New to Canada? Here’s what you need to know about filing taxes.

February 16, 2023

Firstly, welcome to Canada! As one of over 405,000 newcomers that immigrated to Canada last year there are a few things you need to know. You can expect there to be friendly faces everywhere you look, hockey being played in suburban streets, universal health care and of course our harsh winters. Unfortunately, harsh winters aren’t the only downside; there are also taxes.

It can be a challenge to know which credits and deductions to claim for anyone, let alone when it’s your first time. Fear not new Canucks, there are a lot of benefits to filing taxes, and new Canadians qualify for the same tax credits and deductions as those who are Canadian citizens.

So, you’re Canadian now, eh?

Many of your tax obligations are based on your residency status in Canada. Official residency, as determined by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), is when you establish significant residential ties to Canada. Significant residential ties are as simple as having a home, a spouse, or children. However, secondary ties, such as a driver’s license, health insurance and personal property such as cars or furniture may also be factored in.

Newcomers to Canada include protected persons, individuals who have applied for or received permanent residency status from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or individuals who have received approval in principle to stay in Canada.

You also need to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which you can get from Service Canada so you can file your tax return to get tax credits and benefits as offered provincially and federally.

The reason for the (tax) seasons.

There are many tax deductions and credits you can claim, and all will depend on your unique situation. Although you will need to report any income earned, even if you didn’t have income during the year you may be eligible for benefits.

It can get confusing figuring out what to do but there are some key credits as a first timer you should be on the lookout for.

Setting roots in Canada.

New Canadians may be able to claim the First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit on their first home in Canada. It’s a tax credit for up to $10,000 which equates to a $1,500 refund that can help to offset costs of moving from a new country. You may not be eligible for this amount if you owned a home in the previous 5 years, regardless of whether it was in Canada or not.

Canadian kids.

New residents who have children under eighteen may qualify to receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This is a tax-free monthly payment for families to help them offset the cost of raising children (and starting a new life in Canada). The payment varies based on the age of the child and the overall income of the family.

Canada isn’t your only home.

In Canada, residents must report all income they earned from anywhere in the world when filing their taxes. However, income from another country may be exempt from Canadian tax or subject to special tax treatment if Canada has a tax treaty with the country in which they earned income. Canada currently has tax treaties with nearly 100 different countries.

Know your (Oh) Canada dates.

It’s always a good idea to note important dates, especially for a new Canadian, as it can get confusing when everything is happening. As a small gift in your Canadian journey, your new friends at H&R Block have you covered.

Getting your GST/HST credit.

The credit arrives quarterly, and you should receive your payments during the first two weeks of April, July, October and January. Similarly, many provinces have quarterly payments to offset carbon taxes people pay at the gas pump or on their home heating bill. You can learn more about that here.

Deadlines to file.

The tax year runs from January until December. Usually, the personal tax return deadline is April 30, but since April 30 falls on a Sunday in 2023 you have until the next business day which would be May 1, 2023. The one exception is for those self-employed. The self-employed file-by date is Thursday, June 15, 2023.

As you go forth in your new Canadian lives enjoying Tim’s coffee or trying out the local maple syrup, remember if you ever need help you can always talk to an H&R Block Tax Expert for more information. Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.

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