Taxes in Canada
General Information on Tax Returns
A tax return is a statement of income and expenditures that is submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency once a year. All international students enrolled in Dalhousie and living in Canada are eligible to file tax returns. This includes students who work part-time or during co-op work terms AND students who do not work.
Benefits of a tax return
International students are encouraged to file tax returns while in Canada. Benefits are listed below:
- You may receive quarterly GST/HST credit money.
- You may receive tuition tax credits for tuition paid to universities and colleges. You can use tax credits against future income if you work in Canada after graduation.
- If you worked in Canada you may receive a tax refund.
When to file your tax return
March and April is tax season in Canada. All residents of Canada are required to complete a tax return by April 30 each year. Not all international students are considered to be residents of Canada for tax purposes, but there are still benefits for international students to complete a Canadian tax return. Even if you do not have any Canadian income, you may be eligible for valuable Canadian tax credits and other related benefits (e.g. GST/HST rebate). The tax year is the same as the calendar year (January – December). In March and April, you file a tax return for the PREVIOUS year’s income. For example, in April 2000, you report your income from 1999 (January – December). If you arrived as a new student in September, you report your income from September to December in April of the FOLLOWING year. If you arrived as a new student in January, you report your income from January to December in April of the FOLLOWING year.
Required tax documents
To begin the process of filing a Canadian tax return, you will first need copies of certain tax documents. As a student, the T2202 tax form (“Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate”) is an official record of the tuition you paid to Dalhousie. If you were employed by Dalhousie, the T4 Form (“Statement of Remuneration Paid”) is an official record of your total income from Dalhousie in 2022. Other (off-campus) employers also issue T4s. If you received a scholarship, monetary award, or waiver (for which there is a monetary value) from Dalhousie, you will receive a T4A tax Form (“Statement of Other Income”).
In all cases, you can find and print/download copies of these forms through DalOnline. Forms are available in mid-February each year. Visit the MoneyMatters page for more detailed information.
Helpful links and information on income taxes
You can visit the following links from the Canada Revenue Agency for more information on income taxes:
HOW TO FILE YOUR TAXES
1. Apply for a Social Insurance Number
2. Collect your tax receipts and immigration documents
3. Go to the Ufile website, click 'Start your return online for free' and create an account for the Ufile program. Ufile allows you to submit your return online for free.
You could also go to the Canada Revenue Agency website and use another Netfile program to complete and submit your tax return online
Get help to file your tax return
Part 1: Why international students should do taxes
Part 2: When and how to do a tax return
Part 3: Tax receipts and how to find them
Part 4: How to set up a UFile account
Part 5: How to fill in UFile tax software for unmarried students
Part 6: How to fill in UFile tax software for couples or families with children
Part 7: How to schedule a Tax Appointment
Go to a free Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) Clinic
Each year, Dalhousie’s International Centre partners with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to host a series of free CVITP tax clinics for international students. Tax clinics typically happen in March and April each year. Appointments are by registration only and limited to Dalhousie international students.
There are also a number of other FREE Income Tax Clinics throughout the city, through CRA's Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). The CVITP is a collaboration between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and community organizations. The organizations host tax preparation clinics and arrange for volunteers to prepare income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.
When you go to a CVITP clinic be sure to take all your tax documents and let them know you are "an international student and a deemed resident in Canada for tax purposes".
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
As an international student, am I considered a resident for tax filing purposes? How do I determine my residency status for income tax purposes?
Your Canadian immigration/residency status DOES NOT determine your residency status for income tax purposes. You must know your residency status for income tax purposes in order to submit the correct tax forms. To determine your residency status, complete the Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada) NR74 Form well before the tax deadline and send it to the International Tax Services Office in Ottawa. You will receive a letter informing you of your status. Keep the letter and include a copy with your tax return.
Most international students are Residents for income tax purposes and should therefore fill out the General Income Tax forms for Residents. Some international students may, however, be deemed Residents and Non-Residents.
For more information about determining your residency, read:
Can I file my income tax return if I don't have a Social Insurance Number?
If you are a full time international student, you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to complete a Canadian tax return. For more information on how to apply for a SIN, go to a Service Canada office or visit the Government of Canada website.
If you are not a full time international student and you do not have a study permit, you can try to apply for a Individual Tax Number (ITN).
If you have a spouse or partner, they can apply for an ITN by completing the Application for a Canada Revenue Agency Individual Tax Number for Non-Residents (form T1261). Send the complete form to the International Canada Revenue Agency and include a true copy of a passport, a true copy of your visitor permit, and a letter explaining that your spouse is accompanying you to Canada.
Do not complete this form if you already have a SIN (even if it has expired), if you are eligible for a SIN, or if you already have an individual tax number or a temporary taxation number.
What if I am married?
Spouse (husband/wife/partner) in Canada: If your spouse is in Canada they must also have an ITN/SIN, and if applicable the tax documents stated above.
Spouse (husband/wife/partner) in another country: If your spouse is in another country, you need to know their date of birth and income from January 1–December 31 of the tax year.
I have been living in Canada for a number of years and have never filed taxes before, what should I do?
You can either do it yourself online, or contact another Community Volunteer Income Tax clinic.
What do I do after I have filed my taxes?
1) Receive your Notice of Assessment letter in your mail and save it for next year
Canada Revenue Agency will send this letter to the mailing address on your tax return. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. Keep it safe.
2) Create an online My Account on the CRA website
Go to www.cra.gc.ca and click on the Log in/Register tab. This will allow you to view your tax information. This is very helpful in case you need to change your mailing address or banking information. IMPORTANT: SAVE YOUR PASSWORD AND USERNAME IN A SAFE PLACE WHERE YOU WILL REMEMBER FOR NEXT YEAR.
3) Check your bank account by July 31 (at the latest) for benefit payments
The payments may show as a deposit from “CANADA” or “GOVT of CANADA”.
4) If you receive a tuition assessment letter, mail another copy of your T2202 to Canada Revenue Agency
Sometimes the CRA does a review of tax returns, and mails out requests to students asking to see their tuition receipts. If you receive something like this in your mail, respond to it as soon as possible. If you do not respond you could be asked to pay a fee OR your payments will stop.
What is a Notice of Assessment?
When the Canada Revenue Agency receives your income tax return, they will review your information and send you a summary of the results of your income tax return, also known as a Notice of Assessment. Please review your Notice of Assessment to ensure that all the information is correct. You will need to keep your Notice of Assessment in your files to use it for the next year's income tax return. Your Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment will show unused tuition amounts carried forward from previous years.
What happens if I don’t receive any GST/HST payments by the end of July in the year following the completion of my taxes for the previous year?
CRA may have sent you a letter in the mail and you did not respond.
- If you moved your mailing address and you did not let CRA know your new mailing address, they will stop your payments. You will have to call CRA or update your mailing address on your My Account (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/myaccount/). Only after your mailing address is up to date will your payments be issued.
- If CRA sent you a letter asking for your world income and you did not send them a letter stating your world income, you will not receive GST/HST payments. You must send a letter stating your world income, even if you have already provided that information when you filed your tax return.
What happens if I change my address in the next four months?
You must let CRA know your new mailing address immediately. There two ways:
- Log in to your My Account and update your address. This is quick and easy and CRA prefers this.
- Visit the Change Your Address page on the Canada Revenue Agency website and follow the instructions for 1) changing your address by phone, and 2) changing your address by mail.