Filing income tax returns can be a daunting task for those who have lived in Canada their entire lives, so it’s understandable when new immigrants find the process confusing. Even if you have lived in this country for many years, it is important to remember that tax rules change – expenses and credits that you were able to claim last year may not be available to you this year, and benefits that were not available last year may be available this year.
Fortunately there is help available to make sure you can get your 2017 Canadian income taxes filed properly and on time. Serving People Group (SPG) specializes in a number of professional services including income tax filing for individuals and businesses and with your permission, we will communicate with Revenue Canada on your behalf.
The following is an overview of some of the things you will need to know when filing your 2017 income tax return. For specific advice on your situation, contact the team at SPG.
What’s new for this year’s tax returns?
If you submitted a Canadian tax return last year, there are a number of changes that you should be aware of for this year.
The following are some new and expanded tax deductions for 2017:
- Students and those seeking job retraining may benefit from the fact that the government has enhanced eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and artists’ projects grants exemptions. Exemptions have been expanded to include scholarships and bursaries for non-post-secondary occupational skills courses.
- Eligible medical expenses have been expanded to include medical intervention for individuals trying to conceive a child.
- The family caregiver amount has been replaced by the Canada Caregiver amount. This entitles caregivers to claim up to $2150 for certain expenses related to caring for a mentally or physically impaired person and up to an additional $6883 which is determined by the income of the dependent.
- Finally, new rules for 2017 allow nurses to determine eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit. While the credit itself remains unchanged, having more medical practitioners who can make this determination may help to decrease wait times for those applying for the tax credit.
The following are some of deductions which are being eliminated for 2017:
- The deduction for federal education and textbooks has been eliminated.
- The child arts and fitness tax credits have been eliminated
- The federal public transit amount is being phased out. You may still claim monthly transit passes that were purchased before June 30, 2017 however any fees paid after this time are not eligible.
If I’m new to Canada, do I even need to file income tax?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think. Canadian residency for tax purposes and Canadian residency for immigration purposes are not the same thing. If you are at all unsure, it is wise to get advice from a professional.
You might be a considered a Canadian resident for tax purposes if any of the following are true:
- You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- You are a refugee (protected person).
- You have received approval-in-principle to stay in Canada from the Canadian government.
- You are a temporary resident such as a foreign worker or foreign student.
You are considered a Canadian resident for tax purposes when you establish residential ties including:
- Purchasing a home in Canada.
- Having a spouse, common-law partner or dependents come to Canada to live with you.
- Owning personal property in Canada including a car.
- Having other significant social ties in Canada.
What if I’ve only been a Canadian resident for part of the year?
If you were a new immigrant to Canada in 2017, you will have to report your earnings both from Canadian sources and elsewhere during the time you were a Canadian resident. Prior to that time period in the same year, you are only required to report income that came from Canadian sources. Because Canada has tax treaties with over 90 other countries, you should be able to avoid double taxation. Some of these tax treaties may make some of your income such as spousal support tax free. This income can be deducted on your 2017 tax return on line 256.
In the event that you are not sure of the exact date that you legally became a Canadian resident, you will be required to fill out and submit form NR74 (Determination of Residency Status) to CRA and they will then make a determination as to the date you should use on your tax return.
Why work with SPG to file your 2017 Canadian tax return?
As a new Canadian taxpayer, you have several choices when it comes to filing your return. You may file on your own using either a tax filing software program or with Revenue Canada’s paper return or you may take your taxes to a professional to have them filed.
Here are just a few reasons why our customers come back to us time and again for their yearly tax returns:
- Express Notice of Assessment – this is a secure online service that lets clients see their notice of assessment (NOA) as soon as it has been received and processed by Canada Revenue. Your NOA will give you important tax details including your RRSP contribution room and amount of tax refund or tax owing.
- SPG offers personal attention. We assess your specific situation and needs when filing your tax return. Appointments can be booked at the time and office location most convenient for you.
- E-filing is done at no additional cost, meaning that you can be assured that returns are accurate and timely.
- We can communicate with CRA on your behalf.
- We can review tax returns from previous years.
- Year round assistance with any of your tax concerns.
- Our bi-lingual staff can provide service in English and Italian.
If you would like the employ the confidential and professional services of SPG for filing your 2017 Canadian income tax return, then contact us today to book an appointment. During the months of March and April our offices have extended hours, so that you can arrange a time that is most convenient for you.