Income Tax FAQs for International Students
Did you know that ALL domestic and international students MUST file their tax return annually with the Canadian Government to receive eligible refunds and credits (GST/HST, OTB, tuition and education)?
I arrived in Canada prior to this tax year but I have never filed a tax return before.
Students who are filing a tax return for the first time must mail their tax return to the International Tax Office in Ottawa. A separate return for each year in Canada must be completed, and all forms must be printed and mailed to the International Tax Office.
Subsequent year returns may be submitted through E-file. You must include one world income statement reporting your income from Canadian sources from January 1 of the first year you arrived in Canada to the date you arrived in Canada. This amount for most international students is $0.
For more information about reporting income tax for your first year in Canada, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
Do I need to file a tax return if I arrived in Canada in late December?
Yes you still need to file a tax return. I.e, if you have arrived in Canada before January 1st of current year; then you may file an income tax return.
What documents and information are required for income tax return?
In order to file your tax return, you will need all the applicable documents that are listed below:
- T4 Slip: You would receive this slip if you have been working in Canada as an employee. Your employer is required to send you the T4 Slip on or before the last day of February following the calender year to which the slips apply.
- T4A Slip: This is only applicable to those who received a scholarship, fellowship, or grant. In addition, someone may work part-time as a contractor, the owner may issue a T4A slip before the last day of February following the calender year.
- T5 Slip: identifies the various types of investment income. If you have earned interest on your bank account, you would receive the slip by mail.
- Offical tax receipts for donations and charity.
- T2202A Statement: You will receive or download from your school account for T2202A Statement, if you have paid for tuition and textbooks.
- Health Insurance Premiums: This includes Foreign Health Insurance fees.
- Monthly Transit Pass
- Other Medical/Dental expenses that you paid
- Donations to registered charities and organizations: Official tax receipts are required.
Your bank information to set up “Direct Deposit”: bank account number, branch number and institution number.
Your mailing address including the postal code. This address should be the address where you want to receive your Notice of Assessment in (May or June). This is the result of your income tax return.
If I don’t have SIN number, how can I file tax return?
In order to be able to file your taxes you need to have your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or an Individual Tax Number (ITN). International students studying in Canada who wish to file an income tax return to receive the HST credit and other tax refunds, and report their education amounts and who do not work in Canada are required to apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) because they are not eligible to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
If you do not have either of these, you can contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
To apply for ITN, you need to provide Photocopy all passport pages showing name, photo, and date of birth. Bring the documents to us (Chartered Professional Accountant) to certify your photocopy and complete the application for ITN when file your first tax return.
Why Should I Do My Taxes?
What are the benefits of filing my taxes? You may be eligible for:
- GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps offset part of the GST or HST that you pay
- Ontario Trillium Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment from the Ontario Government
- Tuition, Education & Textbook credits
- Most international students will qualify to be Canadian residents for tax purposes. If you have an apartment, a bank account, a bus pass, etc., it shows that you have residential ties to Canada. As a resident of Canada for part or all of a tax year (January 1 to December 31), you must file a tax return if you owe tax; or if you want to receive a refund because you paid too much income tax in a tax year. Scholarships are not taxed. Generally, students do not pay income tax. Income tax that was deducted from your pay cheques should be returned.
- You will register to get a GST/HST credit on all the sales tax you pay. This is called the GST/HST Credit and is approximately $250 per year.
- In Ontario, if you paid a rent for your living or paid property tax for your own house, you may qualify to get Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB), which is the combined monthly payment of the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit. Starting with the 2014-2015 benefit year, OTB recipients will have a choice between getting their OTB payments monthly or as a single payment at the end of the benefit year.
- You will begin accumulating tuition credits. This may not help you now, but if you remain in Canada after graduation, these tuition credits will significantly reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay when you start working. If you had taxes deducted from your paycheck last year, you should get most of it back.
- If you have children (and once you have been a resident of Canada for 18 months) you will be registered for the Child Tax Credit. This is a monthly payment from the government for the support of your children, and again requires annual completion of the income tax return for both you and your spouse.
For more information about reporting income tax in Canada, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
Which part of my Canadian scholarship is tax exempt?
How do I file a return if I finished my degree and have moved home (outside Canada)?
Your last tax return in Canada must be filed in paper. You will have to mail it to the International Tax Office in Ottawa.
Note: Indicate that you were a non resident on December 31, 20XX.
You have to indicate your departure date from Canada on the first page of your T1 after you print it. Also don’t forget to sign and date page 4 of your T1 and mail to the International Tax Office.
You are also supposed to prorate all your nonrefundable tax credits but don’t worry since it shouldn’t affect your final numbers (unless you earned a lot of income).
For more information about reporting income tax for your last year in Canada, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
I filed my taxes last year but I didn’t report my tuition amount. How do I report it now?
You must file an adjustment (T1-adj) and complete Schedule
For more information about filing income tax return adjustment, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
I have an ITN number which starts with “0” so I can’t E-file or Netfile. What do I do?
If this is not your first year filing, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
I am earning income or have foreign property in my home country. How should I report this?
Please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
My spouse has never come to Canada.
Report your spouse’s income information only in your tax return. A separate tax return is not required to be completed or filed for your spouse.
I have received a scholarship from a source in my home country. Is it necessary to report this information?
Scholarships received from sources outside of Canada are non-taxable in Canada and do not need to be included as part of your Canadian Income Tax Return.
I qualify for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) but did not receive any money from this source in the current tax year.
If a person has dependents and has applied for the UCCB, but did not receive any income in the tax year, they must still enter 0 in RC62 boxes 10 and 12.
For more help, please contact Ottawa Tax Services powered by AccXpert at TaxServices@accxpert.com or call/text: 613-600-6988.
Helpful Links: International Students in Canada