Getting Started

Paying your taxes is a part of responsible citizenship and contributes to the overall good of the community. Think about some of the things we value about living in Canada. Our tax dollars are used to fund these important costs that contribute to our standard of living, like health care, post-education, social assistance, and social services programs and services (subsidy for the elderly, employment insurance benefits, children’s benefits, and the GST subsidy for low-income families).

Here are some fundamental points you need to know about your taxes:

  • In Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administrates income tax.
  • The tax year is from January 1 to December 31.
  • Taxes must be filed by April 30 for the previous calendar year.
  • A tax return for an individual is called a T1.
  • You are required to pay both federal and provincial taxes.
  • You must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to file a tax return.
  • There are penalties for not filing a return.

As a student, filing your taxes often means you will receive money back. Those savings could be used towards paying student loans and cost of living. Students who are not yet working can apply their tuition credit to their taxes owed later on; they also have the option to transfer up to $5,000 of their tuition, education, and textbook credits to their parents’ income taxes.

“For students, tax season means getting money back and accumulating future tax savings. I think that’s really exciting,” says Gina Robinson, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the Student Success Centre. “Through Mac’s Money Centre, I want to empower students – it feels good to know how it all works and to take charge.”

Check out our Daily News article to learn more.

You must file a tax return when: income tax is owed to the government; a tax refund is expected from the government; applying for the GST tax refund (offsets the cost of paying GST for purchases available to low income individuals) and/or Ontario Trillium Benefit; eligible to receive the child tax credit.

International students may be required to file an income tax return in Canada since the Canadian tax system is based on residency and not citizenship. You are a resident of Canada for tax purposes if you establish significant residential ties within Canada. These include a home in Canada, bank account, health insurance and driver’s license. There are valuable tax benefits for international students that file a return.

One of the requirements to file your taxes is to have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which can only be received if you are employed; however, if you don’t have a SIN, you must request an Individual Tax Number (ITN). In order to apply for your ITN, you must submit either an original or notarized copy of your documents. It is recommended that you make copies of your passport and study permit and have a professor sign these copies. It will take several weeks to process so be sure to request an ITN well before the tax deadline which is April 30. Students on exchange for less then 183 days in Canada are not required to file a tax return.

Resources:

CRA’s Video Series: International Students and Income Taxes

Learn about Canadian Tax System

If you are unsure as to whether you will remain in Canada to work after you graduate be sure to claim your Tuition, Education, and Textbook amounts and carry forward the unused credits. If you gain employment in Canada after graduation, you will be able to use these credits and receive a tax refund.

Remember to claim your moving expenses to Canada if you have taxable income from scholarships, research grants, and other similar awards.