How to do your taxes in Canada?

Updated: Apr 18

You have recently arrived in Canada and you are finally faced with this administrative process: taxes. Well, yes, but your taxes are already deducted at source from your salary. Here, it's more of a regularization. Follow me, I'll give you some tips to make your first tax return as an employee 馃槈

INFO: The deadline to make your declaration is April 30. Don't forget that for this year the government is offering Covid help for those working from home, I talk about it here.

Know that there are several methods to file your taxes, here we will see using a website and for an individual employee. For people such as freelancers, I recommend using an accountant.

Filing a return with WealthSimple Tax (free)

First, make sure you have your social insurance number (SIN) and your T4 2020 slip(s). These are the slips that your employer provides to you at the beginning of 2021 (between January and March), and look like the picture below. If you do not have them, then contact your employer to request them.

Once you have your slips and your SIN, go to this site: wealth simple.

Click on "start or continue a return", and create a new account if this is your first time. You will then fill in your personal information and the date you moved into your current home. The content is quite well explained and the fields are easy to fill in.

Be careful to look at your status when asked if you have become a resident of Canada for tax purposes in 2020! If it is your first year, answer yes if you have spent more than 180 days in the country. If this is your second year, answer no (regardless of your answer to the first year).

If this is your first year, you do not have a CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) file. In the corresponding box, answer "No" and ask the site to create a CRA account for you.

After filling out your information, click on "Verify and Optimize", which is located in the "Review" section. The site will then prompt you to apply for grants. My advice: try to do as much as you can, you have nothing to lose (note that the aids below apply to Ontario only). For my part, 3 were proposed to me:

  • The Ontario Trillium Benefit

  • Climate Action Indicator

  • Covid work from home assistance

  • You can apply for the ACT, if you have not earned enough over the year 2020 this help can supplement your income

The website will give you the amount of aid you are entitled to and will take care of your application!

Note: if you have a private insurance that you pay (like PVT Globe or Chapka for example), you can deduct it for the past year (pro rata to the time spent of course). You can select "Medical expenses" in the search bar.

Isn't life great? After validating your declaration, I advise you to download it in PDF format.

The payment of your aid (if you get it) will be done within 2 weeks by check, or within 3 days by bank transfer if you activate the Direct Deposit on the ARC website.

I have used Wealth Simple in the past

If this is not your first time and you already have an ARC account, it's even easier. You will link your ARC account to the site which will pre-populate the various boxes on the site. To do this, you will be asked to give your ADC (Avis De Cotisation) access code which can be found on the ARC site and then on your messages. You should find it at the bottom right corner as below (8 letters and numbers).

Managing your CRA account

Now that the Simple Tax site has created an account for you on the CRA, you can access it. You need to go to the CRA website here. In option 2, choose "Register for CRA". You will then be asked for your SIN. Once your profile is recognized (and some information is given), you will have access to your account. To validate your direct deposit information, you must validate your physical existence. To do this, call the tax department at +1 800-959-7383. You will be asked personal and tax-related questions to validate your identity.

In the days following your registration, you will receive a personal code in the mail that is linked to your file. Once you have obtained this code from the CRA, enter it in the verification box that appears when you log in. Finally, on your page, click on "Personal Profile", then manage your direct deposit data.

Are you done? That's it! Now you're ready to receive your grants within 3 business days!

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Other solutions: the government agency also offers a whole range of software and ways to file your taxes as an individual. Learn more here.

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