GST‑HST Tax Credit

Government Sales Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

When purchasing goods or services in Canada you are often charged an additional amount on top of the cost of the items you are purchasing. This additional charge is GST/HST (sales tax). In Nova Scotia, the HST is 15%.

GST/HST Credit

The GST/HST Credit is used to help individuals and families with low incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay. Full-time degree-seeking international students are eligible to receive the credit.

When to apply for GST/HST credit

If you are over 19 years of age, you are eligible immediately upon arrival to Canada.  Students are strongly encouraged to apply within their first month of study.

GST/HST credit payments are issued in January, April, July, and October.

Note: In order to keep receiving GST/HST payments, you are required to do a tax return for each year you are in Canada.

For more information about GST/HST credit including calculations, payment dates and payment amounts visit the Canadian Revenue Agency website.  

How to apply for GST/HST credit

Step 1: Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Refer to the SIN application page for more information.

Step 2: Complete a Determination of Residency Form

Complete the Determination of Residency application (Copies are available in the International Centre).  Submit true copies of your study permit, passport and Dalhousie confirmation of enrollment letter as supporting documents.  The application and supporting documents should be mailed to:
International Tax Services Office
PO Box 9769, Station T
Ottawa, ON, K1G 3Y4  

You should receive a response confirming you are a resident of Canada in the mail.  This is called a Determination of Residency confirmation letter.

Step 3: Complete the GST/HST credit application form

Go the CRA website to find the form. Copies of the form are also available at the International Centre.

When completing the form please remember the following:

  • You must include your SIN.
  • You must include the date you first came to Canada as an international student in "Part C - Residency status" in the box indicating "New residents of Canada."
  • In Part D, world income means any money you earned from a job in any country you have lived in before coming Canada.
  • You must include your bank information in Part E because the government of Canada will no longer issue mailed cheques.
  • Sign and date the form.
  • If you are married you must include information for your spouse. 

If you need help completing the form correctly you can make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.  

Step 4: Write a letter explaining your world income

Write a letter to CRA stating the amount of money you earned in the year you came to Canada and the year before you came to Canada. 

If you never had a job, you still need to write a letter. If your job was in a country outside of Canada, you still need to write a letter. Failure to provide this letter will result in delay of GST/HST credit payments.

Step 5: Mail the Determination of Residency confirmation, the GST/HST application and world income letter

Mail your letter stating your income and the GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Became Residents of Canada to:

Canada Revenue Agency
St John’s Tax Centre
PO Box 12071, Station A
St John’s, NL, A1B 3Z1