Where can I apply for a SIN?

To apply for your SIN, go to a Service Canada office. You must provide a document that proves your identity and status in Canada, as well as a supporting document if the name on your identification document is different from the name you are currently using. Your documents must be originals and must be written in English or French, or be accompanied by an official translation. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN during your visit. For more information on how to apply for a SIN or to find a Service Canada office near you, visit the Service Canada website or call 1-800-206-7218.

Will I have to continue using these numbers if I become a permanent resident of Canada?

No. If you become a permanent resident of Canada, you have to apply for a new SIN.

If I'm not eligible for a SIN, is there another number I can use for tax purposes?

If you don’t qualify for a SIN, the CRA will assign you a temporary tax number or an individual tax number.

What if I'm neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident; can I still get a SIN?

Yes. If you’re a temporary worker who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident, you can still get a SIN. It will start with a 9. This is a temporary SIN that is valid only until the expiry date shown on the immigration document that authorizes you to work in Canada. If your SIN starts with a 9, it’s important that you update your SIN record to make sure that the expiry date always corresponds with the expiry date on your document from Citizenship and Immigration Canada authorizing you to work in Canada.

Who can ask for my SIN?

The people who can ask for your SIN are employers preparing T4 slips that show your wages and deductions; financial institutions that prepare T3, T4A, or T5 slips to record various types of investment income or other amounts; and government programs such as the Canada child tax benefit and employment insurance. Other organizations may also ask for your SIN. For more information, go to the Service Canada webpage on who can ask for your SIN.

Can I use my SIN for other purposes?

No, your SIN is confidential and is not a piece of identification. You should keep this number in a safe place.

So, what is a SIN and what is it used for?

A SIN is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

Your SIN is unique, personal, and confidential. Only you can use it.

What kind of identification does a newcomer need for tax purposes?

As a newcomer to Canada, if you’re a permanent resident or if you came to Canada to work, you will need a social insurance number, also called a SIN.

Who can be considered a resident in Canada?

Newcomers to Canada who have established residential ties can be:

  • a protected person;
  • people who have applied for or received permanent residency status from Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and
  • people who have received approval-in-principle from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to stay in Canada.

What exactly are residential ties?

You are considered to have established significant residential ties in Canada when you have a home in Canada; you have a spouse or common-law partner or dependants who moved to Canada to live with you; you have personal property in Canada, such as a car or furniture; or you have social ties in Canada.

Other ties may be considered in establishing residency, such as a Canadian driver’s license, health insurance with a Canadian province or territory, and Canadian bank accounts or credit cards.

For more information on residential ties, go to the CRA webpage called Newcomers to Canada (immigrants).

For more information on the definition of a spouse or common law partner, go to the CRA webpage on marital status.

Let's say I just received my citizenship. Is my residency date the same as the date I received my citizenship?

The citizenship date may not be the same as the date you are considered a resident of Canada for tax and benefit purposes.

The CRA considers you to be a resident of Canada for income tax and benefit purposes when you establish significant residential ties in Canada. You usually establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada.

Why is that important?

When you’re considered a resident of Canada for tax and benefit purposes, you have to report your income from all sources, both inside and outside of Canada, and you have the right to claim certain deductions, credits, and benefits.

What do newcomers to Canada need to know about the Canadian tax system?

First, a newcomer needs to know if he or she is considered a resident of Canada for tax and benefit purposes. Even if you are not a permanent resident or a landed immigrant, you may still be considered a resident of Canada for tax and benefit purposes.

What types of income are taxable?

Generally, most types of income you receive are taxable, and you have to report them on your income tax and benefit return.

Some of the common types of income a Canadian resident may receive are: employment income; self-employment income; tips and gratuities; occasional earnings; investment income; and universal child care benefit payments.

This is a general list. For more information on taxable income, go to the CRA webpage on that topic. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Who pays taxes in Canada?

The Canadian tax system is based on residency. Canadian residents pay taxes on their income from all sources, both inside and outside of Canada, and non-residents of Canada pay taxes only on their income from Canada.

Are there any other taxes that the CRA collects on behalf of the federal government?

Yes. The CRA also collects a value-added sales tax called the goods and services tax or GST, and in some provinces the harmonized sales tax or HST. The consumer pays the tax and businesses are generally responsible for collecting and remitting it to the CRA.

When you buy goods or services where GST/HST is applicable, the amount of tax you paid is generally shown on the receipt, invoice, or contract you received from the purchase or there will be a sign to tell you that the price of the supply includes the GST/HST. The CRA also collects excise taxes on certain manufactured goods, and levies excise duties on products such as cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline.

What kinds of taxes there are in Canada?

The Canadian tax system includes: federal; provincial and territorial; and municipal taxes. Canadian residents support the tax system by paying their fair share of taxes. In return, they benefit from the programs and services provided by their governments.

The Canadian tax system is based on a self-assessment system, which means that every taxpayer is responsible for making sure that they comply with the tax rules of each level of government.

Why do we pay taxes in Canada?

Many of the benefits Canadians enjoy are made possible through taxes. Canada’s tax system pays for roads, schools, health care, social security, and public safety among other things.

Tax revenue is used to deliver benefits to lower income families, charities, students, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

Tax revenue provides social benefits such as old age security, the Canada child tax benefit, the working income tax benefit, the universal child care benefit, and the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit.

What can you tell me about the Canadian tax system?

Canadian tax is collected by three different levels of government: Federal, provincial or territorial, and municipal.

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