The Canadian Tax System


This is a post from’s webinar for newcomers.


Make sure you check out all our blog posts on these topics:

  • the Canadian tax system,
  • some of the benefits and credits you could get,
  • how to keep getting your payments,
  • how to manage your tax and benefit affairs securely and protect yourself against scams,
  • some of the services and tools the Canada Revenue Agency offers,
  • and at the end of the presentation, I’ll discuss the new recovery benefits that have been supporting Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Tax System

The CRA administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories. The CRA is also responsible for federal, provincial, and territorial programs funded through the tax system.

These programs provide benefit and credit payments to help people like you and families.

Canada’s tax system is based on self-assessment. We rely on people to voluntarily do their taxes and to tell us about the money they make from January 1st to December 31st each year.

You do this by completing and sending us a form called an income tax and benefit return.

You need to do your taxes to receive any benefit and credit payments you may be eligible for. The CRA uses information from your tax return to calculate these payments.

For more information on the Canadian tax system and how to do your first income tax and benefit return as a resident, go to the web address on your screen.

Residency status for tax purposes

As a newcomer to Canada, you don’t have to file a tax return the year you become a resident of Canada. However, you will have to do your taxes by April 30th the next year. This first tax return will report the income you received from the date you became a resident of Canada until December 31st that same year.

So, if you become a resident in February 2020, you won’t have to do taxes in 2020. But you will have to file taxes in 2021 by the deadline of April 30. These taxes will be for the period you were a resident in 2020 – so February to December.

You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant ties in Canada. And usually, you establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada. Significant residential ties to Canada include:

  • a home in Canada,
  • a spouse or common-law partner in Canada,
  • and dependants who move to Canada to live with you.

Note that your residency status for tax purposes is different from your immigration status.

For more information, visit here


What If I Need Some Help While Doing My Taxes?

Contact: LCCMedia Foundation Low-Income Free Tax Clinic

Call: 780-860-3229


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