Claiming tuition fees, education amounts, and textbook amounts - Segment 7

Transcript

Host: Welcome to the segment called Claiming tuition fees, education amounts, and textbook amounts, part of the Canadian Students and Income Tax video.

With me is Sandra Moore. Welcome Sandra.

Subject matter expert: Thank you Janice.

Host: What is the tuition, education, and textbook amounts deduction?

Subject matter expert: This deduction for tuition, education, and textbook amounts allows students to reduce their income taxes by taking into account eligible tuition fees and the education and textbook amounts they paid.

Host: What are the rules for claiming tuition fees?

Subject matter expert: You can claim only the fees paid for courses you took in the year. To qualify, the fees you paid to each institution must be at least $100 for the year. Claims must be based on fees for a period during the calendar year, not the academic year.

Host: So, I'm taking courses at a post-secondary institution in Canada; can I claim my tuition fees?

Subject matter expert: You can claim tuition fees paid to a university, college, or other educational institution in Canada if you are taking courses at the post-secondary school level.

Host: What if I live in Canada near the Canada and United States border and commute to a post-secondary institution in the United States?

Subject matter expert: If you lived in Canada near the border throughout the year, and commuted to a school, in the United States, you can claim eligible tuition fees.

Host: What about if I attend a university outside of Canada?

Subject matter expert: If you were in full-time attendance at a university outside of Canada, for courses that are at least 3 consecutive weeks long that will lead to a degree at the bachelor level or higher, you can claim eligible tuition fees.

Host: I'm taking a course to improve my occupational skills. Can these tuition fees be deducted as well?

Subject matter expert: If you're at least 16 years old by the end of the year and attended an educational institution in Canada certified by Employment and Social Development Canada to develop or improve occupational skills, then you can deduct these tuition fees.

Host: Can you give us an idea of some of the fees that are included in the tuition fee deduction?

Subject matter expert: There are several, Janice. Some of the basic ones are:

  • admission fees;
  • charges for using library or laboratory facilities;
  • examination fees;
  • application fees;
  • charges for a certificate, diploma, or degree;
  • mandatory computer service fees; and
  • academic fees.

Eligible fees also include the cost of any books that make up the total fees for a correspondence course taken through a post- secondary educational institution in Canada.

This is not a complete list. For more information go to the CRA webpage on eligible tuition fees. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Are there any tuition fees that cannot be claimed?

Subject matter expert: Yes. You cannot claim fees that were paid or reimbursed by your employer, or an employer of one of your parents, where the amount is not included in your or your parent's income.

Also, you cannot claim fees paid by a federal, provincial, or territorial job training program, or fees paid or eligible to be paid under a federal program to help athletes, where the payments or reimbursements have not been included in your income.

Host: Are there any other fees that cannot be claimed?

Subject matter expert: Yes there are. You cannot claim student's association fees, medical expenses, transportation, parking, meals and lodging.

You cannot claim goods of lasting value that you will keep, such as computers, microscopes, uniforms, or academic gowns.

You cannot claim initiation or entrance fees to a professional organization.

And just as I said, you cannot claim the cost of books other than books that are included in the total fees for a correspondence course. However, you might be able to claim the textbook amount.

Host: How do I know if I am qualified for the education amount?

Subject matter expert: You can claim a full-time education amount for each whole or part month in the year that you were enrolled in a qualifying educational program at a designated institution and any of the following situations apply.

  • you were enrolled full time;
  • you attended only part-time and you can claim the disability amount; or
  • you attended only part-time because you had a mental or physical impairment, certified in a letter, by a medical doctor, optometrist, audiologist, occupational therapist, psychologist, physiotherapist, or speech language pathologist, but you do not qualify for the disability amount.

Host: You mentioned a qualifying educational program; what is that?

Subject matter expert: It's a program that lasts at least 3 consecutive weeks and involves at least 10 hours of instruction or work in the program each week. This does not include study time. Instruction or work includes lectures, practical training, and laboratory work. It also includes research time spent on a post-graduate thesis.

Host: Is there a part-time amount I can claim?

Subject matter expert: Yes Janice, there is. You can claim a part-time education amount for each whole or part month in the year that you were enrolled in a specified education program at a designated educational institution.

Host: Can you tell me what a specified education program is?

Subject matter expert: A specified educational program lasts at least 3 consecutive weeks and requires that you spend at least 12 hours in the month on courses in the program.

Host: So if I'm registered for a full-time course as well as a part-time course can I claim both?

Subject matter expert: No. You can claim only one education amount for each month, either the full-time amount or the part-time amount.

Host: Can I claim the education amount if I'm receiving a regular salary while attending school to upgrade my skills for my job?

Subject matter expert: Yes. You can claim the education amount if you've received a salary or wages while taking a course related to your job.

Host: Are there any circumstances where I can't claim an education amount?

Subject matter expert: Generally, you can't claim the education amount if you received a grant from an employer or were reimbursed for the cost of your courses by your employer; received a benefit as part of a program; or received an allowance for a program, such as a training allowance.

Host: What if I enrolled and paid for my course last year but I didn't actually take the course until this year? In what year should I make a claim for this deduction?

Subject matter expert: You claim your eligible tuition, education, and textbook amounts based on the calendar year you took the course, not the year the fees were paid.

Host: You just mentioned a textbook amount; how do I claim that?

Subject matter expert: You can only claim this amount if you are entitled to claim the education amount.

You can claim a specified amount for each month you qualify for, for the full-time or part-time education amount.

Host: Can someone else claim my tuition, education and textbook amounts if they paid for them?

Subject matter expert: No. You have to claim your tuition, education and textbook amounts first on your own return, even if someone else paid for your fees. However, you can transfer all or some of the unused part of these amounts.

Host: Who can I transfer them to?

Subject matter expert: You may be able to transfer these amounts to your spouse or common-law partner, who would claim it on line 326 of their Schedule 1, or to your or your spouse or common-law partner's parent or grandparent (who would claim it on line 324 of their return). The maximum amount you can transfer in a year is $5,000 minus the amount you use, even if there is an unused tuition, education, and textbook amount remaining.

Host: So, if there is an amount left over after I transfer the amount I am allowed, do I lose it as a deduction?

Subject matter expert: No, you can carry forward and claim in a future year the part of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts you can't use, and don't transfer for the year. However, if you carry forward an amount, you will not be able to transfer it to anyone. You have to claim your carry-forward amount in the first year that you have to pay income tax.

Host: Okay, so now I understand that I can transfer some of my credits. How do I do that?

Subject matter expert: To transfer your credits, you have to fill out the appropriate form. The most common one is Form T2202A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate. You can find the form on the CRA webpage on tuition, education, and textbook amounts.

Also, you need to complete Schedule 11 to calculate your federal transfer and, if it applies, the amount you are carrying forward. Depending on your province or territory of residence, you may have to complete Schedule S11 to calculate your provincial or territorial transfer or carry-forward amounts. Remember to attach these schedules to your return.

For more information on this topic, see Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C1, Education and Textbook Tax Credits, and Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C2, Tuition Tax Credit.

For more information on transferring the education, tuition and textbook amounts, go to the CRA webpage on that topic. The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Thank you Sandra.

This concludes our segment called Claiming tuition fees, education and textbook amounts, part of the CRA's Canadian Students and Income Tax video. Thank you for watching.

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