Leaving Canada (emigrants)

The information on this page replaces the information in Guide T4056, Emigrants and Income Tax, which has been eliminated.

Are you an emigrant?

Generally, you are an emigrant for income tax purposes if:

  • you leave Canada to live in another country; and
  • you sever your residential ties with Canada.

Severing your residential ties with Canada means that you do not keep your main ties with Canada. This could be your case if:

  • you dispose of or give up your home in Canada and establish a permanent home in another country;
  • your spouse or common-law partner or dependants leave Canada; and
  • you dispose of personal property and break social ties in Canada, and acquire or establish them in another country.

If you leave Canada and keep residential ties in Canada, you are usually considered a factual resident, and not an emigrant. However, if you are also considered to be a resident of another country with which Canada has a tax treaty, you may be considered a deemed non-resident. Deemed non-residents are subject to the same rules as emigrants.

For more information on residential ties and residency status, go to Determining your residency status.

When do you become a non-resident?

When you leave Canada to settle in another country, you usually become a non-resident for income tax purposes on the latest of:

  • the date you leave Canada;
  • the date your spouse or common-law partner and dependants leave Canada; or
  • the date you become a resident of the country you settle in.

If you lived in another country before living in Canada and you leave Canada to resettle in that country, you usually become a non-resident on the date you leave Canada. This applies even if your spouse or common-law partner temporarily stays in Canada to dispose of your home.

Do you have to file a tax return?

Complete and send a Canadian tax return if:

  • you owe tax; or
  • you want to receive a refund because you paid too much tax in the tax year.

For more information, go to Do you have to file a return?.

Note

If you determine that you do not have to file a return, you should let us know the date you left Canada as soon as possible.

Which tax package should you use?

For the tax year that you leave Canada, use the general income tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you resided on the date you left Canada.

If you lived in Quebec before you left Canada and you want information on filing a Quebec tax return, visit Revenu Québec.

When do you have to send us your tax return?

To find out when you have to file your return, go to Filing due dates. To find out where to file it, go to Where to mail your paper T1 return.

How to complete your tax return

Date of departure from Canada

Enter your date of departure from Canada on page 1 of your return in the area “Information about your residence”.

What income do you have to report?

Part of the tax year that you WERE a resident of Canada

Report your world income (income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada) on your Canadian tax return.

Part of the tax year that you WERE NOT a resident of Canada

After you leave Canada, as a non-resident, you pay Canadian income tax only on your Canadian source income. However, only certain types of Canadian source income should be reported on your return while others are subject to non-resident withholding tax at source. For more information on your tax obligations as a non-resident of Canada, go to Non-residents of Canada.

Property you owned when you left Canada

When you leave Canada, you are considered to have disposed of certain types of property at their fair market value and to have immediately reacquired them for the same amount. This is called a deemed disposition, and you may have to report a capital gain.

If the fair market value of all the property you owned when you left Canada was more than $25,000, complete Form T1161, List of Properties by an Emigrant of Canada and attach it to your return.

For more information, go to Dispositions of property.

What deductions and credits can you claim?

Moving expenses

Generally, you cannot deduct moving expenses for a move out of Canada.

However, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses if:

  • you left Canada to take courses at the post‑secondary level as a full‑time student at an educational institution in another country; and
  • you received a taxable Canadian scholarship, bursary, fellowship, or research grant to attend that educational institution.

For more information, go to Line 219 – Moving expenses.

Tax and credits

To calculate your tax and credits, complete Schedule 1, Federal Tax, and Form 428 for the province or territory where you resided on the date you left Canada.

If you lived in Quebec before you left Canada, visit Revenu Québec.

Federal non‑refundable tax credits

The amount of federal non-refundable tax credits you can claim may be limited.

You can claim the total of:

  • the federal non‑refundable tax credits that apply to the part of the year that you were a resident of Canada; and
  • the federal non‑refundable tax credits that apply to the part of the year that you were not a resident of Canada.

For more information, go to Federal non-refundable tax credits for newcomers and emigrants.

Provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits (Form 428)

The amount of provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits you can claim may also be limited.

Generally, the rules to calculate your provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits are the same as those used for the corresponding federal non‑refundable tax credits. However, the amounts used to calculate most provincial or territorial non‑refundable tax credits are different from the corresponding federal credits.

Provincial or territorial tax credits (Form 479)

Generally, you are not entitled to provincial or territorial credits unless you were a resident of Canada on December 31.

Overpayment of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)

If you were not living in Quebec before you left Canada, go to Line 448 - CPP overpayment.

If you were living in Quebec, any overpayment of CPP or QPP contribution will be refunded or used to reduce your balance on your federal tax return. Claim on line 308 of Schedule 1, in dollars and cents, the total of the CPP or QPP contributions shown in boxes 16 and 17 of your T4 slips, and we will calculate the overpayment for you. You can also calculate your overpayment by using Form RC381, Inter-Provincial Calculation for CPP and QPP Contributions and Overpayments for 2014. As a Quebec emigrant, you claim the amount of your overpayment, if any, on page 4 of your return by writing code 5552 above line 437, and entering the amount of the overpayment to the right of this code. Add this amount to your total credits at line 482.

After you leave Canada

Electing under section 217 of the Income Tax Act

If you receive certain types of income from Canada after you leave, the Canadian payer has to withhold non‑resident tax on the income and send it to us. This tax withheld is usually your final tax obligation to Canada on the income. However, you could benefit from choosing to elect under section 217 on your return.

For more information, go to Electing under section 217.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Home Buyers' Plan (HBP), and Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

If you hold a TFSA when you leave Canada, you can keep it and continue to benefit from the exemption from Canadian tax on investment income and withdrawals. However, you cannot contribute to your TFSA while you are a non-resident of Canada, and your contribution room will not increase. For more information, go to Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).

If you participate in the HBP or the LLP and leave Canada, go to Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) or to Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP), for the special rules that apply.

Receiving benefits and credits

It's important that you tell us the date you leave Canada. Generally, as a non-resident, you are not eligible to receive:

If you receive such credits or payments after you leave Canada, contact us immediately.

Forms and publications

Related topics

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