New to Canada? Learn about taxes and benefits

If you’re a newcomer to Canada, you have to do your taxes if you want to receive certain benefits and credits, if you want to get a refund, or if you think you may owe taxes.

Everything you need to know about doing your taxes is available at the “taxes” section on canada.ca. Here, you can find out about getting your social insurance number, completing a tax return, applying for benefits and credits, contacting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if you need help, and you can get international tax information.

Important facts

  • Are you a resident of Canada? Does your spouse or common-law partner live in Canada? Do you own a home in Canada? If any of these apply to your situation, you may have to file a return.
  • You should do your taxes even if you have little or no income to report. By filing an income tax and benefit return, you might be eligible for benefit and credit payments such as the goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, the Working income tax benefit and the Canada child benefit, and any related provincial or territorial payments. Your spouse or common law partner also has to do their taxes each year for you to receive any benefit and credit payments you may be eligible for.
  • You have to report your world income (income from all sources both inside and outside Canada) earned after becoming a resident of Canada for income tax purposes on your Canadian tax return. We use the information from your tax return to calculate your benefit payments.
  • Remember that you need to do your taxes on time every year to make sure your Canada child benefit, GST/HST credit, and child disability benefit payments are not interrupted.
  • If you need help preparing your tax return and have a modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be able to get help through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This program is a collaboration between the CRA and community organizations across Canada. These organizations hold tax clinics and a volunteer can prepare and file your tax return for you, for free.
  • To make sure you are getting the right amount of benefits and credits, you must keep your personal information updated with the CRA. This includes your marital status, the number of children in your care, and your address.

After you do your taxes for the first time and receive a notice of assessment, you’ll be able register for My Account and access all the CRA’s online self service options. These services are safe and secure and they make doing your taxes faster and easier. You can use them to file your tax return, make a payment, track the status of your return, register for online mail, apply for benefits, and more.

As a newcomer to Canada, it's important to understand your tax obligations and the benefits and credits available to you. The CRA has videos and webinars to help you through tax season, including the webinar “Newcomers and Canadian Taxes: the right information for the right start” (also available in French, Arabic, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog).

 

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