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What Records Do You Need on Hand When Filing Taxes?

Tax season can be a stressful time for some, and part of the reason is all the paperwork you need to gather before filing your return to the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA.

Digitized documents have made managing the process a great deal simpler, but there are still plenty of records to keep track of when preparing your return. In case you’re confused or have any questions, here’s a handy list of the basic records required for most individual income tax returns in Canada.

T4

If you’ve earned salaried income from an employer in the past tax year, you’ll need a T4 form in order to complete your return. The T4 shows how much total income you’ve earned before deductions, and how much of your salary has gone towards Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance contributions.

T4A

While the name may be similar, this form shares little with the T4. A T4A indicates how much income you have received from various sources such as pension income and annuities, or commissions for self-employed people. Post-secondary students will use this form to indicate earnings from scholarships and awards, as well as withdrawals from a Registered Education Savings Plan, or RESP.

T3, T5, and T5008

If you earn income from investments, whether it’s interest, dividends from stock market holdings, or income from a trust, you’ll need one or more of these forms. The T3 is for trust income, the T5 is for income and interest from non-registered investments, and the T5008 indicates the amount earned from the sale or redemption of any securities.

T2200S/T2200

If you work from home, your process of claiming your expenses has changed for 2023. During the pandemic, you could claim a $500 flat rate, but now you must submit a completed T2200S or T2200 form from your employer to be able to claim home office expenses. You will also need supporting documentation, such as bills and receipts, to show to CRA in case they question your claim.

RRSP contribution receipts

If you’ve made contributions to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, make sure you’ve got the receipts before filing your return – your contribution is tax-exempt in the year it’s made, lowering your total taxable income. You can contribute to an RRSP in the first 60 days of the year and apply the contribution to the previous calendar year.

Other receipts

Make sure to keep receipts for any eligible expenses you intend to claim on your tax return. This includes receipts for charitable donations, medical expenses, annual dues to a union or professional association, costs related to professional certification, moving expenses, childcare expenses, adoption expenses, ​​political donations, digital news subscriptions, interest charges, and in-home office expenses.

Your most recent notice of assessment

As long as this isn’t the first time you’ve filed a Canadian income tax return, you should have a notice of assessment from the previous year’s return. This is essentially a summary and evaluation of your tax return prepared by CRA. Among other things, it explains any refund or credit you may be due and tells you the maximum amount you can contribute to your RRSP in the following tax year.

Don’t file and toss! Keep tax records for six years

Only supporting documents accompany your return to CRA, but always hold on to the rest in case there’s an issue or audit. Finally, don’t toss anything in the trash once your return has been processed. According to Canadian tax rules, you must keep tax receipts and documents for at least six years after filing a return in case CRA requests a review.

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