Canadian residents can benefit from programs that have been paid for from their taxes and payroll contributions. These programs include social assistance for people in need; employment insurance for workers who have lost their jobs; worker’s compensation for workers injured on the job; old-age pensions for citizens 65 years of age and older.
Canadians pay a variety of taxes. Income taxes are used by governments to provide services, such as roads, schools and health care. All residents of Canada are subject to income tax. Each year you must submit an Income Tax and Benefit Return to tell the government how much money you earned and how much tax you paid. Taxes are deducted automatically from most income you receive. If you paid too much, you will get a refund. If you paid too little, you will have to pay more.
Filing an income tax return is extremely important. You will need to file one each year to qualify for various government benefits, such as the Child Tax Credit. You can get the forms for the federal income tax from any post office or Revenue Canada tax services office. Revenue Canada has several publications for newcomers which should be helpful. (Call 1-800 387-1193 or visit http://www.rc.gc.ca) They also have volunteers who can help you fill out your tax forms, under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This is a free service. The deadline for completing your tax return is April 30 of each year. Remember, if you lived in Quebec during the year you will also have to file a separate provincial tax return.
Whenever you buy something, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be added to the price. This includes everything from socks to a new house. You may also pay a provincial sales tax (PST), which varies from province to province. If you own your own home, you will also pay property and school taxes. For more information on these taxes, contact either your local school board or your municipal government.