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.

Non-taxable Income

Income not taxed includes:

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

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.

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