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How to file taxes in Canada

Written by Aly - Community Success Director
Updated 1 year ago

The thought of filing your own taxes can be intimidating, which is why there are many companies out there to help with this. However, not all companies are reputable and many actually will charge a large fee (more than you might get as a return!) for submitting. We definitely recommend that you avoid these! 

Employers should send out T4s in January or February, and you can file your tax return from March 1st to April 31st. Make sure that your employer has an up to date address and if you are keen to submit a tax return, you can also contact your employer to request your T4. As it is not mandatory to file a return, your employer may not do this automatically. 

If you are filing taxes for just one employer, you will only have one T4 which should make things more straightforward. You're basically just inputting information from your T4 into the specific fields. It's unlikely that you'll be claiming any additional amounts such as charitable donations, transit or educational expenses.

If this is the first time you’re filing your taxes in Canada, you must submit your tax return via mail – you cannot submit this online through NETFILE (but you can in future years!). NETFILE is the Canada Revenue Agency's online tax service.

You can use TurboTax for free and once you fill in the information from your T4, it will generate the forms that you need to send to the Canadian Revenue Agency for you.

You can also fill out the tax form yourself, and you can find it on the Canadian Government website

For tax purposes, you are considered a non-resident as long as your stay in Canada was less than 183 days, and you normally live outside of Canada. Once your forms are completed, they must be sent, along with your original T4, to the CRA. Where you send the forms depends on your country of residence. You can find more information here.

Finally, you are not required to file a tax return! So if you feel like it is not worth it, you are under no obligation to do this. If the only deductions you were subject to was Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI), you would most likely not receive anything back anyway.

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