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The Taxman Is Asking New Canadian Immigrants for Piles of Paperwork

04/06/2015 05:53 EDT | Updated 06/06/2015 05:59 EDT
Marilyn Nieves via Getty Images
Tax Time spelled out on a calculator.

A request for more information means certified copies required within 30 days or the return is not assessed

The Canadian tax system is based on residency rather than citizenship. So if you were new to Canada in 2014, you need to file a tax return even if you have no income. Your Canadian tax credits will be based on your date of entry and you need to report your worldwide income.

But your interaction with the CRA may not be over once you have filed. The taxman has been asking some of our new Canadian clients for additional information while they review their tax returns. The CRA is well within their rights to ask for additional documentation but new Canadians are facing a rather long list of requirements.

Identification is the first request. You need to produce certified copies of your Social Insurance Number (front and back), your birth certificate, your marriage certificate and two samples of your "natural written signature on a blank piece of paper." A certified copy requires an endorsement from a Notary Public or lawyer or other authorized person in order to be valid. The certifier must also sign the document and provide their contact information.

If you arrived in or departed Canada in 2014, you need to send additional certified copies of documents. You will need a copy of your Form IMM 1000 Record of Landing or Permanent Resident Card (front and back) or Form IMM 5292 Confirmation of Permanent Residence. Both of these documents are issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for all of your family members. You will also need to include your first Employment Authorization, Work Permit, Visitor's Record or Student Record. This document will confirm your initial date of entry into Canada.

But that is not all. You also need to copy all of the pages of your stamped passport. If you are not planning to stay in Canada, you need to provide the CRA with an explanation of your residency situation and you just can't say you like the snow.

For new Canadians residing here, there are different requirements. The CRA wants you to confirm that you are still living here and again, everything needs to be certified. You will need to send in one of each of your utilities bills. This would include cable, telephone, hydro and gas. And add in your rental or lease agreement or your property tax statement. You will also need to send two valid pieces of signed identification such as a driver's license, vehicle registration or health insurance card.

If you are reporting world income, there are also document requirements. Even if you did not live in Canada for the entire year, the CRA expects you to report all of your income for 2014 on your Canadian return. Canada does have tax treaties with most countries so you are unlikely to be taxed on your income twice but it does need to be reported.

To confirm your world income, you will need provide a complete copy of your 2014 income tax return from your home country to prove you are claiming your income accurately. But not every country requires you to file taxes. If you find yourself in that situation, you need a statement from foreign authorities to prove the amount of income you earned outside of Canada.

And if you want to claim your spouse, there is more paperwork required. You will need a statement of your spouse's world income and their SIN. If your spouse did not come to Canada with you and you are sending support payments to them, your support receipts must include your name, the amount, the date of payment and your spouse's name and address. So keep the receipts from the post office, bank money order, cancelled cheques or bank drafts to prove the claim.

Gifts sent do not qualify and you cannot make a dependency claim if the amount you send is less than reasonable to support the person in the country. For example, if you are just sending $100 every other month to a spouse in the U.S., it would not be enough to be considered support.

The best part? If the CRA asks for this information, you have 30 days to produce all of these documents and reply to the CRA. If you fail to do so, your return will not be processed.

Not every new Canadian will receive this request for information but you should be prepared in case the CRA does ask. Make sure you keep all your immigration or emigration paperwork together so if you need to find it, you can.

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