When you file your income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), there are certain forms and supporting documents that you need to submit with your return. However, there are also documents that you need to keep in case of an audit or post assessment, while other documents can be disposed of. Here’s what you need to know.

Filing Your Income Tax Return

Annually, you need to complete the T1 General Income Tax and Benefit Return as well as associated territorial or provincial forms. In order to complete your return, you also will likely need to complete schedules or additional forms that request more information. Schedules should be attached to your income tax return in most cases.

For example, if you split pension income with your spouse, the CRA requires you to complete and submit form T1032. In most cases, you need to attach these forms to your income tax return when you file it, and you should make copies for your records.

However, in cases where a form establishes a long-lasting conditionyou typically do not have to file it each year.

  • For example, if you are applying for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), you only need to submit Form T2201 for the first year.
    • Once you are approved for the credit, you do not have to submit the form for subsequent years unless CRA requests you to do so. Quite often the DTC will only be approved for a limited number of years, such as 5 or 10. CRA will send you a letter stating that your period of approval has ended and that you need to submit a new T2201 before filing your next tax return.
    • You can check the status of your Disability Tax Credit approval at any time by signing into your CRA My Account and clicking on Benefits & Credits.

Information Slips

You will receive a T4 information slip from almost anyone who gives you income during the year.

These slips cover income from:

Attaching your T4 with your tax return

  • If you file by mail, attach your T4 information slips to your return to substantiate your income claims.
  • If you file electronically, you do not need to submit these forms, however, you must keep them for your records and submit only if CRA requests you do so.

If you have old paycheque stubs or similar information, you do not have to keep them. The T4 slip has all the details that you need.

Receipts and Records of Expenses

The CRA offers credits to help offset medicalchild care and adoption expenses as well. It also offers deductions for most retirement account contributions (RRSPs and RRIFs)charitable donations, moving expenses, union dues and professional fees, and other expenses.

In order to claim those credits and deductions, you need proof of your expenses.

  • Throughout the year, make sure that you track your expenses carefully and accurately.
  • Make notes and save your receipts, bank records and other supporting documents.
  • Use your records and receipts to calculate the amount of your claims.

But when you file your income tax return, do not include them with your return. Instead, keep them for your records. If the CRA does a pre or post assessment review on these expenses, you will need to have them available to submit as proof. Failure to submit the required documents will result in your claim for that credit or deduction being disallowed.

Having detailed records is best, as the CRA may request additional documentation. For example, if you are claiming meal expenses that occurred during travel for medical reasons, you are allowed to use the simplified deduction of $17 per meal, up to $51 per day. However, even though the CRA allows this type of claim, it still reserves the right to request additional documentation in case of an audit.

Mailing Your Tax Return

When you mail a paper copy of your tax return, you need to attach all supporting documents and forms that support your claims. Although the printed return has a code on the front page that allows CRA to access the schedules and the forms you used, you need to attach detailed schedules or receipts to verify them. Here is a list of what you might need:

  • Information slips especially if you have received an amended copy: T4, T4A, T3, T4RSP, T4RIF, RL-1, RL-2, etc.
  • Forms, certifications, and schedules: T1135, T776, T778, T2125, schedule 2, schedule 5, T2202, etc.
  • Provincial claims: form 428, 479, BEN, etc.
  • Receipts: medical receipts, charitable donations, RRSP contributions, professional and union dues not reported on T4s, child care expenses, foreign income, repayment to the Employment Expenses, student loan interests, legal fees to establish a right to your salary, renovations to accommodate a person with a disability, moving expenses, attendant care, etc.

References & Resources