Tax-filing season media kit

Tax tips
  1. What's new for the 2017 tax-filing season?
  2. What's new for tax professionals and tax preparers for the 2017 tax-filing season?
  3. Changing your marital status may impact your taxes and benefits
  4. Having a baby? Learn what tax changes to expect
  5. Auto-fill my return makes doing taxes easier!
  6. How to manage the taxes of someone who has died
  7. Newcomer to Canada? What you need to know to do your taxes
  8. Protect yourself—tax scams can be costly
  9. Buying or selling a home? What you should know
  10. What to do after you’ve submitted your tax return
  11. Seniors: Enjoy your golden years with these tax credits and benefits
Questions and answers

What is the deadline to file your 2016 income tax return?

Most Canadian income tax and benefit returns are normally due on April 30. However, as this date falls on a Sunday in 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency will consider your return for 2016 as filed on time and your payment to be made on time if the CRA receives your submission on May 1, 2017, or if it is postmarked May 1, 2017.

Individual returns for 2016 filed by these dates will not incur any late-filing penalty.

It is important to file your income tax and benefit return for 2016 on time and with accurate personal information to avoid any disruption in your benefit and credit payments.

What is the deadline to file if I am self-employed?

Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until midnight on June 15, 2017, to file their returns. However, any balance owing for 2016 must be paid on or before April 30, 2017.

Do I have to file an income tax and benefit return?

You must file a return if you owe tax for 2016.Even if you don’t have income to report, you should also file a return in order to claim a refund or to receive certain benefits and credits you may be entitled to, including the Goods and services tax/Harmonized sales tax credit, the Canada child tax benefit and Working income tax benefit.

When can I expect a refund?

The Canada Revenue Agency usually processes paper returns in four to six weeks. However, when returns are filed electronically refunds can be received in as little as eight business days if you have set up direct deposit.

Which methods other than paper are available to file income tax and benefit returns?

The majority of Canadians now file their returns online. Electronic methods are convenient, easy-to-use, secure and available on demand, wherever you are in the world. To file online, go to cra.gc.ca/getready and follow the steps.

To help you file electronically, the Canada Revenue Agency maintains a list of certified desktop and online software products, and web service options, including those that are free of charge, at cra.gc.ca/netfile.

If you need help filing your income tax and benefit return, there are plenty of options available. The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) may be able to help you if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation. You can go to a community organization tax clinic where volunteers can prepare and file your return for you. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

What is Auto-fill my return?

The CRA’s “Auto-fill my return” service is now available through some certified tax software. This service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must be fully registered for My Account. For more information, go to cra-arc.gc.ca/auto-fill/

Last year, how many returns were filed electronically?

By mid-August, 84% of returns were filed electronically. To obtain the individual income tax return statistics for the 2016 tax-filing season, go to Individual income tax return statistics for the 2016 tax-filing season.

How long do I need to save my receipts or records?

Regardless of whether you file online or on paper, keep all supporting documents for your return for at least six years after the end of the tax year—this includes receipts to support any deduction or credit you claimed.

What are some of the benefits of using NETFILE when you file your taxes?

NETFILE is an electronic tax-filing service that allows you to send your individual income tax and benefit return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency using the Internet and a NETFILE-certified software product. NETFILE streamlines the tax-filing process and offers the following benefits:

  • use of the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service through some certified software;
  • secure and confidential;
  • faster refunds (In most cases, with direct deposit, you could receive your refund in as little as eight business days.);
  • greater accuracy (With the use of some certified tax software, certain information is not rekeyed, so there is less chance of errors.);
  • no paper return to mail;
  • no receipts to send in (Receipts may be requested at a later date.); and
  • immediate confirmation that your return has been received.

For more information go to cra.gc.ca/netfile.

Is my information safe online?

The Canada Revenue Agency's secure online services make use of the highest level of online protection, which is the same technology used by banks and other financial institutions for their online services.

Would another person be able to get a refund using my information with NETFILE?

No. Filing an income tax and benefit return using NETFILE is a one way transaction of information. No taxpayer information (such as banking information, address, or social insurance number) can be viewed or changed through this process.

What methods are available to pay if I owe money?

There are various options to pay any amount owing.

  • You can pay the CRA any amount owing at your financial institution, either in person or by using their Internet or telephone banking services.
  • Pre-authorized debit is an online, self-service, payment option. Using this option, you can authorize the CRA to withdraw a pre-determined payment amount from your bank account to pay tax on one or more dates. You won’t have to remember to mail your payments again.
  • The CRA's My Payment service is a secure and convenient online payment service that allows taxpayers and businesses to send a payment to the CRA from their bank account. Taxpayers can access My Payment through the CRA website at cra.gc.ca/mypayment.
  • Taxpayers can mail the CRA a cheque or money order payable to the Receiver General for Canada. You will need to include a personalized remittance voucher, which you can ask for online through My Account or by calling 1-800-959-8281.

For more information on electronic payment methods, go to www.cra.gc.ca/payments.

Should I file my return on time if I owe money and can't afford to pay the outstanding balance immediately?

Yes, even if you cannot pay the full amount of your balance owing by May 1, 2017, you should file your return on time to avoid the late-filing penalty.

What if I cannot pay my balance owing?

If you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe, you may be able to make a payment arrangement. Visit cra.gc.ca/collections for more information or call us at 1-888-863-8657 to discuss a payment arrangement with an agent.

What are the penalties for filing late or not paying a balance owing on time?

If you owe tax for 2016 and do not file your return for 2016 on time, we will charge you a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months.

If we charged a late-filing penalty on your returns for 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015 your late-filing penalty for 2016 may be 10% of your 2016 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2016 balance owing for each full month your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.

Is direct deposit available?

Yes, you can have refunds and benefits deposited directly into your account at a financial institution. Often with direct deposit and online filing, individuals can receive their refund in as little as eight business days.

How do I start direct deposit?

There are several ways you can start direct deposit:

For more information on how to request direct deposit, please visit: cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.

How do I change my address with the CRA?

If you move, notify the CRA of your new address as soon as possible. You can do this by using My Account by mail or fax, or by calling 1-800-959-8281. You can also change your address using the MyCRA mobile app.

What is My Account?

My Account is a secure online service that lets you manage your income tax and benefit account. You can use My Account to:

  • make a payment;
  • track the status of your return;
  • register for online mail;
  • set up direct deposit
  • view your T4 information, notice of assessment, and other information slips;
  • check your benefit and credit payments dates and amounts;
  • check the status of your Canada child tax benefit application, and information about the children in your care;
  • check your RRSP deduction limit and TFSA contribution room;
  • monitor your tax-free savings account contribution room; and more.

This year, if you are registered for My Account, you can use the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service when you file online.

How do I register for My Account?

To register for My Account, you must register online by providing some personal information, including your Social Insurance Number (SIN) as well as a piece of information from your most recently assessed tax return. You will be prompted to create a user ID and password, as well as to select security questions and answers.

You mayalso be able to register for My Account using a Sign-in Partner. This option lets you log in with a user ID and password you may already have, such as for online banking or another service provider. For more information, see Sign-in Partners Help and FAQs.

To learn more about logging in with a Sign-in Partner or about the registration process, go to cra.gc.ca/myaccount. If you need help getting access to My Account, call 1-800-959-8281.

Can I register for online mail?

Yes, the CRA has an online mail service for individuals. This service is quick, easy, and secure. Once registered for online mail, individuals will receive their notices of assessment and reassessment, and some other types of correspondence online, instead of waiting for a paper version to come through the mail.

There are many ways you can register to receive online mail from the CRA:

Your legal representative can also register you for this service on your behalf.

To access your mail online, you must be registered for My Account, which is the only place to view your mail online. Once you have registered for online mail, you will no longer receive paper versions through the postal mail.

What is MyCRA?

MyCRA is a mobile application for individual taxpayers that lets you securely access and view key parts of your tax information such as your personalized benefit payments and the dates they are issued, notices of assessment and reassessment, tax return/refund status, contribution room for a registered retirement savings plan or tax-free savings account, as well the status of your Canada child tax benefit and information about the children in your care. MyCRA links to several webpages where you can quickly get information about income tax and benefit matters.

MyCRA allows you to:

  • update your contact details;
  • enroll for direct deposit;
  • register for online mail; and
  • request proof of income.

To access your tax information on MyCRA, you will need to log in.

For more information on MyCRA and on how to register, go to cra.gc.ca/mobileapps.

Can anyone contact the CRA on my behalf to get my information?

No, taxpayer information is confidential. Therefore, if you want the CRA to deal with another person or persons as your representative for income tax matters, we need your consent.

How do I authorize a representative?

You can give us your consent by using My Account or by completing Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative. For more information, go to Authorize or cancel a representative.

Does the CRA ever use email to communicate with taxpayers?

The CRA will not send information about your refund or benefit payments by email, will not ask for personal information by email, and will not leave personal information on an answering machine. However, if you have registered for online mail, the CRA will notify you by email when new mail, such as your notice of assessment or notice of reassessment, is available for you to view online. Also, if you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call.

Where can I obtain forms and publications?

Although the Canada Revenue Agency no longer mails personalized income tax and benefit packages, you can still file on paper. General income tax and benefit packages are available on the CRA's website at cra.gc.ca/forms, at Service Canada and Canada Post outlets, and by calling 1-800-959-8281.

What information is available for individuals who have questions about their taxes?

Individuals can get information from the following sources:

General enquiries: 1-800-959-8281. Agents are available Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time. From February 15 to May 2, 2017, these hours are extended to 9:00 p.m. local time on weekdays to Saturdays (except Easter weekend) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time.

What assistance is available for small businesses?

Small businesses can get information from the following sources:

What is the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)?

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program helps eligible individuals and families with modest incomes and simple tax situations prepare their income tax and benefit returns.
For more information, please visit cra.gc.ca/volunteer.

What are the new  services that will be provided for taxtime this year?

  • Express NOA This new service delivers an instant assessment result message and provides a notice of assessment directly into the certified tax software the next day. To use the service, you must be registered for online mail and file electronically using a certified tax software
  • Account alerts – As a fraud prevention measure, this new service notifies you by email when an address has changed, banking information for direct deposit has changed, or if mail sent to you by the Canada Revenue Agency was returned. You may register for this service through My Account or MyCRA mobile app.
  • Link between My Account and My Service Canada Account--You can now access these two accounts through a single sign-in session.
  • MyBenefits CRA mobile app – You can use the CRA's new web-based mobile app to securely view your next benefit payment dates and amounts, the status of your Canada Child Application, update your marital status, and change information about children in your care. 

What types of tax credits and deductions are available?

Depending on your situation, you may apply for one or more of the following amounts:

  • Canada child benefit is a new tax-free monthly payment to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. Families could get up to $6,400 annually for each child under 6 and $5,400 annually for each child aged 6-17.
  • Northern residents deductions: If you live in a prescribed northern zone or prescribed intermediate zone, you may be eligible for a deduction based on the number of days in the tax year in which you lived there. For 2016 and subsequent tax years, the budget proposes to increase the base amount and the additional amount that are used to calculate the residence deduction, increasing both from $8.25 to $11 per day.
  • Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply Tax Credit: Eligible educators may be able to claim a 15% refundable tax credit based on an amount of up to $1,000 for eligible teaching supplies purchased by the educator in the taxation year for a maximum credit of $150.
  • Family caregiver tax credit: A non-refundable tax credit of up to $314 for supporting an eligible infirm dependant.
  • Public transit tax credit: A non-refundable tax credit that can help individuals cover the cost of public transit.
  • Pension income splitting: Pensioners may be able to split up to 50% of eligible pension income with their spouse or common-law partner and reduce their overall tax payable.
  • Volunteer firefighter tax credit: Volunteer firefighters may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $450.
  • Tradesperson's tools deduction: Tradespersons may be able to deduct up to $500 from their income part of the cost of tools bought throughout the year.
  • Child care expenses deduction: Parents may be able to deduct from their income the allowable amount of child care expenses.
  • First-time donor's super credit: From 2013 to 2017, first time donors may be able to claim up to $1,000 of donations of money made after March 20, 2013.
  • GST/HST credit: A non-taxable quarterly payment that helps individuals 19 years or older, and families with low and modest incomes, offset all or part of the GST/HST that they pay. Individuals no longer have to apply for this credit. The CRA will determine eligibility and advise those who are eligible to receive the credit.
  • Search and rescue volunteer tax credit: Search and rescue volunteers may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $450.
  • Working income benefit (WITB) is a refundable tax credit available to eligible individuals and families who work but earn low income.

How do I report the sale of my principal residence?

As of 2016, you are required to report basic information on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption for capital gains.

You do not have to pay tax on any capital gain when you sell your house if it was your principal residence for all the years you owned it and did not use any part of it to earn income.

What are some common mistakes people make?

Common mistakes include the following:

  • Not reporting all your income - Make sure you report all your income from all your slips, such as T4 slips. You should have received most of your slips from your employer, payer, or administrator by the end of February. If you have not received, or have lost or misplaced a slip for 2016, ask the issuer of the slip for a copy.
  • Not keeping information up to date - It is important to tell the CRA as soon as possible of any change in your address information or direct deposit details. You are also required by law to tell the CRA about any changes to your marital status, which helps avoid any disruption in your benefit and credit payments.
  • Making an incorrect claim - Various non-deductible amounts, such as funeral expenses, wedding expenses, loans to family members, a loss on the sale of a home designated as a principle residence, and other similar amounts, are sometimes claimed in error. If the CRA determines that a taxpayer has made a mistake or made a claim to which they are not entitled, their return is adjusted.
  • No reply sent – If you do not provide information requested within the time frame indicated on a letter, the Canada Revenue Agency may deny or modify your claim based on the information it has.
  • Receipts and documents not provided – If your return is selected for review, all requested receipts and supporting documents have to be provided. If they are not provided within the requested time frame, your claim may be reduced or disallowed.

For more information about common mistakes, go to cra.gc.ca/commonadjustments.

It is important to tell the CRA as soon as possible of any change in your address information or direct deposit details. You are also required by law to tell the CRA about any changes to your marital status, which helps avoid any disruption in your benefit and credit payments.

What is a non-refundable tax credit?

Non-refundable tax credits reduce your federal tax. If the total of the non-refundable tax credits is more than your federal tax, you will not get a refund for the difference.

What should I do if I make a mistake on my tax return?

It is possible make changes to an income tax return that has already been filed, do not file a new return.  You can only request an adjustment to an income tax return for a taxation year that ends in one of the ten calendar years preceding your request. For more information on changing an income tax return, go to cra-arc.gc.ca/changereturn.

Infographics

Have a lot on the go?

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Sign up for direct deposit and get your refund and benefit payments delivered straight to your bank account.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/directdeposit

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Do your taxes faster.

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If you're registered for My Account, you can automatically fill-in certain parts of your current and prior year tax return with our Auto-fill my return service, available through some NETFILE-certified software.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/auto-fill

  • Watch CRA videos on YouTube
  • Follow the CRA on Twitter

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Let us support you.

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If you have a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you could be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/familycaregiver

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Be a part of the e-crowd.

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Join the growing number of Canadians who make their tax payments online.

It's fast, easy, and secure.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/payments

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Are you self-employed?

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We’ve made doing your taxes easier. Our online services are fast, easy, and secure.

cra.gc.ca/selfemployed

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Open audition!

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Are you a professional musician, singer, actor, artist, dancer, or sculptor? You may be able to claim some expenses for your art.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/getready

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Get in the game!

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Learn more about the children's fitness tax credit

cra.gc.ca/fitness

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Kids got talent?

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Learn more about the children's arts tax credit.

cra.gc.ca/artscredit

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#justmarried

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Let us know about your new marital status. Life events like marriage impact your benefit payments and could change your tax situation.

Learn more at canada.ca/cra-marital-status

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Age is just a number.

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…until it helps you at tax time.

Claim your deductions and credits!

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/seniors

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We want to help you succeed.

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Learn more about deductions and credits you can claim as a student.

cra.gc.ca/students

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What! FREE certified tax software?

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Learn more and start saving.

cra.gc.ca/getready

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Time with your family is priceless.

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Get more of it when you save time by filing online.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/getready

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File between classes!

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It's that easy learn why so many students do their taxes online!

cra.gc.ca/students

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That's hot.

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If you are a volunteer firefighter, you may be eligible for tax savings.

Find out more at cra.gc.ca/firefighter

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First time filing your taxes?

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With our online services, filing your taxes is a breeze.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/getready

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Don't let scammers crack into your nest egg.

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Be aware of fraudulent communications, such as emails or telephone calls that claim to be from the CRA.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention

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Free for everyone

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Filing your taxes online?

Certified tax software is available for free, regardless of your income!

cra.gc.ca/getready

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Are you new to Canada?

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We’re here to help you learn about Canada's tax system.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/newcomers

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Nailed it.

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Restocked your toolbox recently?

If you are an employed tradesperson, you may be able to deduct the cost of eligible tools.

See if you're eligible! cra.gc.ca/trades

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No need to search for savings.

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Search and rescue volunteers may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $450.

Find out if you qualify at cra.gc.ca/firefighter-searchandrescue

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Don't sweat it!

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You don’t have to bend over backwards to do your taxes.

File online, it’s fast, easy, and secure!

Find out how at cra.gc.ca/getready

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Take a little off the top

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As a hair salon employee, you may be able to deduct the cost of your finishing spray or flat iron.

For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/trades

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Are you a representative or a tax professional?

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Stay up to date on CRA news.

Sign up for our electronic mailing lists at cra.gc.ca/lists

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File early.

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Get your refund early.

When you combine online filing with direct deposit you may get your refund in as little as eight business days.

Find out how at cra.gc.ca/getready

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Plan for your first home

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The Home Buyers' Plan allows you to use funds from your RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/hbp

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Don't let your tax credits pass you by.

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Claim your public transit costs.

cra.gc.ca/transitpass

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Are you moving?

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Deductions may help with your moving expenses.

cra.gc.ca/moving

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Keep a clean bill of health!

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Find out which medical expenses you can claim on your taxes.

cra.gc.ca/medical

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Keep those receipts!

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Generally, you need to keep your supporting tax documents for six years.

Find out more at cra.gc.ca/getready

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Do you have an impairment in physical or mental functions?

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You may be eligible for tax credits or deductions that put money in your pocket.

Find out more at cra.gc.ca/disability

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We've adopted ways to help you.

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As an adoptive parent, you may be able to claim a credit for expenses up to $15,453.

www.cra.gc.ca/getready

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Don’t forget…

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to file your tax return. You may be eligible for the GST/HST credit.

www.cra.gc.ca/gsthstcredit

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You've got mail!

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Do you receive benefits and credits? Sign up for online mail and receive an email when your notices are online.

Register at cra.gc.ca/myaccount

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Want to find out about your benefit payments?

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MyBenefits CRA lets you instantly view all your benefit information from your mobile device.

Register at cra.gc.ca/mobileapps

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The CCB is simpler, tax-free, and better targeted to low-and-middle-income families

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Learn more at canada.ca/canada-child-benefit

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Check your benefit payments on the go!

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MyBenefits CRA mobile app lets you access your benefit information instantly whenever you want. No need to call!

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/mobileapps

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Claim the working income tax benefit!

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The working income tax benefit provides relief for eligible low income individuals and families.

Learn more at cra.gc.ca/witb

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