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Filing Tax Returns

Filing taxes can seem daunting to newcomers, but there are many reasons why you should fill out an income tax return on a yearly basis. All residents of Canada are subject to paying provincial and federal taxes on their worldwide income. If you have paid too much tax during the year, you will get a refund. Income tax returns are used to determine if you are eligible for mandatory government programs. All residents of Canada benefit when we all pay taxes because governments use income taxes to provide services, such as roads, schools, and health care. Failure to pay taxes on earned income can result in criminal charges. Each year you must submit an Income Tax and Benefit Return to tell the government how much money you earned and how much tax you paid.

If you are employed, taxes are deducted automatically from most income you receive. If your employer deducts too much income tax, you will get a refund. If you paid too little, you will have to pay more. You can determine if you will get a refund or need to pay more taxes when you complete your income tax return.

If your income is modest or you are unemployed, you need to fill out the tax return to qualify for various government benefits, such as Canada Child Tax Benefits (CCTB) and the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) Credit.

The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low and modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay. If you have children under 18 years of age and you want to begin or continue receiving CCTB, both parents need to file out the tax returns even if one of them does not have any income. If you are unemployed, on social assistance, or a pensioner, you still need to fill out an income tax return. Pensioners who receive Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance benefits under the Old Age Security Program need to file a return form to renew their benefits.

Students can reduce their income tax by taking into account eligible tuition fees and the education amounts. Student's tuition fees and education amounts are eligible if a student is 16 or over and takes post-secondary course, which develops or improves skills in an occupation at the educational institution that has been certified by Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC). If students do not have an income or if they do not have tax to pay, they may carry forward the unused portion of your tuition and education amounts. In this case, a student must file a tax return so his/her records reflected the unused tuition and education amounts available for carry forward to other years (and be used to reduce income tax).

The deadline for completing your tax return is April 30 of each year.

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