts you could get, go to the second web address on your screen. The CRA calculator tool calculates any federal and provincial or territorial payments you may be eligible for.
Once your benefit payments start, there are three things you’ll need to do to keep getting them:
First, make sure you do your taxes for every year after you become a resident of Canada. The CRA can’t calculate your benefit and credit payments without your tax information.
Second, make sure the CRA has your most recent personal information. Notify the CRA of any changes to your address, direct deposit information, marital status, and the number of children in your care.
Third, respond as early as possible to any letters you might get from the CRA. If you need some extra time, contact us.
The key to receiving your benefits and credits is doing your taxes…. On time! We know it’s not a fun process and can be a bit scary for some.
But it’s so important!
Benefit and credit payments are calculated based on your family’s net income.
This is why you need to do your taxes every year after you become a resident of Canada. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to do their taxes. Even if you didn’t earn any income in the year, we need this information.
In Canada, the tax year is the same as the calendar year, from January to December, and tax returns are due by April 30th of the next year.
If you are new to Canada, you don’t have to do a tax return the year you become a resident of Canada.
So, if you became a resident of Canada in February 2022, you will do your first tax return in 2023. This tax return will cover the income you received from February to December 2022.
Doing your taxes on time ensures your benefit and credit payments aren’t delayed or stopped.
There are a few ways to do your taxes:
Doing your taxes online is the fastest and easiest way. You can use tax software or a web application. These are available at the first web address shown on the screen. Tax software guides you through the process and calculates everything for you. It helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits. And, some products are even free!
Volunteers may be able to help you do your taxes for free. There are tax clinics hosted by community organizations across Canada for those with a modest income and simple tax situation. For more information, go to the second web address on your screen.
You can also get help from a family member, a friend, or a tax preparer.
Or, you can download a tax package, fill out the paper forms and mail them to the CRA. You must use the package for the province or territory you lived in on December 31. To get a package, go to the last web address or call the number on your screen.
As I just mentioned, you may be able to get your taxes done by a volunteer, for free!
The CRA works with community organizations and their volunteers to help eligible individuals file their taxes for free.
The program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. In Quebec, it’s known as the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.
And you’re eligible if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
Generally, a modest income is less than $35,000 for a single person and less than $45,000 for a couple.
Your tax situation is simple if you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.
Tax clinics are held all year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.
During the pandemic, we have created virtual tax clinics to serve those who, may not have access to an in-person location.
For more information or to find a clinic near you, go to the web address on the screen.
Along with doing your taxes every year, you must keep your personal information up to date to keep getting benefits and credits.
This includes your address, marital status, number of children in your care, direct deposit information or if you have a death in the family.
You can update this information using My Account, MyCRA or MyBenefits CRA mobile applications, by mail, or an agent can assist by phone.
The CRA will sometimes send you a questionnaire or letter if we need more information and to make sure you’re getting the right benefits and credits.
If you get one of these letters, don’t ignore it. You need to respond as soon as possible. Often, we will ask for documents, to confirm that the CRA has the most up-to-date information for you, like, proof of a change in your marital status, a child’s primary caregiver, or your address.
If you don’t have the documents, need some extra time to gather them, or don’t understand what we’re asking, just let the CRA know.
The CRA needs this information to calculate your benefits and credits.
If you don’t respond, your benefit or credit payments will stop and you may have to repay the payments you already received.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the tools and services CRA offers.
There is a video dedicated to people who are new to Canada on YouTube. You can access this video at the link on your screen.
The video explains how to get the benefits and credits you may be eligible for, tax obligations, and where to get free tax help.
This video is available in the languages listed on your screen.
By sharing this video, you can help others learn the importance of filing an income tax and benefit return in order to receive or to continue to receive the benefit and credit payments they may be eligible for.
As mentioned, you can update your personal information using the CRA’s online portal, My Account.
You will be able to sign up for this service after you send your first tax return to the CRA and you receive a notice of assessment.
You can track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments, set up direct deposit, change your personal information, and so much more!
For more information or to sign up, go to the web address on your screen.
Direct deposit gives you faster access to your money!
It lets the CRA deposit your tax refund and your benefit and credit payments directly into your bank account instead of mailing you a cheque. This will ensure you get your payments on time in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances!
To sign up, you will need your social insurance number, the name of your bank or financial institution and your branch, transit, and account numbers.
Your account information is printed at the bottom of any cheque for the account you want us to use. If you don’t have a chequing account, ask your financial institution for this information.
You can sign up for direct deposit several ways, through your financial institution, online using My Account, MyCRA or MyBenefits CRA mobile applications, or by phone.
For more information, go to the web address on your screen.
Depending our your situation, you may want another person to call the CRA on your behalf. This might be helpful if you find it hard to communicate in English or French, or for other reasons.
Taxpayer information is confidential. The CRA needs your permission to deal with another person, such as a family member, a friend, or an accountant, who may act as your representative for income tax and benefit matters.
You can give permission to another person online in My Account, or on paper by filling out Form AUT-01, Authorize a Representative for Offline Access, and sending it to the CRA.
Make sure to choose someone you can trust!
You don’t need to authorize someone as a representative if that person is only doing your taxes.
Paying taxes helps strengthen your community by funding many of the services you use every day. The taxes collected help fund programs and services such as health care and education.
The underground economy includes any taxable income that is under-reported or not reported on a tax return. It is sometimes called moonlighting, working for cash, or working under the table, and can include not reported or under-reported income from a wide range of activities including: tips and gratuities, employment, gift cards received for work done, or money earned from renting out a room of your home.
Generally, income you earn is taxable and you have to report it on your tax return.
If you don’t report all of your income and your return is selected for review, you will have to pay the income tax you didn’t pay. You may also have to pay interest and penalties.
Make sure you work for employers who follow the rules. Doing so will protect yourself.
If you accept a job with an employer who is paying you in cash to avoid paying taxes, you are not going to receive a T4 statement of income, which you need to do your taxes. This can affect your eligibility for Government of Canada benefits and credits. And another important question to ask the employer is whether they are paying insurance premiums to protect you if you get injured on the job. If not this puts you and your family at risk.
Always get a written contract or receipt when you buy goods or services.
Think of it this way, if you don’t get a receipt to prove you purchased “goods”, such as a new computer, you’re not protected if something goes wrong and you want a refund. Instead, you’ll lose your money.
Remember this works the other way around. When you hire people to provide a service such as fixing your home, get a contract – don’t pay cash with no paperwork. A contract will ensure you’re protected if the work isn’t done well or if the worker gets hurt.
It’s important to know that evading taxes is illegal and can result in severe consequences such as penalties, fines, and criminal convictions.
A few dollars of unreported income may not seem like a big deal, but collectively they amount to billions of dollars lost that are needed to fund public services in your community.
For more information on the underground economy, go to the web page on your screen.
The CRA recognizes that small businesses play an important role in creating jobs and supporting the economy, and we are committed to supporting small businesses during these difficult times.
We are hearing from an unprecedented number of small business owners and self-employed individuals, as they request the Liaison Officer service to get answers to their tax-related questions, including questions about the government’s COVID-19 recovery benefits and how to report them. They want to comply with the tax rules, and our goal is to make it as easy as possible.
The Liaison Officer service is a free and completely voluntary service. Liaison officers are also available to give webinars to business associations or groups.
To learn more or to book a free virtual visit from a Liaison Officer or a webinar, go to the web address on your screen.
Now I will give you an overview of, what to expect if the CRA contacts you, along with some tips to help you be scam smart by understanding and recognizing the different types of scams.
Be careful when you get a telephone call, a text message, an email, or mail from someone claiming to be from the CRA.
This is especially true if it asks for personal information such as the number on your credit card, bank account, or passport.
These messages may insist that personal information is needed so that you can receive a refund or a benefit payment. They can also threaten legal consequences to scare you into paying a debt to the CRA that does not actually exist.
There are also other communications that may urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where you are asked to verify your identity by entering personal information.
These are scams! And, you should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided.
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to scammers. The CRA can contact you by telephone. They may call:
- If you owe tax or money to a government program. A collections officer may call you to discuss your file and ask you to make a payment. In this case, you may need to provide some information about your household financial situation.
- Or if they have questions about the tax and benefit records or documents you sent. A CRA officer may call you for more information.
When the CRA calls you, they may verify your identity by asking for personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address, and account, or social insurance number.
Remember, the CRA will not demand immediate payments with gift cards, pre-paid credit cards, or bitcoin. The CRA won’t say the police is coming or threaten a prison sentence or deportation.
You may think that you received a text message or email from the CRA. But did you really?
There may be times when the CRA will notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view in secure CRA portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client. Or, you may have subscribed to receive an email notification about an upcoming benefit payment.
Note that we will never ask you to provide personal information in return by email.
However, the CRA may email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication that you asked for during a telephone call.
Also, the CRA will not use instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with you about tax-related issues under any circumstance.
If you receive a text or instant message claiming to be from the CRA, beware since it could be a scam!
When in doubt, ask yourself why the CRA would need your personal information. Do I have a balance owing? Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
Check and see if you have mail or an amount owing in My Account. If you are unsure, contact the CRA.
Never click on a link unless you are sure it’s from the CRA. When in doubt, delete.
Visit canada.ca/be-scam-smart to learn more.
You can report a scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at the web address or the phone number on your screen.
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
And that’s all for me! This is the end of the webinar. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you for listening and enjoy your day!
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