Mandatory Reasons for Filing
You must file a return for the tax year if any of the following situations apply:

  • You have to pay tax for this tax year.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency has sent you a request to file a return.
  • You and your spouse or common-law partner elected to split pension income for the tax year. See lines 115, 116, 129, and 210.
  • You received working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments in the tax year.
  • You disposed of capital property in the tax year (for example, if you sold real estate or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed amounts to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your previous tax year 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 the tax year, 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.

Optional Reasons for Filing

  • Even if none of these requirements apply, you may still want to file a return if any of the following situations apply:
  • You want to claim a refund.
  • You want to claim the working income tax benefit (WITB) for the tax year.
  • You want to apply for the GST/HST credit (including any related provincial credits). For example, you may be eligible if you turn 19 before April of the tax year.
  • 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 the tax year 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 in order to keep your RRSP deduction limit for future years up to date.
  • 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 simply 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.

Are you an International Student?
The Canadian Revenue Agency explains everything you need to know in detail here.

Are you a Domestic Student?
The Canadian Revenue Agency explains everything you need to know in detail here.