If I did not have any income for 2011 and 2012 do I still need to file a CANADIAN tax return? And if so, where do I obtain the forms.

2 Answers 2


No, you probably do not need to file a tax return if you received no income, and if you meet a number of other criteria.

The below is copied and pasted, slightly edited, from the CRA:

You must file a return for 2014 if any of the following situations apply:

You have to pay tax for 2014.

We sent you a request to file a return.

You and your spouse or common-law partner elected to split pension income for 2014. See lines 115, 116, 129, and 210.

You received working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments in 2014.

You disposed of capital property in 2014 (for example, if you sold real estate or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed amounts to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your 2013 return).

You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits. See line 235.

You have not repaid all amounts withdrawn from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) under the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan. For more information, go to Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) or see Guide RC4112, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) or You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if, for 2014, the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income is more than $3,500. See line 222.

You are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings. See lines 317 and 430.

In general, you will want to file a tax return even if none of the above applies. You could, for example, claim a GST/HST credit even with no income.

Now, if you receive any income at all, you are going to have to pay taxes, which means you are obligated to file a tax return. If sufficient taxes were deducted from your paycheque, you are still obligated to file a tax return. However, you will not have to pay penalties if you file late, even if you file very late, at least not until the CRA sends you a request to file. But be aware, you won't likely be able to tell if you owe the CRA money until you do your taxes, and if you do end up owing, there are substantial penalties for filing late.

In general, I'd strongly advise filing your tax return in almost all circumstances.


Yes. There are a number of reasons for this, most notably some form of tax credits transfer over from year to year IF you file your taxes, and the CRA will only pay you deductions if all your taxes have been filed. If you don't owe them anything you won't necessarily get in trouble, but don't expect to get any money back from them until you file!

Also, while it's probably much too late for this, if you have a partner, you can transfer a certain amount of tax deductions to them, and save them some money.

The site is here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/t1gnrl/llyrs-eng.html

  • Your answer says 'yes', but in fact, you are not obligated to file a tax return, in certain limited circumstances. Still, thanks for providing a link to the tax packages for prior years! Feb 16, 2015 at 14:42

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