New to Canada and new to doing your taxes?
March 8, 2022
Canada Revenue Agency
New to doing your taxes? Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the process and answer your questions. We’ve put together tips and information to help you this tax season.
You can also watch our video series for newcomers. It’s available in 12 different languages: Arabic, Cantonese, English, Farsi, French, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Urdu.
The first thing to know is that you have to complete and file an income tax and benefit return every year to:
- receive certain benefits and credits you may be entitled to
- receive a tax refund you are owed
Why file a tax return?
You should file an income tax and benefit return if:
- you’d like to receive any benefits or credits you may be entitled to; and
- you owe Canadian taxes
Even if you have little or no income, you should still file. Filing allows you to receive any benefits and credits you may be eligible for, such as:
- goods and services tax (GST) / harmonized sales tax (HST) credit
- Canada workers benefit
- Canada child benefit
- related provincial or territorial payments
The tax-filing deadline for most individuals is April 30, 2022
Since April 30, 2022, falls on a Saturday, your return will be considered filed on time in either of the following situations:
- we receive it on or before May 2, 2022
- it is postmarked on or before May 2, 2022
You have until June 15, 2022, to file your tax return if you or your spouse or common law-partner are self-employed.
The payment deadline is April 30, 2022
Since April 30, 2022, falls on a Saturday, your payment will be considered paid on time if we receive it, or it is processed at a Canadian financial institution, on or before May 2, 2022.
If you or your spouse or common law-partner are self-employed, your payment is still due on April 30, 2022. Your payment will also be considered paid on time if we receive it, or it is processed at a Canadian financial institution, on or before May 2, 2022.
We encourage you to file your taxes before the deadline. Doing so will ensure you receive your benefit and credit payments on time. Even if you owe tax, don’t risk having your benefit and credit payments interrupted by not filing. If you cannot pay your balance owing, we can work with you on a payment arrangement.
If you received benefits issued by the CRA in 2021, such as the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, or Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, you should have received a T4A information slip in the mail by the end of February. Residents of Quebec will receive a T4A information slip and an RL-1 slip.
When COVID-19 benefits were paid, some tax was withheld at source. If you end up owing more tax on top of that, we understand that payment could present significant financial difficulties. In that case, our expanded payment arrangements could work for you. This will give you more time and flexibility to repay based on your financial situation. Also, taxpayer relief is available if you can’t meet your tax obligations because of circumstances beyond your control. The CRA may cancel or waive penalties or interest under certain conditions.
There may be other effects to filing your return that are specific to a COVID-19 benefit you received or if you’re a resident of Quebec.
How to receive the GST/HST credit
If you are a newcomer to Canada, you may want to get the GST/HST credit. To do so, fill out and send us Form RC151, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada. You should fill it out for the year you became a resident of Canada.
Sign up for direct deposit and file online
To keep the tax-filing process as simple as possible, sign up for direct deposit, and file online and on time. Once you have filed and received your notice of assessment (NOA), sign up for My Account. It’s the fastest and easiest way to view and manage your tax and benefit information online. My Account lets you access your tax, benefit, and credit information online. You can also use it to:
- track the status of your return and refund
- apply for benefits and credits
- update your address
- register for email notifications
- make a payment
- view your notice of assessment
You can also sign up for My Business Account if you own a business.
Our service standard is to issue your NOA within two weeks of receiving your return online. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CRA may take 10 to 12 weeks to process paper returns. The CRA will process them in the order they are received. Canadians who file online and who are signed up for direct deposit may get their refund in as little as eight business days.
Our Get Ready to do your taxes page has information about online filing, deadlines, and other helpful links for you. You can also check out our questions and answers about filing your taxes for more help.
Can you get help to file a return?
Free tax clinics will be offered virtually for the 2022 tax season through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), and some organizations will host in-person clinics following local public health guidelines. Virtual options include videoconference, phone, or document drop-off. If you cannot file online, we encourage you to seek a CVITP clinic. You can find one through our national directory. Go to our Free tax clinics page for information.
If you are a small business owner, are self-employed, or have rental income, we’re here for you. We can help you understand your tax obligations and possible business deductions. You can book a free virtual visit with the CRA’s Liaison Officer service by using our online request form. Our virtual options include phone or videoconference.
Learn about your taxes
This year, we’ve launched a new online learning tool to help you learn about taxes and empower you to do your taxes on your own. The free online learning tool provides you with lessons that help you understand what taxes are, why we pay them, how to read your pay stubs and income tax slips, and finally, how to do your taxes. Following each lesson, you can test yourself with exercises and quizzes. For more information, go to Learn about your taxes.
What happens after you file a return?
If you forgot to include information or made a mistake on your return, wait until you get your NOA from the CRA. When your NOA is received you can change your return. To avoid delays due to COVID-19, the CRA encourages you to make any changes to your return online.
If you are a first time filer, you will need to file a return and receive a NOA from the CRA to register for My Account. This will allow us to validate your identity.
Protecting you from scams and fraud
The safety and security of Canadians and their information is a priority for the CRA. Being a victim of a scam, fraud, or identity theft can result in significant financial and emotional effects.
Know when and how we might contact you. The Be Scam Smart page provides information on the ways in which we may contact you, including by:
- text message
We also provide information on securing CRA accounts and encourage you to:
- Use unique and complex passwords. Always use unique passwords for your CRA and online banking accounts. Do not reuse the same password for different systems.
- Create a PIN. We suggest you set up a personal identification number (PIN) in My Account or have one of our contact centre agents help you set up your PIN. Your PIN will be used to help confirm your identity on future calls with us.
- Sign up for email notifications. You will receive an email if your address or direct deposit information has been changed on our records. These notifications can act as an early warning for potential fraudulent activity. Effective February 2022, we require that you provide an email address to access My Account. This will allow us to inform you in real time of changes made to your account.
- Monitor your account for suspicious activity. Check your online CRA accounts regularly for any suspicious activity. Look for changes to your address and direct deposit information that you did not make or request. Also, please watch for benefit applications made for you. It is important that any of these changes that you did not make are reported to us right away.
How can you get more information?
For everything you need to know about filing your first return, go to our Newcomers to Canada page. That page will give you information about:
- updating your residency status
- completing an income tax and benefit return
- filing your tax return online
- applying for benefits and credits
- claiming credits and deductions
- contacting the CRA for help
You can also check out our questions and answers about filing your taxes page for more answers to common questions. We will update this page regularly to include changes that may affect you during tax-filing season.
If you need a quick answer to a question, you can use Charlie the chatbot. Charlie will help you find the information you need to file your income tax and benefit return. You can find Charlie on the CRA homepage and many other of our web pages on Canada.ca.
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