Leaving Canada (emigrants)
- Are you an emigrant?
When do you become a non-resident.
- Do you have to file a tax return?
Which tax package to use, when and where to send your return.
- Departure tax
You may have to report a capital gain when you leave Canada.
- How to complete your tax return
- Date of departure from Canada
- Information about your spouse or common-law partner
- What income do you have to report?
Income to report for the part of the year you were a resident of Canada and for the part of the year you were not a resident of Canada
- What deductions can you claim?
- What credits can you claim?
Non-refundable tax credits, overpayment of CPP or QPP, and refundable tax credits
- Which forms to use to calculate your tax and credits
- After you leave Canada
Electing under section 217 of the Income Tax Act and income received from Canada, TFSA, HBP, LLP, GST/HST, and CCB.
Are you an emigrant?
Generally, you are an emigrant for income tax purposes if:
- you leave Canada to live in another country; and
- you sever your residential ties with Canada.
Severing your residential ties with Canada means that you do not keep your main ties with Canada. This could be your case if:
- you dispose of or give up your home in Canada and establish a permanent home in another country;
- your spouse or common-law partner or dependants leave Canada; and
- you dispose of personal property and break social ties in Canada, and acquire or establish them in another country.
If you leave Canada and keep residential ties in Canada, you are usually considered a factual resident, and not an emigrant. However, if you are also considered to be a resident of another country with which Canada has a tax treaty, you may be considered a deemed non-resident. Deemed non-residents are subject to the same rules as emigrants.
For more information on residential ties and residency status, go to Determining your residency status.
When do you become a non-resident?
When you leave Canada to settle in another country, you usually become a non-resident for income tax purposes on the latest of:
- the date you leave Canada;
- the date your spouse or common-law partner and dependants leave Canada; or
- the date you become a resident of the country you settle in.
If you lived in another country before living in Canada and you leave Canada to resettle in that country, you usually become a non-resident on the date you leave Canada. This applies even if your spouse or common-law partner temporarily stays in Canada to dispose of your home.
For more information about your tax obligations, go to Non-residents of Canada.
What you need to do when you become an emigrant
If you still have bank accounts in Canada or amounts being paid to you from Canada, you are required to notify any Canadian payers and your financial institutions that you are no longer a resident of Canada.
Do you have to file a tax return?
Complete and send a Canadian tax return to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if:
- you owe tax; or
- you want to receive a refund because you paid too much tax in the tax year.
For more information, go to Do you have to file a return?.
If you determine that you do not have to file a return, you should let the CRA know the date you left Canada as soon as possible.
If you owned properties or goods when you left Canada you may have to report a capital gain.
Which tax package should you use?
For the tax year that you leave Canada, use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you resided on the date you left Canada.
If you were a resident of Quebec before you left Canada and you want information on filing a Quebec tax return, visit Revenu Québec.
When and where to send your tax return
To find out when you have to file your return, go to Filing due dates.
Mail your return to:
International and Ottawa Tax Services Office
Post Office Box 9769, Station T
Ottawa ON K1G 3Y4
When you leave Canada, you are considered to have sold certain types of property (even if you have not sold them) at their fair market value (FMV) and to have immediately reacquired them for the same amount. This is called a deemed disposition and you may have to report a capital gain (also known as departure tax).
Your property could include the following: shares, jewelry, paintings or a collection.
For more information, go to Dispositions of property.
If the FMV of all the property you owned when you left Canada was more than $25,000, complete Form T1161, List of Properties by an Emigrant of Canada.
How to complete your tax return
Date of departure from Canada
Enter your date of departure from Canada on page 1 of your return in the area “Information about your residence”.
Information about your spouse or common-law partner
Enter your spouse or common-law partner’s net world income for 2016. Net world income is the net income from all sources both inside and outside of Canada. Underneath, enter your spouse or common-law partner’s net world income for the period you were a resident of Canada. If applicable also enter the amount of universal child care benefit (UCCB) included on line 117, and the amount of UCCB repayment included on line 213 of his or her tax return.
What income do you have to report?
Part of the tax year that you WERE a resident of Canada
Report your world income (income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada) on your Canadian tax return.
Part of the tax year that you WERE NOT a resident of Canada
After you leave Canada, as a non-resident, you pay Canadian income tax only on your Canadian source income. However, only certain types of Canadian source income should be reported on your return while others are subject to non-resident withholding tax at source.
For more information on your tax obligations as a non-resident, go to Non-residents of Canada.
What deductions can you claim?
You can claim most deductions that apply to you. For more information, go to Deductions, credits, and expenses.
Generally, you cannot deduct moving expenses for a move out of Canada.
However, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses if:
- you left Canada to take courses at the post‑secondary level as a full‑time student at an educational institution in another country; and
- you received a taxable Canadian scholarship, bursary, fellowship, or research grant to attend that educational institution.
For more information, go to Line 219 – Moving expenses.
What credits can you claim?
Federal non‑refundable tax credits (Schedule 1)
The federal non-refundable tax credits you can claim are limited to the total of the following amounts:
- the federal non‑refundable tax credits that apply to the part of the year that you were a resident of Canada; and
- the federal non‑refundable tax credits that apply to the part of the year that you were not a resident of Canada.
Provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits (Form 428)
The amount of certain provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits you can claim may also be limited.
Generally, the rules to calculate your provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits are the same as those used for the corresponding federal non‑refundable tax credits. However, the amounts used to calculate most provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits are different from the corresponding federal credits.
Overpayment of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)
If you were not living in Quebec before you left Canada, go to Line 448 - CPP overpayment.
If you were living in Quebec, any overpayment of CPP or QPP contribution will be refunded or used to reduce your balance on your federal tax return. Claim on line 308 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax, in dollars and cents, the total of the CPP or QPP contributions shown in boxes 16 and 17 of your T4 slips, and the Canada Revenue Agency will calculate the overpayment for you.
You can also calculate your overpayment by using Form RC381, Inter-Provincial Calculation for CPP and QPP Contributions and Overpayments for 2016. As a Quebec emigrant, you claim the amount of your overpayment, if any, on page 4 of your return by writing code 5552 above line 437, and entering the amount of the overpayment to the right of this code. Add this amount to your total credits at line 482.
Federal refundable tax credits (Page 4 of your return)
You can claim the following federal refundable tax credits, as long as they apply to the part of the year that you were a resident of Canada:
- children’s fitness tax credit; and
- eligible educator school supply tax credit.
In addition, you can claim these credits in full for eligible fees and expenses paid in 2016 that relate to the part of the year that you were not a resident of Canada if the Canadian source income you are reporting for the part of the year that you were not a resident of Canada represents 90% or more of your net world income for that part of the year.
However, the total amount you can claim for each tax credit cannot be more than the amount you could have claimed if you were a resident of Canada for the whole year.
Provincial or territorial tax credits (Form 479)
Generally, you are not entitled to these credits unless you were a resident of Canada on December 31.
Which forms to use to calculate your tax and credits
To calculate your tax and credits, complete Schedule 1, Federal Tax, and Form 428 for the province or territory where you resided on the date you left Canada.
If you were a resident of Quebec before you left Canada, visit Revenu Québec.
After you leave Canada
Electing under section 217 of the Income Tax Act
If you receive certain types of income from Canada after you leave, the Canadian payer has to withhold non‑resident tax on the income and send it to the Canada Revenue Agency. This tax withheld is usually your final tax obligation to Canada on the income. However, you could benefit from choosing to elect under section 217 on your return.
For more information, go to Electing under section 217.
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Home Buyers' Plan (HBP), and Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)
If you hold a TFSA when you leave Canada, you can keep it and continue to benefit from the exemption from Canadian tax on investment income and withdrawals. However, you cannot contribute to your TFSA while you are a non-resident of Canada, and your contribution room will not increase. For more information, go to Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).
Receiving benefits and credits
It's important that you tell the Canada Revenue Agency the date you leave Canada. Generally, as a non-resident, you are not eligible to receive:
- the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit; and
- the Canada child benefit (CCB) payments (including those payments from certain related provincial or territorial programs).
If you receive such credits or payments after you leave Canada, contact the International and Ottawa Tax Services Office immediately.
Forms and publications
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: