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New to Canada – There are benefits to filing an income tax and benefit return

March 13, 2024

Ottawa, Ontario

Canada Revenue Agency

In Canada, individuals and families can receive benefit and credit payments to help with the cost of living and raising a family. Depending on your income and family situation, you could receive these payments even if you just arrived in Canada. Once you’ve filed your first Canadian income tax and benefit return or applied for the Canada child benefit or goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, you will need to file your tax return every year to continue to receive the benefit and credit payments you may be entitled to. Our three-minute benefits and credits video has everything you need to know, and it’s available in 13 different languages.

Available benefit and credit payments

Many Canadians receive benefit and credit payments and you could too. Our easy-to-use benefits finder can help you figure out which ones you may be eligible to apply for.

GST/HST credit
Every three months, eligible individuals may get money to help offset what they pay in goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax
Canada Carbon Rebate
Every three months, eligible individuals residing in an applicable province or territory on the first day of the payment month may get money back to offset the cost of the federal pollution pricing
Canada child benefit
Every month, eligible individuals may get money to help with the cost of raising a child

There are also provincial or territorial payments that may help with your costs.

How to apply for benefit and credit payments

Step 1:

Step 2: Apply for benefits and credits

Step 3: You and your spouse or common-law partner (if applicable) must each continue to file a tax return every year to keep receiving the payments you may be entitled to. The CRA will automatically determine your eligibility when you file.

Note: Eligibility for benefit and credit payments is based, in part, on residence in Canada for tax purposes. This can be different from your residency status. Read more about determining your residency status.

The filing and payment deadline is April 30, 2024

Get ready to do your taxes and make sure you file your tax return on or before April 30, 2024. Even if you have little or no income, you need to file your tax return every year:

  • to receive a tax refund (if you are owed one);
  • to continue to receive benefit and credit payments (if you are entitled); or
  • if you owe Canadian tax.

Note: When you file your tax return for the first time for the year you immigrated, you only need to include the income received, for you and your spouse or common-law partner, after you arrived in Canada. However, when applying for benefit and credit payments using forms RC66SCH or RC151, you will have to indicate any income received before you arrived, so the CRA can calculate your payments. You will not pay additional tax on the income received before you came to Canada.

By paying taxes, you’re supporting communities and the programs and services that all Canadians rely on. If you owe money to the CRA, the deadline to make a payment is also April 30, 2024. By filing and paying on time, you’ll avoid late-filing penalties and interest. When you file your tax return, you could reduce the amount of tax you owe by claiming deductions, credits, and expenses.

If you’re self-employed, file by June 15, 2024

If you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed, you have until June 15, 2024, to file on time. Since that date falls on a Saturday, your return will be considered filed on time if the CRA receives it or it is postmarked on or before June 17, 2024.

If you owe money to the CRA, you'll still need to pay by April 30, 2024, to avoid interest.

Available services to help you

There are services available that can give you support, as well as help you file your tax return and understand your tax obligations:

  • If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be able to get your tax return prepared at a free tax clinic.
  • If you are self-employed or own a small business, you can learn more about your tax obligations from the CRA’s liaison officer service.
  • There are also local newcomer support services that can help you look for a job, find a place to live, and more.

Make tax-filing easier with direct deposit and online filing

Register for direct deposit and file your tax return online using NETFILE-certified software. When you do so, you could get your refund in as little as eight business days. If you file a paper tax return, it could take us up to eight weeks to process.

After filing your tax return

Once we process your tax return, you will receive your first notice of assessment (NOA) in the mail. It will state how much you will get as a refund or how much you owe. After you have this document, make sure to register for My Account. It’s the easiest way to manage your tax and benefit information online. You can change your address, update your direct deposit information, and more, all in one place.

If you own a business, you can register for My Business Account to manage your business tax affairs online.

Think you made a mistake?

If you forgot to include information or made a mistake on your return, don’t worry. Wait until you get your NOA from the CRA and then check out how to change your return.

Protecting yourself from scams and fraud

Knowing how the CRA might contact you will help you to avoid scams and fraud. On our Scams and fraud page, you will find information to help you recognize the signs of a scam and learn about the ways the CRA may contact you, whether it’s by phone, email, mail, or text message. The CRA will never use threatening language to try and scare you. You can also check out our tips on how to be scam smart, which is available in 11 languages. And if you’re interested, you can check out a recording of our Be scam smart webinar.

Learn more about the Canadian tax system

We have a free online learning tool to help you understand what taxes are, how to file a tax return, and what’s in it for you. We want to empower people to complete and file their own tax return and to make sure they know about the benefit and credit payments they could be entitled to. We have five-minute lessons, fun quizzes, and quick videos on everything you need to know.

Want to listen instead?

You can check out our new podcast: Taxology. We simplify the world of taxes, since it can be confusing!

We’ll help you understand Canadian taxes, including how to prepare for tax season, explain different savings accounts to help kick-start your savings, and introduce you to the platform economy.

More resources

Want to know more about benefit and credit payments? We have resources designed with newcomers in mind:


Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency


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