If I must pay more than $3000 on filing for 2013, and in two previous years I got a refund, is there any penalty or new obligation to pay taxes by instalments?

It would be possible to shift medical, charitable, and pension splitting to my spouse to bring my amount payable under $3000, but we would pay about $300 more in tax.  That would need to be compared with any consequences for having an amount larger than $3000 owing on this year's return.


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You will not be obligated to pay any installments unless you owe more than $3000 in the current year and either of the two preceding years.   You would be wise to claim the maximum refund for yourself and your spouse this year.
If you have a similar balance owing next year, CRA will inform you that you must begin making installment payments. If you must make installments, you must pay them when they are due as CRA will impose interest charges on any late installment payments.    

As long as you file your return and make your payment for the current year's balance to CRA on or before April 30, no penalty or interest will be charged.
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