Newcomers to Canada (immigrants)
Watch videos for newcomers to Canada to learn about the Canadian tax system.
The following information applies only for the first tax year that you are a new resident of Canada for income tax purposes. After your first tax year in Canada, you are no longer considered a newcomer for income tax purposes.
Are you a newcomer to Canada?
You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential ties in Canada. You usually establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada.
Newcomers to Canada who have established residential ties with Canada may be:
- protected persons;
- people who have applied for or received permanent resident status from Citizenship and Immigration Canada; or
- people who have received "approval-in-principle" from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to stay in Canada.
If you were a resident of Canada in an earlier year, and you are now a non-resident, you will be considered a Canadian resident for income tax purposes when you move back to Canada and re-establish your residential ties.
Your tax obligations
Do you have to file?
As a resident of Canada for income tax purposes for part or all of a tax year (January 1 to December 31), you must file a tax return if you:
- have to pay tax; or
- want to claim a refund.
Even if you have no income to report or tax to pay, you may be eligible for certain payments or credits. In order to receive the following payments or credits, you must file an income tax return.
- the GST/HST (goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax) credit;
- Canada child tax benefit payments; and
- payments from certain related provincial or territorial programs.
For more information, see "Do you have to file a return?".
Which tax package should you use?
As a newcomer to Canada, you should be aware that most individuals who reside in Canada file only one income tax return for the tax year, because the Canadian government collects taxes on behalf of all provinces and territories, except the Province of Quebec.
For the tax year that you are a newcomer to Canada and for each tax year that you continue to be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes, use the General Income Tax and Benefit Package for the province or territory where you resided on December 31 of the tax year.
It is important to use the forms book for your province or territory because tax rates and tax credits are different in each province and territory.
If you live in the province of Quebec, you may need to file a separate provincial income tax return. For information about your provincial tax liability, contact Revenu Québec.
Filing due date
Generally, your income tax return has to be filed on or before:
- April 30 of the year after the tax year; or
- if you or your spouse or common-law partner carried on a business in Canada (other than a business whose expenditures are primarily in connection with a tax shelter), your return has to be filed on or before June 15 of the year after the tax year.
A balance of tax owing must be paid on or before April 30 of the year after the tax year, regardless of the due date of the tax return.
What income must you report?
For the part of the tax year that you were NOT a resident of Canada
You have to report the following amounts:
- income from employment in Canada or from a business carried on in Canada;
- taxable capital gains from disposing of taxable Canadian property; and
- the taxable part of scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and research grants you received from Canadian sources.
For the part of the tax year that you WERE a resident of Canada
You have to report your world income (income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada) earned after becoming a resident of Canada for income tax purposes on your Canadian tax return.
In some cases, pension income from outside of Canada may be exempt from tax in Canada due to a tax treaty, but you must still report the income on your tax return. You can deduct the exempt part on line 256 of your tax return.
We consider you to have acquired (deemed acquisition) almost all your properties at fair market value on the day you immigrated.
If you are re-establishing Canadian residency and you had a deemed disposition when you left Canada, see Dispositions of property.
For more information about completing your tax return as a newcomer to Canada, see Pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada.
Entitlement to benefits and credits
As a newcomer to Canada, you may be eligible for the goods and services/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), and the universal child care benefit (UCCB) payments in the year you became a resident of Canada.
To apply for the GST/HST credit, complete Form RC151, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada.
To apply for the CCTB and the UCCB payments, complete Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application. Depending upon your immigration and residency status, you may also have to complete Schedule RC66SCH, Status in Canada/Statement of Income.
Forms and publications
- Pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada
- Income Tax Folio S5-F1-C1, Determining an Individual's Residence Status
- BSF5113, Immigrating or Returning to Live in Canada (Border Services Agency)
- BSF5114, Settling in Canada (Border Services Agency)
- Welcome to Canada: What you should know (Citizenship and Immigration)
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