2024 Canadian Tax Deadlines: Everything You Need to Know

As the seasons transition from winter chill to the gentle warmth of spring, Canadians are reminded of one inevitable event looming on the horizon: the tax filing deadline. For many, tax season can induce a mixture of stress and uncertainty, but with proper preparation and understanding, it can be a manageable and even fruitful time of year.

Who needs to file for a Canadian Tax Return?

In Canada, the requirement to file a tax return depends on various factors, including your income, residency status, and specific circumstances. Generally, the following individuals are required to file a Canadian tax return:

Canadian Residents

Canadian residents must file a tax return if they owe taxes or want to claim a refund. For tax purposes, a resident is someone who has established significant residential ties in Canada, such as a home, spouse, or dependents.

Non-Residents with Canadian Income

Non-residents who earned income from Canadian sources may also need to file a Canadian tax return. This could include income from employment, business activities, rental properties, sale of Canadian real property, or any investments in Canada. Non-residents are subject to different tax rules, and their filing requirements depend on various factors.

Individuals Receiving Government Benefits

Some government benefits and tax credits require individuals to file a tax return to be eligible. For example, you must file a tax return to receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit, or certain provincial benefits.

Self-Employed Individuals

If you are self-employed, regardless of your residency status, you must file a tax return reporting your business income and expenses from Canada. Self-employed individuals have additional tax obligations, including paying Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums.

Students and Part-Time Workers

Even if you’re a student or working part-time, you may still need to file a tax return if you earned income during the tax year. Filing a tax return allows you to claim tax credits, such as tuition credits, education credits, and other deductions that could reduce your tax liability.

Important Deadlines for the 2023 Canadian Taxes

In Canada, the tax year for individuals generally corresponds to the calendar year, running from January 1 to December 31. This means that most taxpayers report their income and deductions for the previous calendar year when filing their tax returns. For example, the tax return filed in April or June of 2024 would typically cover the income earned and expenses incurred during the 2023 tax year.

General Tax Filing Deadline

Due Date: April 30, 2024

This is the deadline for most individuals to file their personal income tax returns for the 2023 tax year. It applies to residents, including employees, and those with various sources of income. Any balance is due on this date to avoid interest charges.

Tax Filing Deadline for Self-Employed Individuals

Due Date: June 17, 2024

This extended deadline applies to individuals who are self-employed or have spouses or common-law partners who are self-employed. While the tax owing is due by April 30, self-employed individuals have until June 15 to file without facing late-filing penalties. However, since June 15 falls on a Saturday, the extended deadline becomes June 17. Please note that any balance owing is still due by April 30 to avoid interest charges.

Tax Installments

Tax installments, also known as income tax installments or quarterly tax payments, are periodic payments made by self-employed individuals and businesses to cover their estimated income tax liabilities throughout the year.

Moreover, if your net tax owed exceeds $3,000 (or $1,800 for Quebec) for the tax year 2024, as well as for either 2023 or 2022, you may need to make tax installments for the upcoming year.

Tax installment payments are due by the following dates (except for farmers and fishers who have one due date on December 31):

The due dates are typically:

  • March 15
  • June 15
  • September 15
  • December 15

If a due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment is due on the next business day.

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Deceased Person's Final Return

  • If the deceased person passed away between January 1 and October 31 of the tax year, their final return is due on April 30 of the following year.
  • If the deceased person passed away between November 1 and December 31 of the tax year, their final return is due six months after death.
  • The same tax deadline applies to the Deceased Person’s Surviving Spouse or Common Law Partner.

Self-employed Deceased Person

  • If the deceased person has self-employment income to report and passed away between January 1 and December 15 of the tax year, their final return is due on June 15 of the following year.
  • If the deceased person has self-employment income to report passed away between December 16 and December 31 of the tax year, their final return is due six months after death.
  • The same tax deadline applies to the Deceased Person’s Surviving Spouse or Common Law Partner if they are self-employed.

Special Rules for Non-residents of Canada with Rental Property in Canada

Form NR6 - Undertaking to File an Income Tax Return by a Non-Resident Receiving Rent from Real or Immovable Property or Receiving a Timber Royalty

Due Date: On or before January 1 of each year or before you receive rental income.

This form is an undertaking to file an income tax return and remit any taxes owed by a non-resident receiving rental income from Canadian real or immovable property or receiving a timber royalty. It must be submitted annually or before the receipt of rental income, whichever comes first.

Slip NR4 - Statement of Amounts Paid or Credited to Non-Residents of Canada

Due Date: On or before July 2, 2024

This slip is provided to non-residents so they can report amounts paid or credited to them for Canadian-source rental income. It must be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by March 31 of the following calendar year in which rental income is received.

Form T1159 - Income Tax Return for Electing Under Section 216

Due Date: On or before March 31, 2024

This form is used by non-residents of Canada who are electing under section 216 of the Income Tax Act to report rental income earned from Canadian real or immovable property. It must be filed annually by July 2, following the end of the tax year.

Interest and Penalties

Failing to file your taxes on time can lead to interest charges and penalties imposed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Late-Filing Penalty: If you fail to file your tax return by the deadline, you will be subject to a late filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of the balance owed plus an additional 1% of the balance owed for each full month that the return is late, up to a maximum of 12 months. For repeated failures to file, the penalties can escalate significantly.

Interest Charges: In addition to the late filing penalty, you will also be charged compound daily interest on any balance owing starting from the day after the tax filing due date. The interest rate the CRA charges can vary and is typically updated quarterly. Interest continues to accumulate until the full amount owing is paid in full.

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What do you report in your Canadian Tax Return?

The tax return reporting requirements in Canada vary depending on your residency status. Residents of Canada are required to report their worldwide income, while non-residents of Canada are only required to report income earned from Canadian sources.

When filing your Canadian tax return, you must report various types of income, deductions, and credits. The specific forms and schedules you’ll use depend on your individual tax situation. Here’s a breakdown of what to report and the corresponding forms:

Income

  • Employment Income (T4): Report income from employment, including wages, salaries, bonuses, tips, and other compensation. You’ll receive a T4 slip from your employer.
Source: Canada.ca
 
  • Investment Income (T5, T3, T5008): Report income from investments, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, and mutual fund distributions. You’ll receive T5, T3, or T5008 slips from financial institutions or investment firms.
  • Self-Employment Income (T2125): Report income from self-employment, including freelance work, consulting fees, and business income. Use Form T2125 (Statement of Business or Professional Activities).
  • Rental Income (T776): Report income from rental properties. Use Form T776 (Statement of Real Estate Rentals) to report rental income and expenses.
  • Pension and Retirement Income (T4A, T4A(OAS), T4RSP): Report income from pensions, annuities, RRSP withdrawals, and other retirement accounts.
  • Other Income (T5007, T5008): Report any other sources of income, such as social assistance, scholarships, grants, or alimony. You’ll receive various slips depending on the type of income.

Deductions and Credits

  • Deductible Expenses: Report allowable deductions to reduce your taxable income, such as RRSP contributions, moving expenses, childcare expenses, and eligible employment expenses. Use the appropriate forms or schedules to claim these deductions.

  • Tax Credits: Claim tax credits to reduce the amount of tax you owe, such as the basic personal amount, tuition and education credits, medical expenses, charitable donations, and credits for seniors, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities. Use the appropriate forms or schedules to claim these credits.

Common Form and Schedules

  • T1 General: The main form used to report your income, deductions, credits, and taxes owed.
  • Schedule 1: Used to calculate your federal tax payable.
  • Schedule 4: Used to report investment income, including interest, dividends, and capital gains.
  • Schedule 11: Used to claim tuition, education, and textbook amounts.
  • Schedule 7: Used to claim RRSP contributions.
  • Schedule 8: Used to claim provincial or territorial tax credits.
  • Schedule 9: Used to calculate your provincial or territorial tax payable.

How to file your Canadian Tax Return?

There are several methods available for filing your tax return. Here are the most common options:

Online Filing (NETFILE)

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers an online filing service called NETFILE, which allows individuals to electronically file their tax returns using certified tax preparation software. To use NETFILE, you must have access to a computer with an internet connection and have your tax information ready. Once you’ve completed your tax return using certified software, you can securely submit it to the CRA through the NETFILE system.

Paper Filing

If you prefer to file a paper tax return, you can obtain the necessary forms from the CRA website, Canada Post offices, or designated distribution centers. You’ll need to complete the forms manually, attach any supporting documentation (such as T-slips and receipts), and mail them to the appropriate CRA tax center based on your location. Remember that paper filing typically takes longer to process than electronic filing.

Through a Tax Professional

Many Canadians hire tax professionals, such as accountants or tax preparers, to assist them with filing their tax returns. These professionals have expertise in tax laws and regulations and can ensure that your tax return is accurate and compliant with CRA requirements. Tax professionals use software to submit tax returns on behalf of their clients electronically.

What happens after you file your Canadian Tax Return?

After you file a Canadian tax return, several steps occur, leading to the assessment of your return and any subsequent actions. Here’s what typically happens after you file your Canadian tax return:

Receipt Confirmation

  • If you file your tax return electronically, you will receive an acknowledgment that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has received your return.
  • If you file a paper return by mail, there is no automatic confirmation of receipt. However, you can track the status of your return using the CRA’s online services or by contacting them directly.

Initial Processing

  • The CRA begins processing your tax return, which involves verifying the information provided, including income, deductions, and credits.
  • The processing time can vary depending on the method of filing (electronic or paper) and the complexity of your return.

Notice of Assessment

  • Once your tax return has been processed, the CRA issues a Notice of Assessment (NOA). This document outlines the results of the assessment, including any changes made to your return, if applicable.
  • The NOA confirms the amount of tax owing or any refund you are entitled to receive.
  • If you filed electronically, you can usually expect to receive your NOA within two weeks. Paper filers may experience longer processing times, typically up to eight weeks or more.

Refund or Payment

  • If you are entitled to a tax refund, the CRA will issue the refund using your preferred method. Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund, while paper cheques may take longer to arrive by mail.
  • If you owe taxes, the NOA will specify the amount owing and the deadline for payment. Interest may accrue on any unpaid balances starting from the due date.

Review and Appeals

  • Upon receiving your NOA, review it carefully to ensure all information is accurate. If you disagree with any changes made by the CRA, you have the right to file a formal objection.
  • You can also request adjustments to your return if you discover errors or omissions after filing.

Record-Keeping

  • It’s essential to retain copies of all documentation related to your tax return, including receipts, statements, and the NOA, for your records.
  • These documents may be needed for future reference, such as in the event of an audit or when applying for government benefits or financial transactions.

Navigating the Canadian tax system requires careful attention to deadlines, forms, and regulations. Whether you’re a Canadian resident or a non-resident, understanding the tax filing requirements is essential for compliance and avoiding penalties. By adhering to the prescribed deadlines, accurately completing the necessary forms, and seeking assistance when needed, taxpayers can fulfill their obligations and maintain financial peace of mind. Furthermore, when individuals are filing tax returns in more than one country, it’s very important to complete the tax returns accurately in order to avoid double taxation.