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Canadian Tax Basics

In Canada, taxes, tariffs, and duties are collected by different levels of government to fund their programs and services. The three levels of taxation are:

  • Federal, through the Canada Revenue Agency;
  • Provincial / Territorial, through respective provincial/territorial finance or revenue departments; and
  • Municipal, through local government.

There are different types of tax applied by these levels of government on consumers, wage earners, and businesses. The basic types of taxes include:

  • Income tax derived from an individual’s employment or a corporation’s business revenues;
  • Consumer (retail or sales taxes) and Excise taxes, levied on the production, sale, or consumption of goods and services;
  • Property taxes, derived from the sale and transfer of property.
  • Import / Export, based on the movement of goods across borders.

The amount of tax each Canadian pays depends on a number of factors including:

  • Your employment income (how much you earn)
  • Where you live (your province, city, and whether you own or rent)
  • What deductions you are eligible to declare (amounts you can subtract from your income to reduce your taxable income); and
  • The products you consume and the consumption taxes associated with those products.


March 1, 2011 – Canadian RRSP Deadline for 2010 Tax Year This is the deadline for making RRSP contributions for deductions against your 2010 tax filing. For online tools to assist you in calculating investment and RRSP contributions, see our list of RRSP Calculators / Investment Calculators.

What is an RRSP?

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a retirement investment plan registered with the government to which you or your spouse can contribute through RRSP-eligible investments, such as some stocks and mutual funds. For information on what investments are RRSP eligible, please contact a financial advisor and/or your financial institution.

Deductible RRSP contributions can be used as a means to reduce your taxes. Amounts earned in the RRSP investment is usually exempt from tax for the time the funds remain in the plan. When you cash in or receive payments from the plan (typically at retirement) you will then pay tax on those amounts.

When is the the RRSP deadline for the 2010 tax year?

March 1, 2011, is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2010 tax year.

How much can I deduct on my 2010 taxes?

The amount you can deduct on your tax filing is based in part on a percentage of your previous year’s earnings and any eligible deduction room carried forward from the previous year. Your RRSP deduction limit is shown on your Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment for the previous tax year.

If you are unable to use any part of your RRSP deduction limit, the unused amount can be carried forward to next year, increasing your deduction limit for that year. Unused deductions can be carried forward indefinitely.

When can I withdraw money from my RRSP?

Funds are usually held in an RRSP plan until retirment at which time they may be withdrawn or migrated to other investment plans. If your RRSPs are locked-in you will not be allowed to withdraw funds from them without penalty until you terminate employment and the plan (i.e. retirement). Contact the issuer / financial institution holding your RRSP investments for further information about withdrawl and see the Canada Revenue Agency web site for information on withholding rates on withdrawls.

Two programs exist for making withdrawls tax-free from your RRSP under the requirement that you repay the amounts.

  • The Home Buyers’ Plan allows you to withdraw up to $20,000 from your RRSPs to buy or build a home for yourself or for someone who is related to you and is disabled. You have up to 15 years to repay the amount to your RRSP.
  • The Lifelong Learning Plan also allows you to withdraw up to $20,000 (limit of $10,000 annually) from your RRSPs to finance training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner. You cannot use your RRSP to fund a child’s education.

Where can I get more RRSP information?

For further information about RRSP deduction limits please consult:

Canadian Tax Software

There are numerous companies that produce tax software for filing your Canadian income tax return. This page provides a list of companies or software of which we are aware.

Please note that inclusion in this list is in no way an endorsement of any product or company. SaveRealCash.com is not associated with any vendor of Canadian tax software. SaveRealCash.com does not warrant the accuracy of information provided by these companies nor the suitability of these products to your needs. Buyer beware.

Articles about these products may appear on the SaveRealCash.com Blog and other web sites which may provide useful information to you. If you are considering purchasing tax preparation software you are advised to research the product prior to purchase.

Miscellaneous Software

Intuit Software
TurboTax (formerly QuickTax)
Intuit Profile
Get TurboTax Business Tax Software
Compare QuickBooks Canada Software
Get QuickBooks Payroll Software
Get QuickBooks Canada Premier Accountant Edition
Get QuickBooks Canada EasyStart Bookkeeping Software

AceTax (was T1Filer)






Tax Chopper (formerly CuteTax Online)



Dr. Tax Software


Canada Revenue Agency’s EFILE

Canada Revenue Agency’s EFILE Service Provider search


Canada Revenue Agency’s TELEFILE


Canada Revenue Agency’s NETFILE

See the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of NETFILE certified software:

Canadian Tax Forms

Federal Income Tax Forms

Canada Revenue Agency

Provincial / Territorial Income Tax Forms

Some provinces / territories do not prepare / maintain their own tax forms and guides but refer users to the Canada Revenue Agency.

See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html


Nova Scotia
See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html

New Brunswick
See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html






British Columbia

See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html

See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html

See CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/menu-e.html

2010-2011 Canadian Tax Deadlines

December 31, 2010
December 31 of the year you turn 71 years of age is the last day you can contribute to your own RRSP.

January 31, 2011
Due Date for filing and remitting Goods and Service Tax / Harmonized Services Tax (GST/HST) for the prior quarterly reporting period. (Applicable to businesses, not personal tax.)

February 2011
Starting February 2011, you can get a printed copy of the 2010 General income tax and benefit package mailed to you by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-2221. Between February and early May 2011, the General guide and forms book for your province or territory are available from any postal outlet or Service Canada office near you.

February 2010 (TBD)
The first day for using TELEFILE or NETFILE to electronically file your 2010 CRA tax return will be announced early in 2011. For TELEFILE, call 1-800-959-1110.

Continue reading 2010-2011 Canadian Tax Deadlines