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Before filing, it’s essential to receive your Canadian Social Insurance Number. It’s also important to remember that all income-related documents are relevant and your worldwide income is required

“Getting up to speed on taxes is just one of many learning curves you might encounter when you move to a new country,” says Stefanie Ricchio, CPA, tax expert and spokesperson for TurboTax Canada. “Moving to a new country and embracing new cultures, languages and practices is already a major life change. Fortunately, there is support available when it comes to your taxes.”

To help new Canadians make the most of their specific tax situations, Ms. Ricchio recommends four essential steps:

1. Collect all documents.

The most essential document for filing taxes is a Canadian Social Insurance Number. But it’s important to remember that all income-related documents are relevant and your worldwide income is required.

“If you arrived in Canada in the middle of the tax year, you need to report your income and assets from your country of origin,” advises Ms. Ricchio. This includes any employment income earned outside of Canada even after the day you relocated, foreign assets over $100,000, the market value of any assets you brought to Canada, as well as details for your spouse or children.

Tip: TurboTax’s Canada Tax Checklist helps you get organized for this all-important first step.

2. Don’t wait until the last minute

Be aware of upcoming deadlines to ensure you’re not scrambling. The deadline for individuals to file taxes for 2023 is April 30, 2024, while the deadline for self-employed people is June 17, unless you owe tax, in which case the April 30 deadline stands for you to submit payment to the CRA. If you miss the deadline or don’t file your taxes at all, you may face penalties and the CRA will apply interest of up to 10 per cent to your tax bill.

When you file online via TurboTax, you know how much to expect for your refund or how much money you owe. Once the CRA has processed your return, you receive an official Notice of Assessment (NOA), which confirms the details. To easily make tax payments, access past returns and keep your tax information accessible, register for CRA My Account.

3. Take advantage of tax credits and deductions

Tax deductions – sometimes referred to as “write-offs” – are eligible expenses that can be subtracted from your income. Examples of tax deductions can include work-from-home expenses and even losses from the sale of investments.

Tax credits, on the other hand, directly reduce the amount of tax you owe or are amounts refunded to you by the government. Non-refundable tax credits like medical expenses will reduce your total income tax payable. Refundable tax credits like the GST/HST credit will be paid to you if you are eligible.

“There are many tax credits new Canadians can take advantage of,” says Ms. Ricchio. Three of the most common tax credits are:

GST/HST Credit. This is a rebate on the sales tax you paid on goods and services. “If eligible, the amount of the credit is calculated based on your family’s net income, plus the number of dependent children,” says Ms. Ricchio.

Canada Child Benefit. This tax-free monthly payment to eligible families helps cover the cost of raising children under 18. You must apply for this benefit. (The payment could include the child disability benefit and other similar provincial and territorial programs.)

Canada Carbon Rebate (formerly known as Climate Action Incentive Payment) This payment offsets the cost of federal pollution pricing and eligibility varies by province. “When you file your tax return, you’re automatically considered,” says Ms. Ricchio.

New Canadians may be able to claim the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit on their first home in Canada. With this credit, you can claim up to $10,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home in 2023 if you (or your spouse or common-law partner) bought a qualifying home and didn’t live in another home (inside or outside of Canada) that you owned in the year of acquisition or the four preceding years, unless you have a disability.

4. Get the right help

If you are unsure about the tax filing process in Canada or have a complex financial situation, seeking expert support may be your best bet. TurboTax can help you get your biggest refund or keep more money in your pocket so you can achieve your goals.

One of Ms. Ricchio’s top tips for new Canadians is to familiarize themselves with some common tax terminology using a trustworthy resource like TurboTax’s list of key terms. “Canada’s tax system is regulated by the Canada Revenue Agency, also called the CRA. This will be important to know as you begin to receive emails or mail from them,” says Ms. Ricchio.

If you’re more comfortable with hands-on support from an expert, TurboTax has a range of flexible options. “TurboTax’s Canadian-based experts, who have an average of 10 years of tax experience, can help you file your taxes based on your specific tax situation, so you can confidently get every deduction and dollar you deserve,” explains Ms. Ricchio.

With TurboTax Live Assist & Review, a tax expert reviews your tax return before you submit, while with TurboTax Live Full Service, a tax expert can complete your return for you in as little as a day, as long as you have all of your documents ready.

There’s even an option for expert help in Hindi through TurboTax Live Full Service.

The CRA also has a wealth of resources for new Canadians, including a video that highlights benefits and credits in 13 different languages.

Things to remember

Even if you only lived in Canada for part of the year, you must file a tax return if you have tax to pay or want to claim a refund.

You don’t need to file a tax return before receiving benefits and credits during your first year in Canada. However, to continue getting benefits and credits after your first year, you will need to file a tax return even if you have no income. If you’re married or have a common-law partner, they should file a return too.

Once you’ve filed your first tax return, you may also be eligible to receive more tax credits and benefits.

And finally, Ms. Ricchio also advises that you keep your personal information updated with the CRA and keep track of documents, such as travel documentation, passports and birth certificates, that show proof of your situation and that of any immediate family members, in case you need to confirm your benefits.

With the right support and knowledge, new Canadians can look forward to the best possible tax outcome for their unique situations.

Want a curated list of recommended articles to help you make the most of this year’s tax filing? Take this quiz for tailored tax tips.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with TurboTax. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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