Do retirees and seniors need to file tax returns?

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Yes. Even if you are not working, you need to file taxes every year. Filing taxes is a way for you to get benefits, credits, or deductions even if you don’t have income.

The information you provide Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is used to calculate your federal benefits, credits and deductions. They can also check if you qualify for any related provincial or territorial programs.

What kind of benefits or deductions can seniors get?

  1. GST/HST credit– This is given, tax-free to people with low to modest incomes. This credit is automatically calculated when you file your taxes.
  2. Medical expenses – You can claim eligible medical expenses. More information can be found here: Eligible medical expenses you can claim on your tax return.
  3. Home accessibility tax credit – This is a non-refundable tax credit to help with the cost of making your home accessible. Check this link for more information: Home accessibility expenses.
  4. Pension income splitting – You can split eligible pension income with a spouse or common-law partner to reduce taxes paid.
  5. Disability tax credit – This credit can reduce the amount of income tax paid. To be eligible, a medical practitioner has to confirm on Form T2201 (Disability Tax Credit Certificate) that you have severe and prolonged impairment. The CRA has to approve the form.

Read: Government benefits and supports during the COVID-19 pandemic to learn about additional benefits for seniors.

Do you need help filing your forms?

If you need help filling out or filing your forms or if you have questions about certain items on your return, you can:

  • Approach the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program in your area – Volunteers prepare income tax and benefit returns for free. This is only for those with a modest income and simple tax situation. Please check the link for the tax clinic nearest you.
  • Authorize a representative – You can ask a trusted family member, friend or accountant to deal with the CRA for you. You will need to fill out Form T1013 (Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative) and send it to CRA.

Need more information?

Read: Changes to your taxes when you retire or turn 65 years old
Tax tips
How to protect yourself from frauds and scams
Article updated December 10, 2021.
Source: Information for Seniors flyer, Canada Revenue Agency; Canada Revenue Agency site, accessed December 13, 2017.

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