Benefits and Credits for Newcomers to Canada

Many of the services and benefits we enjoy in Canada are made possible through taxes. You might be eligible for benefit and credit payments even if you just arrived and have no income in Canada.

You have to complete and file an income tax and benefit return every year to receive any benefits and credits you may be entitled to, pay Canadian taxes you may owe, or receive a tax refund.

Why should I file a return?

If you and your family are residents of Canada and would like to receive any benefits or credits you may be entitled to, you should file an income tax and benefit return. Even if you have little or no income, you should still file to receive any benefits and credits you may be eligible for, such as:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) / Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) credit
  • Canada Workers Benefit
  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
  • Some provincial benefits are based on your income tax returns

The filing due date for most individuals is April 30, 2021. If you or your spouse or common law-partner are self-employed and had a business in 2020, you have to file your 2020 return on or before June 15, 2021. However, if you owe taxes for 2020, you have to pay it on or before April 30, 2021, to avoid interest and penalties. If you cannot pay your balance owing, the CRA can work with you on a payment arrangement. Taxpayer relief is available if you can’t meet your tax obligations because of circumstances beyond your control. The CRA may cancel or waive penalties or interest under certain conditions.

If you are a newcomer to Canada and want to get the GST/HST credit, fill out and send Form RC151, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada, for the year you became a resident of Canada.

Do you need more help filing taxes?

There are many community organizations that are hosting free virtual tax clinics. Volunteers from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program may be able to help you complete and file your taxes for free by videoconference, phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement. To find a free tax clinic in your area, please check the national directory or call 211.

For More Information

  • Do I have to file a tax return? - You have to file a return if you are a resident of Canada for tax purposes and you owe tax or want to receive a refund.
  • Can I write off work from home expenses? - Details on when you can claim expenses for working from home at tax time.
  • Benefits Wayfinder - This bilingual one-stop portal lets you search for federal, provincial, and territorial benefits, as well as COVID-19 related resources. From Prosper Canada.
Last updated: March 7, 2022 4006478