Will I Have to File a Tax Return for This Year?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

2017 is pretty much done, and it’s time to start thinking about taxes (it comes sooner than you think). You’re wondering if you need to file a tax return, and more than likely you do. Here’s eighteen reasons to file a 2017 tax return come April 2018.

Do you have to file a return?

You must file a return for 2016 if:

  • You have to pay tax for 2016.
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sent you a request to file a return.
  • You received working income tax benefit advance payments in 2016.
  • You disposed of capital property in 2016 (for example, if you sold real estate, your principal residence, or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed income to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your 2015 return).
  • You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits. See line 235.
  • You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if for 2016 the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income is more than $3,500. See line 222.
  • You are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings. See lines 317 and 430.

Even if none of these requirements apply, you should file a return if:

  • You want to claim a refund.
  • You want to claim the working income tax benefit for 2016.
  • You or your spouse or common-law partner want to begin or continue receiving Canada child benefit payments, including related provincial or territorial benefit payments.
  • You have incurred a non-capital loss (see line 236) in 2016 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. See line 323.
  • 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 See line 412.
  • 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 will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada.

Really, there’s every good reason to file a tax return for 2017 even if you’re not working.

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