Newcomer to Canada? What you need to know to do your taxes

If you are a newcomer to Canada for all or part of a tax year (January 1 to December 31), you need to do your taxes (file an income tax and benefit return) if you receive or want to receive certain benefits and credits, want to claim a refund, or have to pay tax. Everything you need to know is available at Find information on getting your social insurance number, filing a tax return, applying for benefits and credits, contacting the Canada Revenue Agency if you need assistance, and tax treaties. 

Important facts

  • You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential and social ties in Canada. Examples include having a home, or a spouse or common-law partner in Canada. You usually establish these ties the date you arrive in Canada. For more information, go to Do you have to file a return?
  • You should still do your taxes even if you have little or no income to report. By filing an income tax and benefit return, you might be able to get benefits and credits such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit and the Canada child benefit. Your spouse or common-law partner also has to do their taxes each year for you to receive benefit and credit payments that you may be eligible to receive.
  • If you need help preparing your tax return, have a modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be able to get help from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). The CVITP is collaboration between the Canada Revenue Agency and community organizations across Canada. These organizations hold tax preparation clinics, and their volunteers can prepare and submit your tax return for you free of charge. For more information, go to
  • Remember you need to file on time to make sure there are no interruptions to your Canada child benefit, GST/HST credit, and child disability benefit payment!

Once you do your taxes for the first time and receive a notice of assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you’ll be able register for My Account and access all of the CRA’s online, self-service options. Online services make doing your taxes faster and easier. You’ll be able to use them to help file your tax return, make a payment, track the status of your return, register for online mail, apply for benefits, and more. Register for My Account at

As a newcomer, it's important to understand your tax obligations and the benefits and credits available to you. CRA has created some videos to help you: Newcomers to Canada and the Canadian Tax System and New to Canada? Learn about Taxes (also available in FrenchArabicCantonesePunjabi and Spanish).


For more tax questions or additional information, contact any member of our tax team.

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Did you have medical expenses? You may be able to claim them on your income tax and benefit return

Why claim medical expenses

You can reduce the amount of federal tax you pay by claiming a non-refundable tax credit on a wide variety of medical expenses, including hospital services, nursing home fees, and medical supplies.

You may be able to claim medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, your dependent children (under 18 years of age), and other dependants.   

Conditions for claiming medical expenses

To claim medical expenses, the expenses must:

  • be eligible
  • have been paid by you or your spouse or common-law partner
  • have been paid within a 12-month period ending in 2016 and not claimed for 2015

Before filing your return, make sure you are claiming eligible medical expenses. If you claim expenses that are not eligible (for example, athletic or fitness-club fees or over-the-counter medications), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may reassess your return accordingly.

Claiming travel expenses

Did you travel at least 40 kilometres (one way) from your home to get medical services? If so, you may be able to claim the public transportation (for example, taxi, bus, or train) expenses you paid. Where public transportation is not readily available, you may be able to claim vehicle expenses instead.

Did you travel at least 80 kilometres (one way) from your home to get medical services? If so, you may be able to claim accommodation, meal, and parking expenses in addition to your transportation expenses.  

Did someone accompany you? If so, you may be able to claim that person’s transportation and travel expenses. To make that claim, a medical practitioner must certify in writing that you were not capable of travelling alone to get medical services.

Refundable medical expense supplement

If you have a low income and high medical expenses, you may be able to claim a refundable credit of up to $1,187.  

Visit the CRA’s website for more information on eligible medical expenses you can claim on your return or watch Segment 3: Medical Expenses in the CRA’s video series on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities.


For more tax questions or additional information, contact any member of our tax team.

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Protect yourself - tax scams can be costly

Have you received a suspicious emailtelephone callletter, or text message claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? If the organization or individual is asking for personal information such as your social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number, this is a scam

Keep these facts in mind

The Canada Revenue Agency will never do any of the following:

  • send an unsolicited email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information
  • ask for any kind of personal information through email or text message
  • ask to be paid by prepaid credit cards or gift cards
  • leave any of your personal information on an answering machine
  • threaten you

Even though these messages may seem convincing, they are scams and you should never respond to them or click on any of their links.

It is important to remember that you are responsible for all information on your tax return, even if a tax preparer or representative does your taxes. To be safe, stay away from tax preparers offering things that seem too good to be true like large refunds or false tax claims, such as fake charitable donations.

To help protect yourself, new this year the CRA has introduced Account Alerts, a fraud prevention service. When you sign up through My Account or MyCRA app, the CRA will notify you by email if your direct deposit information or your home or mailing address has changed, and if mail sent to you by the CRA was returned.

If you think you may have been the victim of a tax scam or have been tricked into giving out your personal or financial information, contact your local police as soon as possible because your financial security and personal identity are at risk. For more information, go to