Do you have to file a return?

You must file a return for 2017 if:

  • You have to pay tax for 2017.
  • We sent you a request to file a return.
  • You received working income tax benefit advance payments in 2017.
  • You disposed of capital property in 2017 (for example, if you sold real estate, your principal residence, or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed income to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your 2016 return).
  • You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits. See line 235.
  • You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if for 2017 the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income is more than $3,500. See line 222.
  • You are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings. See lines 317 and 430.

Even if none of these requirements apply, you should file a return if:

  • You want to claim a refund.
  • You want to claim the working income tax benefit for 2017.
  • You or your spouse or common-law partner want to begin or continue receiving Canada child benefit payments, including related provincial or territorial benefit payments.

  • You have incurred a non-capital loss (see line 236) in 2017 that you want to be able to apply in other years.

  • You want to transfer or carry forward to a future year the unused part of your tuition. See line 323.
  • You want to report income for which you could contribute to an RRSP and/or a pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) to keep your RRSP/PRPP deduction limit for future years current.
  • You want to carry forward the unused investment tax credit on expenditures you incurred during the current year See line 412.
  • You receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program. You can usually renew your benefit by filing your return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada.

Deceased persons

If you are the legal representative (the executor, administrator, or liquidator) of the estate of a person who died in 2017, you may have to file a return for 2017 for that person. When there are no legal documents, you may request to be the deceased’s representative by completing an Affidavit form for intestate situations.  For more information see T4011, Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons and Information Sheet RC4111, Canada Revenue Agency - What to Do Following a Death


If you received income in 2017 for a person who died in 2016 or earlier, do not file an individual return for 2017 for that income on behalf of that person. Instead, you may have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return for the estate.

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