Tax tips for newcomers to Canada

Did you settle in Canada in 2016? As a Canadian resident, you should do your taxes every year. Here are some quick tips to help you during tax time:

1. Do I need to do my taxes? Residents of Canada for the entire year, or just part of it, must file a return if they have to pay tax or want a refund. You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential ties which include a home or spouse or common-law partner in Canada. You usually establish these ties on the date you arrive.

2. What do I need to know? By filing your taxes, you report income, claim deductions or tax credits, apply for certain benefit and credit payments, and calculate your refund or the correct amount of income tax you should pay, if any.

3. What if I have little or no income to report? You should still are required to do your taxes. You may get back some of the taxes you paid or be eligible to receive certain benefit and credit payments. Your spouse or common-law partner also has to file a tax return each year for you to receive any benefit and credit payments that you’re entitled to. If you don’t file on time, your benefit and credit payments may be delayed.

4. How do I prepare my tax forms? Most people choose to do their taxes online, since it’s fast, easy and secure.

5. What if I need help? For 45 years, the CRA has teamed up with community organizations and their volunteers to prepare tax returns for eligible individuals for free through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. If you have a simple tax situation and a modest income, you may find a free tax clinic in your area through this program.

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