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(NC) – As a newcomer to Canada, the first things you take care of are the basics, such as housing, employment, transportation, and so on. What you may not have considered, however, is what it means to be part of Canada’s tax system, and how to file your first return.

All new permanent residents must file an income tax and benefit return, like all Canadians. Even teenagers working part-time should file a return to make sure they get taxes back if eligible. They may also qualify for some benefit payments, even if they have no income.

Filing your return is the way you report your income for the year, claim any deductions or tax credits, and calculate your correct tax payable – this could mean money back if you have paid too much. Filing your return is also how you apply to receive certain benefit payments. A benefit payment is money you receive regularly to help you pay for your expenses. These benefits include the GST/HST credit, the Canada child tax benefit, and the universal child care benefit.

Learning about taxes may seem overwhelming but there is help. You can learn about your tax obligations as a new resident and get the information you need to file your income tax return on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

If you’re stuck and want face-to-face help, there is a program where volunteers help people with modest income and a simple tax situation file their income tax and benefit returns. To see if you qualify, go to to find your nearest tax clinic.