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5 reasons to file a tax return

​If you owe tax, you have to file a tax return. If you don't owe tax, you still might want to file a return to take advantage of certain tax credits.

​1. You owe tax or want to receive a refund

If you are a resident of Canada for part or all of a tax year, you must file a tax return if you owe tax or want to receive a refund.

2. Recover any tax you overpaid from your pay cheque

You may have had too much tax deducted from your pay cheque and not benefited from all the deductions and tax credits you were entitled to.

3. Take advantage of refundable tax credits

Examples of refundable tax credits: Child Tax Benefit, GST/HST Credit, the Working Income Tax Benefit. You won't receive these credits if you don't file a return.

4. Create contribution room in an RRSP

If you have earned income, you can make RRSP contributions, which reduce your net income. If you don't use your contribution room in any year, you can carry the unused amounts to future years. Learn more about RRSPs.

5. Carry forward or transfer any unused tuition, education or textbook amounts

If you don't have enough income to use these tax credits, you can carry them forward to future years. Or you can transfer them to a family member.

When you don't have to file a return

You don't have to file a tax return if:
  1. your tax is withheld at source – taken off your pay cheque – and you have no other sources of income or deductions; or
  2. you have no income to report.
However, you may still choose to file a return in order to take advantage of certain refundable tax credits and benefits, and to build RRSP contribution room. Learn more from the CRA about when you must – and when you may want to – file a return.