Filing a Tax Return

Do You Need to File a Return?

Mandatory Reasons for Filing

You must file a return for the tax year if any of the following situations apply:

  • You have to pay tax for this tax year.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has sent you a request to file a return.
  • You and your spouse or common-law partner elected to split pension income for the tax year. (See lines: 115, 116, 129, and 210)
  • You received working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments in the tax year.
  • You disposed of capital property in the tax year (ex: if you sold real estate or shares in a company) or you realized a taxable capital gain (ex: if a mutual fund or trust attributed amounts to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your previous tax year return).
  • You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits. (See line: 235)
  • You have not repaid all amounts withdrawn from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) under the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan. For more information, go to Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) or Guide RC4112, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP).
  • You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if, for the tax year, the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income is more than $3,500. (See line: 222)
  • You are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings. (See lines: 317 and 430)

Optional Reasons for Filing

Even if none of these requirements apply, you may still want to file a return if any of the following situations apply:

  • You want to claim a refund.
  • You want to claim the working income tax benefit (WITB) for the tax year.
  • You want to apply for the GST/HST credit, including any related provincial credits (ex: you may be eligible if you turn 19 before April of the tax year).
  • You or your spouse or common-law partner want to begin or continue receiving Canada child tax benefit payments, including related provincial or territorial benefit payments.
  • You or your spouse or common-law partner want to claim the family tax cut. (See line: 423).
  • You have incurred a non-capital loss (see line: 236) in the tax year that you want to be able to apply in other years.
  • You want to carry forward or transfer the unused part of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts (see line: 323).
  • You want to report income for which you could contribute to an RRSP and/or a pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) to keep your RRSP/PRPP deduction limit for future years current.
  • You want to carry forward the unused investment tax credit on expenditures you incurred during the current year (see line: 412).
  • You receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program. (You can usually renew your benefit simply by filing our return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada).

For further information please refer tothe CRA’s website:

Are you an International Student?

The Canada Revenue Agency has a page that explains what you need to know as an International Student in Canada.

Are you a Domestic Student?

The Canada Revenue Agency has a page that explains what you need to know as a Student in Canada.