Did you immigrate to Canada and become a resident of the country in 2017?

If you’re a newcomer to Canada, you become a resident for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential ties (such as a home or spouse or dependants living in Canada) in the country. Usually, these are established the day you arrive in Canada. 

If you don’t have a home, a spouse or common-law partner, or dependants living with you in Canada, you’ll still be considered a resident if you’ve any of the following residential ties:  

  • Personal property in Canada (car, furniture, etc.)
  • Social ties (memberships in recreational or religious organizations in Canada)
  • Bank accounts or credit cards issued in Canada
  • A Canadian driver’s licence
  • A Canadian passport
  • Health insurance with a Canadian province or territory 

Did you know? If you were a resident of Canada in an earlier year and you moved away from Canada, you’ll be considered a Canadian resident for income tax purposes when you move back and re-establish your residential ties.

As a resident of Canada, you must file a tax return, for part or all of the year, if you: 

  • Have to pay taxes or 
  • Want to claim a refund

Even if you didn’t have any income for the year, you should still file a return as it lets the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determine your eligibility for certain benefits like the GST/HST credit, Canada child benefit, and other provincial/territory programs.  

Why do I need to report the income I earned in 2017 before I became a Canadian resident?

Reporting the income that you earned before you became a Canadian resident helps the CRA determine the amount of non-refundable and refundable tax credits you’re entitled to. For example, in order to receive refundable credits in full, at least 90% of your income must come from Canadian sources.

Note: If your net income from foreign and Canadian sources for the year is zero, the 90% rule no longer applies and you’ll receive the full refundable credits you’re entitled to.  

Where can I learn more?