Filing your first tax return in 5 steps

T1 form for tax return in Canada

Tax Form in Canada  by zwola fasola.  © Used by permission

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  1. Do you really need to file a return?

    • Newly arrived newcomers:
      • May not need to file if you have been living in Canada for only a few months.
      • Submit Form RC66 (and RC66SCH) and RC151 to apply for the Canada Child Benefit and GST/HST credit.
      • Estimate your income you earned in the previous year/s from your home country (or other countries).
      • Mail the forms to CRA.
    • File a return if:
      • you need to pay income tax for the previous year.
      • you are not employed but have been a resident for a year.
      • if you are applying for basic government benefits.
    • For a complete list of those who need to file a return, go to: Do you have to file a return?
    • Newcomer students can watch these videos: Canadian students and income tax.
  2. Get your SIN

    • You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to file.
    • The SIN:
      • a nine-digit identification number
      • is used to identify individuals for income and tax purposes
      • is unique, personal and confidential
      • holds important information about you
    • It should be kept private.
    • Give it only when necessary (read: Who can ask for my SIN).
    • Get your SIN at a Service Canada office.
  3. Gather documents

    • Keep documents like:
    • Keep records of:
      • the income you earned outside of Canada (on the year you came to Canada and the year before)
      • the fair market value of any property, stocks or art you own
      • other documents about income and acquisitions (anything you bought of high value)
      • You may need these for computations of tax or benefits such as GST/HST
  4. Paper or electronic?

    • Submit your tax return on paper and send it to the CRA.
    • You can get the General Income Tax Benefit package by:
    • You can use a free NETFILE certified software to compute your taxes.
      • Print the forms and send it to the CRA.
      • Use the brown envelopes at postal outlets.
      • Send your tax return by mail.
    • CRA’s NETFILE:
      • It is an electronic tax-filing service.
      • It uses the Internet and certified software.
      • Individuals send tax returns directly to CRA.
    • If it is your first time to file, you can’t use NETFILE. The CRA does not have your records yet.
    • After you file your first tax return, you can register for My Account and direct deposit.
  5. If you need help

    • Filing a tax return can be hard.
    • Get help from:
    • You can choose a Tax Discounter .

      • They prepare your tax returns.
      • They calculate your tax refund before you file with the CRA.
      • They pay you the refund on the same day.
      • However, their service is not free. They will take a percentage of your refund as payment. This depends on how much you will get.
      • Understand all the forms and documents a tax discounter gives you. Read them well before you sign.
      • You can hire an accountant

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Community Resources

Community Financial Counselling Services in Winnipeg can help you prepare you tax returns as well as provide financial counselling.

Tax preparation is part of SEED Winnipeg’s Access to Benefits program. Low-income individuals and families can call for an appointment. They can prepare your tax return for free.

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Filing your first tax return in 5 steps

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