Personal Income Tax in Canada
My personal research for figuring out how to pay personal income taxes for the first time while being an immigrant in Canada.
Tax collection in Canada is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and is regulated by the Income Tax Act. It is important to note that the federal government collects personal income tax on behalf of all provinces and territories.
Taxpayers must fill in a tax return form each year, declaring their own tax liability of the previous calendar year to the CRA. Canadian residents may be taxed for income acquired both in and out of the country. Non-residents may be taxed for income from canadian sources.
After each calendar year, every person resident in canada at any time must file a T1 “Tax and Benefit Return” for individuals. Both the form and the owed taxes are due April 30 each year.
Personal income may be collected through deduction of the individual's pay by the employer, and through payment when filing the tax return, besides other direct payment methods. Employer's may also withold Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) contributions. Taxes paid in excess are refunded when filling the tax return.
Income not taxed includes:
- Lottery winnings.
- Winnings from recreational gambling.
- Income earned within a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).
- Capital gain on the sale of the taxpayer's primary residence.
- Earnings on Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) -- but taxes are paid at withdrawal.
- Half of the income earned through capital gains.
Registered Retirement Savings Plan
Pre-tax income can be placed into an RRSP. It can hold various financial instruments, such as bonds, mutual funds or stocks, effectively deferring taxes to the time of withdrawal.
Included assets: saving accounts, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), bonds, mutual funds, income trusts, corporate shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), foreign currency and labour-sponsored funds.
Contributions to RRSPs are deductible from taxable income income, reducing taxes due at the highest marginal rate, up to an yearly contribution limit.
Tax-Free Savings Account
After-tax income can be placed into an TFSA. Income earned within a TFSA, such as obtained through interest, asset appreciation or dividends, is not taxed. May include assets such as: cash savings account, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs).
Who Should File a Tax Return
- Canadian residents -- individuals which live and work in Canada.
- Immigrants to Canada -- individuals who left another country to settle in Canada.
- Non-residents of Canada with canadian income sources (such as rental income, investments).
Note that tax returns are submitted one per person. There is no concept of a “joint” tax return for married couples in Canada.
First Income Tax Return
An immigrant becomes a resident for tax purposes on the day they arrive in Canada establishing significant residental ties.
How to file
The most recommeded method is NETFILE, using a software or website. You will receive an immediate confirmation the tax return has been filled.
A CRA MyAccount makes it easier to submit adjustments and makes it faster to check details about your return.
WealthSimple Tax is a widely recommend free software where you can fill in your tax return forms.
- Income Tax in Canada on Wikipedia.
- Taxation in Canada on Wikipedia.
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan on Wikipedia.
- Tax-free Savings Account on Canada.ca.
- Personal Income Tax on Canada.ca.
- Income Tax for Immigrants to Canada on Canada.ca.
- Newcomers to Canada Pamphlet on Canada.ca.
- Canadian Tax on Reddit.
- Filing Taxes in Canada on /r/PersonalFinanceCanada on Reddit.
- Canada Revenue Agency on Canada.ca.
- Certified Tax Software for NETFILE on Canada.ca.