Do I have to file? - Segment 2


Host: Welcome to the segment called Do I have to file?, part of the Canadian Students and Income Tax video.

With me is Sandra Moore. Welcome Sandra.

Subject matter expert: Thank you Janice.

Host: Why does the CRA have a video geared specifically to Canadian students, don't they file the same way as other Canadians?

Subject matter expert: Yes Janice, they do, but there are several tax issues that may be especially relevant to Canadian students. These issues may not be as relevant to other taxpayers.

Host: If I'm an international student studying in Canada, will this video help me file my return as well?

Subject matter expert: This video is geared primarily to Canadian students. Although there are many tax-related issues that are common to both Canadian and international students, others are unique to each.

To get tax information specifically for international students, go to the CRA webpage on international students in Canada. The link is included in the Related links for this video.

Host: For students who are new to Canada's tax system or may have never filed an income tax and benefit return, let's quickly explain why we pay taxes.

Subject matter expert: Many of the benefits Canadians enjoy are made possible through taxes. Canada's tax system pays for roads, public utilities, education, health care, economic development, cultural activities, defence and law enforcement among other things.

Tax revenue is used to deliver benefits to lower income families, charities, students, retirees and persons with disabilities.

Tax revenue also provides social services such as old age security benefits, employment insurance benefits, the Canada child tax benefit, the working income tax benefit and the universal child care benefit.

Host: As a student, do I have to file an income tax return?

Subject matter expert: It depends on your situation. You must file a return in any of the following circumstances:

  • you have to pay tax for the year;
  • the CRA sent you a request to file;
  • you have to repay any of your employment insurance benefits;
  • you are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings;
  • you have not repaid all amounts withdrawn from your registered retirement savings plan under the lifelong learning plan; or
  • if you received the advance payments of the working income tax benefit and you want to apply for an advance payment for the following year.

Other situations can also apply. To get a more detailed list of when a return has to be filed, go to the CRA's webpage Do you have to file a return? The link is included in the Related links for this segment.

Host: Okay, so is there any benefit for students to file an income tax and benefit return in cases where they're not required to do so?

Subject matter expert: Yes, in some cases there is. For example: you need to file a return if you want to claim a refund; apply for the GST/HST credit or any related provincial credit; or if you, your spouse or common-law partner want to receive Canada child tax benefit payments.

You may also want to carry forward or transfer the unused part of your tuition, education and textbook amounts, report income for which you could contribute to an RRSP, or claim the working income tax benefit.

Host: Okay, so I've looked over the reasons for filing and I've decided that I have to file a return. How do I get started?

Subject matter expert: In cases where you don't already have a social insurance number, also called the SIN, the first step is to get one. The SIN is a nine digit identification number that is issued to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Under some circumstances a temporary SIN may be issued. Both the SIN and the temporary SIN are issued by Service Canada.

For more information on getting a SIN, visit the Service Canada website at or call 1-800-206-7218.

Host: Thank you Sandra.

This concludes the segment called Do I have to file?, part of the CRA's Canadian Students and Income Tax video. Thank you for watching.

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