Who is Considered a Resident of Canada? Understanding Residency Status for Tax Purposes

When it comes to taxation, determining your residency status is crucial in Canada. Your residency status dictates your tax obligations and filing requirements. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assesses various factors to determine whether you are a resident or non-resident for tax purposes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the criteria used by the CRA to determine residency status and provide clarity on the tax implications for residents and non-residents.

Determining Residency Status: The Key Factors

The CRA considers several factors to assess an individual’s residency status. These factors include residential ties with Canada, the length and purpose of your stay in Canada, the location of your home, and other significant connections to the country. Let’s delve into these factors to gain a deeper understanding of how residency status is determined.

Residential Ties with Canada

One of the primary considerations in determining residency status is the presence of residential ties with Canada. These ties include:

  • A Home in Canada: Owning or maintaining a home in Canada is a significant residential tie.
  • Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada: If your spouse or common-law partner resides in Canada, it strengthens your residential ties.
  • Dependants in Canada: Having dependants, such as children, residing in Canada is another factor indicating residential ties.

Secondary Residential Ties

In addition to significant residential ties, secondary ties can also influence your residency status. These ties may include:

  • Personal Property in Canada: Owning personal property, such as a car or furniture, in Canada.
  • Social Ties in Canada: Engaging in memberships with Canadian recreational or religious organizations.
  • Economic Ties in Canada: Holding Canadian bank accounts, credit cards, or having a Canadian driver’s license.
  • Health Insurance with a Canadian Province or Territory: Maintaining health insurance coverage with a Canadian province or territory.

It is essential to note that the above factors are general in nature. For more detailed information on residential ties, you can refer to the CRA’s Income Tax Folio S5-F1-C1, “Determining an Individual’s Residence Status.”

Residency Status and Tax Implications

Once you have evaluated your residential ties with Canada, you can determine your residency status and understand the corresponding tax implications. Let’s explore the different residency statuses and their tax obligations.

Factual Residents

If you maintain significant residential ties with Canada, you are considered a factual resident. Factual residents are subject to Canadian income tax on their worldwide income. This means you must declare all income from both Canadian and foreign sources.

As a factual resident, you are entitled to claim all applicable deductions and tax credits, both at the federal and provincial levels. You must report all income received during the tax year, regardless of its source.

Deemed Residents

There are situations where individuals are deemed residents of Canada for tax purposes. Let’s explore these scenarios:

  1. Staying in Canada for 183 Days or More: If you stay in Canada for 183 days or more in a tax year, even without significant residential ties, you are deemed a resident of Canada. As a deemed resident, you must report all income received from both Canadian and foreign sources.
  2. Government Employees and Canadian Forces Members: Government employees posted outside of Canada, including members of the Canadian Forces, are generally considered factual residents or deemed residents of Canada. This applies even if they are physically located outside of the country.

Deemed residents have similar tax obligations as factual residents. However, their eligibility for provincial or territorial tax credits is limited to the federal level.


If you do not have significant residential ties with Canada and do not meet the criteria for factual or deemed residency, you are considered a non-resident. Non-residents are subject to Canadian income tax only on Canadian-source income.

Tax treaties may also come into play for individuals who are residents of two different countries. These treaties establish tie-breaker rules to determine the individual’s country of residence for tax purposes. Tax treaties help prevent double taxation and ensure that individuals are only taxed in one country.

Tax Obligations for Non-Residents

As a non-resident of Canada, you are required to pay tax on income received from Canadian sources. The specific tax obligations and filing requirements depend on the type of income you receive and any applicable tax treaties.

It’s worth noting that if you have paid tax in another country on income or profits earned there, you may be eligible for a foreign tax credit in Canada.

Special Considerations and Additional Resources

There are several special considerations and specific circumstances that may impact your residency status and tax obligations in Canada. Let’s explore a few of these scenarios:


If you leave Canada to live in another country and sever your residential ties, you are generally considered an emigrant for income tax purposes. Emigrants may still be required to file a tax return for the year they leave Canada, covering the period up to the date they ceased to be a resident.

It’s crucial to note that emigrants may also face departure tax, which entails paying tax on a deemed disposition of their assets, as if they had sold them.


When individuals arrive in Canada and establish significant residential ties, they become residents for tax purposes. Immigrants are subject to Canadian income tax on their worldwide income. Permanent residents covered under a provincial health insurance plan are also considered residents for tax purposes.

For newcomers to Canada, additional resources such as the CRA’s “Newcomers to Canada” guide and Pamphlet T4055 can provide valuable information.

International Students

Being an international student in Canada does not automatically make you a resident for tax purposes. Your residency status is determined by your residential ties with Canada, regardless of your nationality or occupation. International students should evaluate their residential ties to determine their tax obligations.


Understanding your residency status for tax purposes is crucial in Canada. The CRA considers various factors, including residential ties and the length of your stay, to determine whether you are a resident or non-resident. Factual residents are subject to Canadian income tax on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on Canadian-source income only. Special considerations apply to deemed residents, emigrants, immigrants, and international students.

If you are uncertain about your residency status, it is recommended to consult with tax specialists or utilize the CRA’s resources, such as the “Determination of Residency Status” forms.

By understanding the criteria used to determine residency status, you can ensure compliance with tax obligations and avoid any potential issues or penalties. Stay informed and make informed decisions about your tax responsibilities as a resident or non-resident of Canada.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional tax advice. Please consult with a qualified tax professional for personalized guidance based on your specific situation.

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Additional Information:

  • It’s important to note that the determination of residency status is based on individual circumstances, and there are no universally applicable rules.
  • Tax treaties between countries play a significant role in resolving residency conflicts and preventing double taxation.
  • Non-residents may be eligible for certain tax credits and deductions, depending on their specific circumstances and any applicable tax treaties.
  • The CRA provides various forms and resources to help individuals determine their residency status and understand their tax obligations.
  • Seeking professional advice from tax specialists can provide clarity and ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.