Even if you didn’t have any income in 2015, you should still file an income tax return by April 30, 2016, to be eligible to receive certain tax credits and benefits. The information on your income tax return allows the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to determine your eligibility for tax credits and benefits. If you don’t file your return, you could miss out on tax credits and benefits such as the:
- Canada child tax benefit (CCTB)
- Universal child care benefit (UCCB)
- GST/HST tax credit
You must file a return for the tax year if any of the following situations apply:
- You have to pay tax for this year;
- The CRA 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;
- You received Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) advance payments in the tax year;
- You disposed of capital property (for example, you sold real estate or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed amounts to you, or you're reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your 2014 return);
- You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits;
- You haven't repaid all amounts withdrawn from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) under the Home Buyers' Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan;
- You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if, in the tax year, the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income was more than $3,500; or
- You're paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings.
Even if none of the situations listed above apply, you should file a return if any of these situations apply to you:
- You want to claim a refund;
- You want to claim the WITB for 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 want the GST/HST credit;
- You've incurred a non-capital loss 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;
- 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; or
- You receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program.
You can usually renew your benefit by filing your return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you'll have to complete a renewal form.
Where can I learn more?
- Do you have to file a return? (CRA website)
- Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) (CRA website)
- Goods and services tax/Harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit (CRA website)
- Provincial and territorial programs (CRA website)
- Newcomers to Canada (immigrants) (CRA website)
- Are You Required to File an Income Tax Return? (Revenu Québec website)