P105 – Students and income tax
P105(E) Rev. 01/21
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La version française de ce guide est intitulée Les étudiants et l’impôt.
Unless otherwise stated, all legislative references are to the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations.
Is this guide for you?
If you were a student in 2020, this guide will give you helpful information about filing your 2020 Income Tax and Benefit Return.
If you are in Canada as an international student, go to Taxes for International students studying in Canada or refer to our contact information at the end of this guide.
If you were a student who was enrolled at a foreign university, college, or other post-secondary educational institution outside Canada, see Information Sheet RC192, Information for Students – Educational Institutions Outside Canada.
If you are a student with a disability, go to Tax credits and deductions for persons with disabilities or see Guide RC4064, Disability Related Information. That guide has information about services and programs that may benefit you, and deductions and credits that may apply to you.
The terms spouse and common-law partner, used throughout this guide, are defined in the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
COVID-19 emergency benefits
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Student Benefit, and other similar federal and provincial payments are generally taxable. Follow the instructions on the tax slip(s) you receive for these payments. You can also get your tax slip(s) in My Account for Individuals.
For more information, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
Canada training credit
The Canada training credit (CTC) is a new refundable tax credit to help Canadians with the cost of eligible training fees.
For more information, go to Canada Training Credit.
Provincial tuition tax credits
Alberta has eliminated its tuition and education amounts for years after 2019.
Students who have unused tuition and education tax credits from 2019 and prior tax years, will still be able to claim them in 2020 or carry them forward to future tax years.
Individuals who move to Alberta from other provinces or territories after December 31, 2019, will no longer be able to claim their accumulated tuition and education tax credits in Alberta.
Table of contents
- Chapter 1 – Before you start
- Chapter 2 – Filing your return
- Tax preparation services
- Auto-fill my return
- What date is your return due?
- What documents do you include with your return?
- What records do you keep?
- What if you are missing information?
- When can you expect your refund?
- How to change a return?
- Need help doing your taxes?
- Understanding taxes
- Chapter 3 - Types of income you may have
- Scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and study grants (awards)
- Artists' project grants
- Apprenticeship grants
- Research grants
- Registered education savings plan (RESP)
- Chapter 4 – Common deductions from income
- Chapter 5 – Non-refundable tax credits
- Chapter 6 – Transfer or carry forward amount
- Chapter 7 – Refundable tax credits
- Online services
- For more information
- What if you need help?
- Direct deposit
- Forms and publications
- Electronic mailing lists
- Tax Information Phone Services (TIPS)
- Teletypewriter (TTY) users
- Complaints and disputes
- Due dates
- Cancel or waive penalties or interest
Your educational institution uses the following definitions when preparing your tax certificate. If you have any questions regarding the information provided on the tax certificate you received, contact your educational institution directly. If you would like more technical information about the credits and deductions referred to in this guide, see References for a list of related publications.
Designated educational institution
Designated educational institutions include the following:
- Canadian universities, colleges, and certain other educational institutions
- Canadian educational institutions certified by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) providing courses that develop or improve skills in an occupation, other than courses designed for university credit
- universities outside Canada where the qualifying student is enrolled in a course that lasts at least three consecutive weeks and leads to a degree at the bachelor level or higher
- universities, colleges, or other educational institutions in the United States that give courses at the post-secondary school level if the qualifying student is living in Canada (near the border) throughout the year and commutes to that institution
Students are ordinarily accepted as being in full-time enrolment if the university regards them as such. A student is considered a full-time student when they regularly attend a college, university, or other educational institution that offers courses at a
post-secondary school level.
Full-time attendance begins at the start of each academic period. This period is usually from September to April.
A student is also considered a full-time student if they were enrolled in a qualifying educational program and one of the following situations apply:
- The student attended only part-time and is eligible for the disability tax credit for the year
- The student attended only part-time because they had a mental or physical impairment certified in a letter by a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, optometrist, audiologist, occupational therapist, psychologist, physiotherapist, or speech language pathologist, but the student is not eligible for the disability tax credit. The educational institution is certifying that the student, although enrolled on a part-time basis, is taking courses from a qualifying educational program
The student is not considered to be in full-time attendance at a university outside of Canada if they are taking courses by correspondence (which includes courses where assignments are submitted electronically).
If the student is taking courses online, they will be considered to be in full-time attendance only if the program requires the student to be in virtual attendance, on a full-time basis, for classes and other course related activities.
Guidelines to determine if a student is considered a part-time student include the following:
- the student is enrolled in a specified educational program
- evening classes are taken
- courses are taken only by correspondence
- the student attends classes during the day, however, the student is carrying a minor course load while at the same time devoting the majority of their time to other activities such as employment
Post-secondary school level
Generally, in Canada, for a course to be considered to be at the post-secondary school level:
- the course should provide credit towards a degree, diploma or certificate
- the course would normally require the completion of secondary school as a prerequisite for taking the course
It is generally assumed that a course is at the post-secondary school level if the education ministry for the province in which the course is given considers it to be at that level.
A qualifying educational program is a program that lasts at least three consecutive weeks and requires a minimum of 10 hours of instruction or work in the program each week (not including study time), at an educational institution that is:
- a Canadian university, college, and certain other educational institution
- a university outside Canada where the qualifying student is enrolled in a course that lasts at least three consecutive weeks and leads to a degree at the bachelor level or higher
- a university, college, or other educational institution in the United States that give courses at the postsecondary school level, if the qualifying student is living in Canada (near the border) throughout the year and commutes to that institution
The 10 hours spent on instruction or work includes lectures, practical training, and laboratory work. It also includes research time spent on a graduate or post-graduate thesis.
An individual undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship is not considered to be enrolled in a qualifying educational program.
A qualifying student is an individual who meets all of the following requirements:
- In the month, is enrolled in either:
- a qualifying educational program as a full-time student at a designated educational institution
- a specified educational program at a designated educational institution that requires the student to spend 12 hours or more in the month on program courses
- If requested by the Minister, provides a certificate containing prescribed information from their educational institution as proof of enrolment. See section Tuition amount for the list of authorized certificates
- Is at least 16 years old by the end of the year if they are enrolled in one of the following programs to obtain or improve their skills in an occupation:
- a program (other than a program at a postsecondary school level) at a designated educational institution that is a Canadian university, college, other educational institution
- a program at an educational institution certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada to provide courses (other than courses designed for university credit) to obtain or improve a person’s skills in an occupation
- Is enrolled in a program at the post-secondary level if living near the border of the United States and commuting to a designated educational institution in the United States
Specified educational program
This is a program that lasts at least three consecutive weeks and would be a qualifying educational program if the hours per week time commitment were met, as described in the definition of a qualifying educational program.
Instruction or work includes lectures, practical training, and laboratory work. It also includes research time spent on a graduate or post graduate thesis.
For more information, go to Canada Revenue Agency, or see Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C1, Qualifying Student and the Education and Textbook Tax Credits.
Chapter 1 - Before you start
Do you have to file a return?
As a student, you must file a return if any of the following situations apply:
- you have to pay tax for the year
- you have not repaid all amounts withdrawn from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) under the lifelong learning plan. For more information, see Guide RC4112, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)
- you have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if, for 2020, the total of your pensionable employment income and net self-employment income is more than $3,500. For more information, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide
- you received Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) advance payments in 2020, or you want to apply for (CWB) advance payments for 2021
Even if none of these requirements apply, you may want to file a return if:
- you want to claim a refund
- you want the CRA to determine if you are eligible for the good and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, including any related provincial or territorial payments. For example, you may be eligible if you turn 19 before April 2022
- you or your spouse or common-law partner want to start or continue receiving Canada child benefit (CCB), including related provincial or territorial payments
- you want to transfer the unused part of your current years federal tuition amount, or you want to carry forward and claim in a future year the part of your unused current year’s tuition amount (that you did not transfer) and your unused tuition, education and textbook amounts carry forward balance from prior years, that you cannot use for the year. For more information, see Transfer the current year's amount
- you want to report income for which you could contribute to an RRSP, in order to keep your RRSP deduction limit for future years up to date
- you want to report income to increase your Canada training credit (CTC) limit for future years
For a complete list detailing when you have to file a return, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
Which income tax package should you use?
Generally, you have to use the income tax package for the province or territory where you resided on December 31. If you were living in a province or territory other than the one you usually reside in, use the income tax package for your usual province or territory of residence. For example, if you usually reside in Ontario, but you were going to school in Alberta, you would use the income tax package for Ontario.
If you resided in Quebec on December 31, use the income tax package for residents of Quebec to calculate your federal tax only. You will also need to file a provincial income tax return for Quebec.
How to get the tax guide and forms you need?
If you are filing electronically, use your tax preparation software or web application to select the province or territory where you resided on December 31.
You can get a guide, an income tax package for your province or territory, and most of our publications, by going to Forms and publications.
Social insurance number (SIN)
Before you file your return, you need a SIN. The CRA uses your SIN to identify you for income tax purposes and to update your record of earnings for your contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).
You have to give your SIN to anyone who prepares information slips (such as a T4 slip or T2202, Tuition and Enrollment Certificate) for you. Check your slips. If your SIN is missing or is incorrect, advise the slip preparer.
An individual who does not have a SIN has 15 days from the date of an information request to apply for a SIN at any Service Canada centre. Application forms and instructions are available at Employment and Social Development Canada. After receiving a SIN, an individual has 15 days to provide it to the person who is preparing an information return.
If you do not have a SIN, contact Service Canada to see if you are eligible for one.
For more information about the SIN, visit Service Canada.
You can authorize a representative such as a family member, your spouse or common-law partner, a tax preparer, or an accountant to deal with the CRA on your behalf. When you give the CRA consent to deal with a representative, either through My Account for Individuals or in writing, you are letting that person represent you for income tax matters, at the level of authorization you specify for the tax year, or years.
Your consent will stay in effect until you cancel it, your consent reaches the expiry date you choose, or when the CRA is notified of your death. Your representative may request by telephone or in writing that the consent you have given them be cancelled.
For more information, go to Representative authorization, or call 1-800-959-8281.
What should you do if you move?
If you move, let the CRA know your new address as soon as possible. You can update your address online, by phone or by mail. For more information about updating your address, go to You’re moving? Tell the CRA.
Chapter 2 – Filing your return
You can file your return through a service provider using EFILE, you can file it yourself online by using NETFILE, using the Auto‑fill my return service, or you can file a paper return.
You can file your return using an approved tax preparation service provider or discounter.
The tax preparer will fill out your return and send it to the CRA electronically.
You can file your return online if you prepare your return with tax preparation software or a web application. Most individuals are eligible to file online. For more information, or to file your return, go to File your taxes online: Understand NETFILE.
Auto‑fill my return
Auto-fill my return is a secure CRA service that allows individuals and authorized representatives using certified software, to automatically fill in certain parts of your Income Tax and Benefit Return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing the return.
What date is your return due?
Generally, your return for the tax year has to be filed on or before April 30 of the following year.
When a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday recognized by the CRA, your return is considered on time if the CRA receives it or if it is postmarked on the next business day.
If you file your return after the due date, your benefit and credit payments (including those payments from certain related provincial or territorial programs) may be delayed. In addition, you may have to pay a late-filing penalty and interest charge on the tax you owe. For more information, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
What documents do you include with your return?
If you are filing your return electronically, keep all receipts and documents in case the CRA ask to see them later. If you are filing a paper return, the information in your paper return will tell you which supporting documents need to be attached, such as certificates, forms, schedules, or receipts. Keep all receipts and documents for at least six years after you file your return as the CRA may request a review.
You should keep a copy of your return, the related notice of assessment, and any notice of reassessment. These can help you complete your return for the next year. For example, your notice of assessment or reassessment includes your unused tuition, education, and textbook amounts carried forward from prior years. To view your notice of assessment or reassessment online, go to My Account for Individuals and log in to My Account.
If you are filing your return electronically, keep all related documentation. If you are filing a paper return, include one copy of each of your information slips. These slips show the amount of income that was paid to you during the year and the deductions that were withheld from that income. Notes on each slip tell you where to report the income on your return.
Some common information slips are:
- T4 slips, which show employment income and payroll deductions
- T4A slips, which show scholarship, fellowship, and bursary income, or payments from a registered education savings plan
- T5 slips, which show investment income such as interest from bank accounts or from Canada Savings Bonds
If you are filing electronically, keep your receipts. If you are filing a paper return, include your receipts for the amounts you are claiming.
If you are filing electronically, keep all your documents. For example, if you are filing a paper return, attach your completed Schedule 11 but do not send your other documents for the amount claimed on Schedule 11.
What if you are missing information?
If you have to file a return, make sure you file it on time even if some slips or receipts are missing. You are responsible for reporting your income from all sources to avoid possible interest and penalties that may be charged. If you know that you will not be able to get a slip by the due date, include a note with your return stating the payer's name and address, the type of income involved, and what you are doing to get the slip. Use any stubs you may have to calculate the income to report and any related deductions and credits you can claim. Enter the estimated amounts on the appropriate lines of your return. Attach the stubs if you are filing a paper return. If you are filing electronically, keep all of your documents in case we ask to see them.
You can also view tax information slips online for the current year as well as for the last 10 years through My Account. To log in or register, go to My Account for Individuals.
To get a missing slip or receipt, contact the person who should have sent it to you. For example, if you are missing a T4 slip, contact your employer.
When can you expect your refund?
It is the CRA’s goal to issue a notice of assessment, including any applicable refund, within:
- two weeks of receiving your electronically filed return
- eight weeks of receiving your paper filed return
These timelines are only valid for returns received on or before their filing due dates.
In all cases, wait eight weeks from the time you file your return to call the CRA for an update on the receipt of your return or status of your refund.
To confirm receipt of your return or status of your refund, you can:
- go to My Account for Individuals
- go to Mobile Apps - Canada Revenue Agency and select "MyCRA"
- use the Telerefund, part of the CRA’s Tax Information Phone Services. For more information, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide
If you have an outstanding government debt, such as a Canada Student Loan or a training allowance overpayment, some or all of your refund may be applied against your debt.
You can request a change to your Income Tax and Benefit Return by amending specific line(s) using one of the following:
- Online – You can make an online T1 adjustment with Change my Return service in My Account or using ReFILE service in EFILE and NETFILE.
- By mail – Send a completed Form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request, and all supporting documents to your tax centre.
For more information, go to How to change a return.
If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers can complete your tax return for free through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program or, in Quebec, the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.
To find out if you qualify for these services and to find a tax clinic near you, go to Free tax clinics or call the CRA
If you want to volunteer with this program, go to Volunteer to do taxes for people in your community.
Understanding Taxes is a free online course that:
- explains Canada’s tax system
- explains why you pay taxes and how these taxes are used
- teaches you how to do a simple tax return
To learn more, go to Understanding taxes.
Chapter 3 - Types of income you may have
Most income you receive is taxable and you have to include it on your return.
The most common types of income you may receive as a student include:
- employment income
- tips and occasional earnings
- investment income
- registered education savings plan payments
- scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and study grants, including:
- apprenticeship grants
- research grants
- artists' project grants
You do not have to include the following as income:
- your GST/HST credit, or related provincial or territorial program payments
- Canada child benefit payments, or related provincial or territorial program payments
- scholarships or bursaries eligible for the scolarship exemption
- lottery winnings
- most gifts and inheritances
The following section includes information on some of these types of income. For more information on these or other types of income, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
Scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and study grants (awards)
Elementary and secondary school scholarships and bursaries are not taxable.
A post-secondary program that consists mainly of research is eligible for the scholarship exemption, only if it leads to a college or CEGEP diploma, or a bachelor, masters or doctoral degree (or an equivalent degree). Post-doctoral fellowships are taxable.
To claim a scholarship exemption, you must be enrolled in an educational program in which you are a qualifying student in 2019, 2020 or 2021.
Post-secondary school scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries are not taxable if you received them in 2020 for your enrolment in a program if you are considered a full-time qualifying student for 2019, 2020 or 2021.
The scholarship exemption will be limited to the extent that the award was intended to support the student's enrolment in the program. To determine what portion of your award was intended to support your enrolment, you should consider such factors as:
- the duration of the program
- any terms and conditions that apply to the award
- the period for which support is intended to be provided by the award
If you have received a scholarship, fellowship, or bursary related to a part-time program for which you are a part-time qualifying student for 2019, 2020 or 2021, the scholarship exemption is equal to the tuition paid plus the costs of program-related materials.
To calculate your scholarship exemption, see the Chart to calculate the portion of the award that must be included in income.
If you received an artists’ project grant, whether separately from or in addition to other scholarship income, that you used in producing a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work (other than a grant received for work completed as part of a business or employment), you may claim the scholarship exemption to reduce the total amount that must be included in your income as scholarship income (including artists’ project grants). The amount of exemption is the total of reasonable expenses you incurred in the year to fulfill the conditions of receiving each art production grant up to a maximum of, but not exceeding, the total amount of each grant that you received and included in calculating your income.
When determining your expenses, you cannot claim:
- personal living expenses while at your usual place of residence
- expenses for which you can be reimbursed, or
- expenses that are otherwise deductible when you calculate your income for the year
For more information, see Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3, Scholarships, Research Grants and Other Education Assistance.
If you are not a qualifying student (see the definition) and you have received an award that is not an artists’ project grant, you can reduce the amount you received by the $500 basic scholarship exemption, and put the remaining balance on line 13000 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return. The exemption is limited to the lesser of $500 or the amount you actually received.
Scholarship exemption calculation
You have to include in your income for the year the total of all your awards (including artists’ project grants) that is greater than your scholarship exemption as determined below.
The scholarship exemption is calculated by adding all of the following:
- the total of all awards you received that are related to a program of study, where you are a qualifying student and enrolled on a full-time basis
- the lesser of the awards received and the total of the tuition fees paid and costs incurred for program-related materials for a program of study, where you are a qualifying student and enrolled on a part-time basis, refer to the Chart to calculate the portion of the award that must be included in income
- the total of all amounts, where each amount is the lesser of each artists’ project grant you received and the expenses associated with that grant (other than the ineligible expenses described above)
- the lesser of $500 and the total of all awards that you received (including artists’ project grants) that exceeds the amounts described in the first three bullets added together
Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses.
If you received either of the following apprenticeship grants in the year, report the income shown in box 105 of your T4A slip on line 13000 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
This grant helps registered apprentices in designated Red Seal trades get started. This is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year per level, up to a maximum of $2,000.
This grant helps registered apprentices who have completed their training become certified journeypersons in designated Red Seal trades. This is a taxable cash grant of $2,000.
For more information about these grants, visit Employment and Social Development Canada and select "Funding programs" and then "Apprenticeship Incentive Grants".
Depending on your employment arrangement, apprentices may also be eligible to deduct the cost of their tools, as well as claim a GST/HST rebate. For more information, see Guide T4044, Employment Expenses.
Subtract your expenses from the grant you received and report the net amount on line 10400 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return. Your expenses cannot be more than your grant.
Attach a list of your expenses to your paper return.
Expenses you can deduct must have been necessary to carry out the research project. These expenses include:
- travelling expenses, including all amounts for meals and lodging while away from home in the course of your research work
- fees paid to assistants
- the cost of equipment, and laboratory fees and charges
Expenses you cannot deduct include:
- personal and living expenses (other than the travelling expenses mentioned above)
- expenses that have been reimbursed, except when the amount reimbursed is included in the grant received
- expenses that are otherwise deductible when you calculate your income for the year
- expenses that are unreasonable under the circumstances
- expenses paid for you by a university, hospital, or similar institution
For more information, see Income Tax Folio S1-F2-C3, Scholarships, Research Grants and Other Education Assistance.
Registered education savings plan (RESP)
If you received educational assistance payments (EAPs), such as interest income earned in an RESP, report the total amount you received on line 13000 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return. The amount you received is shown in box 040 or 042 of your T4A slip. A beneficiary is entitled to receive EAPs for up to six months after ceasing enrolment, provided that the payments would have qualified as EAPs if the payments had been made immediately before the student's enrolment ceased. For more information, see Guide RC4092, Registered Education Savings Plans.
If you are enrolled on a full-time basis at a university outside Canada, the minimum time period for enrolment is three consecutive weeks for EAP purposes. This measure does not apply to students enrolled on a part-time basis or at an educational institution other than a university.
Chapter 4 – Common deductions from income
The most common deductions that apply to students are moving expenses and child care expenses. For more information on other types of deductions, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
If the form you received from your educational institution has an amount in box C (full-time enrolment), you qualify to claim moving expenses if you move for one of the following reasons.
These expenses can only be deducted from the taxable part of your scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants. You can claim moving expenses that you incur at the start of each academic period or when you move back after a summer break.
This includes summer employment or if you run a business. These moving expenses must be deducted from employment or self-employment income you earned at the new location. You can also claim these expenses if you move to go back to university, college, or another educational institution after a work semester as a co-operative student. You cannot claim these expenses if they were paid by your employer.
In both cases above, your new home must be at least 40 kilometres closer to the educational institution or new place of work.
For the purpose of moving expenses, correspondence courses are not included.
If your eligible moving expenses are more than the taxable portion of the scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants that you received and reported on your return for the year, you can carry forward the unused portion and deduct it from the taxable portion of the scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants you receive and report for the following years.
In addition, if you pay expenses after the year of your move, you may be able to claim them on your return for the year you pay them. You may carry forward unused amounts until you have enough eligible income to claim them.
For a list of allowable moving expenses and the instructions for claiming them, see Form T1-M, Moving Expenses Deduction.
Child care expenses
You or your spouse or common-law partner may have paid for someone to look after your child so one of you could earn income, go to school, or conduct research. The expenses are deductible only if, at some time in the year, the child was under 16 or had a mental or physical impairment.
Generally, only the spouse or common-law partner with the lower net income (even if it is zero) can claim these expenses. However, the individual with the higher net income may still be able to claim the child care expenses if their spouse or common-law partner was enrolled in an educational program or if another specific situation applied. For more information on other situations or to make your claim, see Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction.
Chapter 5 – Non-refundable tax credits
Federal non-refundable tax credits reduce your federal tax up to the amount of tax owing. They are called non-refundable tax credits because you can only use them to reduce your tax payable to zero. You cannot get a refund for these tax credits.
All federal non-refundable tax credits are reported on your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
The most common federal non-refundable tax credits that apply to students are:
- Canada employment amount (line 31260)
- interest paid on student loans (line 31900)
- tuition, education, and textbook amounts (line 32300)
The federal education and textbook tax credits were eliminated in 2017. This measure did not eliminate the tuition tax credit, and it does not affect the ability to carry forward unused education and textbook tax credit amounts from years prior to 2017 to be claimed on line 32300 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
The federal non-refundable tax credits are calculated by multiplying the total dollar amount by the lowest personal tax rate percentage, which is currently 15%.
Residents of all provinces and territories, except Quebec, calculate their provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credits on Form 428.
The rules for claiming provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credits are the same as for federal non-refundable tax credits. However, the value and calculation of the credits are different from the corresponding federal credits. For more information, see Chapter 6 – Transfer or carry forward amount.
Canada employment amount
If you were an employee in 2020, you can claim an employment amount on line 31260 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
Claim the lesser of:
- the total of the employment income you reported on line 10100 and line 10400 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return
Interest paid on your student loan
If you received a loan under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, the Apprentice Loans Act, or similar provincial or territorial government laws for post-secondary education, only you can claim, on line 31900 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return, the interest that you, or a person related to you, paid on that loan during 2020 or, starting from the oldest year first, the carry forward amounts from the last five years.
You cannot transfer this amount to another person. You can only claim this amount if you have not claimed it before. The interest claimed must only be interest on the student loan and not on any other type of loan, or paid on a student loan that has been combined with any other loan. If you renegotiated your student loan with a bank or another financial institution, or included it in an arrangement to consolidate your loans, you cannot claim this interest amount. In addition, you cannot claim interest paid for a judgment obtained after you failed to pay back a student loan.
If you do not have to pay taxes for the year the interest is paid, it is to your advantage not to claim the interest on your return for that year. You can carry the interest forward and use it to reduce any tax you owe on any of your returns you will file for the next five years, as long as the same amount has not been claimed more than once.
To claim your tuition fees you must have received one of the following forms from your educational institution.
- T2202, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate
- Form TL11A, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – University Outside Canada
- Form TL11C, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – Commuter to the United States
- Form TL11D,Tuition Fees Certificate – Educational Institutions Outside Canada for a Deemed Resident of Canada
Contact your educational institution if you have not received one of these forms.
To claim your tuition fees, you may instead receive an official tax receipt from your educational institution to reflect the amount of eligible tuition fees you have paid for a calendar year.
Fill out federal Schedule 11 to calculate your eligible tuition, education, and textbook amount, the tuition amount you can transfer to a designate individual, and any unused amounts you can carry forward to a future year.
The eligible tuition fees should be based on the calendar year the course was taken and not the year the fees were paid.
You also may need to fill out a provincial or territorial Schedule (S11), unless you lived in Quebec. Attach the applicable schedules to your return.
Eligible tuition fees
Generally, a course taken in 2020 at an educational institution in Canada will qualify for a tuition tax credit if it was either:
- taken at a post-secondary educational institution
- for individuals 16 years of age or older at the end of the year who are developing or improving skills in an occupation and the educational institution has been certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Fees paid by an individual to a post-secondary educational institution in Canada (that provides courses at a post-secondary level) or, fees paid by a deemed resident of Canada, to a post-secondary educational institution outside Canada (that provides courses at a post-secondary level), for courses that are not at the post-secondary school level are eligible for the tuition tax credit if the following conditions are met:
- the individual is 16 years of ageor older before the end of the year
- the individual is enrolled in the educational institution to obtain skills for, or improve their skills in, an occupation
If an individual is a qualifying student who receives a scholarship for an occupational skills course, the individual may be eligible to claim a scholarship exemption.
The official tax receipt or form you received from your educational institution will indicate the amount of eligible tuition fees that you paid for that calendar year. To qualify, the fees you paid to attend each educational institution must be more than $100. For example, if you attended two educational institutions in the year, the amount on each of your tax certificates must be more
Report the total eligible tuition fees paid to Canadian educational institutions on line 2 and eligible tuition fees paid to foreign educational institutions on line 7 of Schedule 11.
Eligible tuition fees include the following amounts:
- admission fees
- charges for use of library or laboratory facilities
- exemption fees
- examination fees (including re-reading charges) that are integral to a program of study
- application fees (but only if the student subsequently enrolls in the institution)
- confirmation fees
- charges for a certificate, diploma or degree
- membership or seminar fees that are specifically related to an academic program and its administration
- mandatory computer service fees
- academic fees
Examination fees for licensing or certification
Examination fees paid to an educational institution, professional association, provincial ministry or other similar institution, to take an occupational, trade or professional examination that is required to obtain a professional status recognized by federal or provincial statute, or to be licensed or certified as a tradesperson, to allow the student to practice the profession or trade in Canada, may be eligible for the tuition tax credit.
Ancillary fees or charges exceeding $250 and paid in respect of an occupational, trade, or professional examination are not eligible tuition fees unless they are required to be paid by all individuals taking the examination.
You should be provided with a receipt to substantiate your eligible exam fees. The receipt should contain certain information as detailed below:
NAME OF INSTITUTION: ____________________
IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED:
THAT the following examination ____________________ was taken by ___________________ on ____________________
THAT, out of the total fees paid for the examination, the sum of ____________________ constitutes the amount of eligible fees paid for purposes of paragraph 118.5(1)(d) of the Income Tax Act
THAT the examination is required to obtain a professional status recognized by federal or provincial statute or to be licensed or certified as a tradesperson where that status, license or certification allows the person to practice the profession or trade in Canada
THAT no part of the above amount was levied for travel, parking, equipment of enduring value, or any charges other than examination fees and ancillary fees (for example, ancillary fees may include the cost of examination materials used during the examination, such as identification cards and certain prerequisite study materials)
Signature of authorized officer: __________________________________________
Amounts that are not eligible tuition fees
Eligible tuition fees do not include the following amounts:
- extracurricular student social activities
- medical expenses
- transportation and parking
- board and lodging
- goods of enduring value that are to be retained by students (such as a microscope, uniform, gown, or computer)
- initiation fees or entrance fees to professional organizations including examination fees or other fees (such as evaluation fees) that are not integral to a program of study at an eligible educational institution
- administrative penalties incurred when a student withdraws from a program or an institution
- the cost of books (other than books, compact disks or similar material included in the cost of a correspondence course when the student is enrolled in such a course given by an eligible educational institution in Canada)
- courses taken for purposes of academic upgrading to allow entry into a university or college program. These courses would usually not qualify for the tuition tax credit as they are not considered to be at the post-secondary school level
Certain ancillary fees and charges, such as health services fees and athletic fees, may also be eligible tuition fees. However, such fees and charges are limited to $250 unless the fees are required to be paid by all full-time students or by all part-time students.
Contact us if you are not sure if you can claim your fees.
The federal education and textbook tax credits were eliminated in 2017. To see if you are eligible to claim a provincial or territorial education amount, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
Chapter 6 – Transfer or carry forward amount
You have to first claim your current year's eligible tuition fees and any unused tuition, education, and textbook amounts carried forward from previous years on your Income Tax and Benefit Return, even if someone else paid your fees. The amount you must use on your own tax return is equal to the amount of credit required to reduce the taxes you owe. The calculation for this amount is included on Schedule 11.
Even if you have no tax to pay and you are transferring all or part of your current year’s federal tuition fees, or applicable provincial and territorial tuition, education and textbook amounts, file your return and a filled out Schedule 11 so the CRA can update its records with your unused amounts (if any), available to carry forward to other years.
If you are transferring an amount to a designated individual, only transfer the amount to the extent this person can use. This way, you can carry forward as much as possible to use in a future year.
You may transfer a maximum of $5,000 of the current year’s federal tuition amount, and where available, the applicable maximum for provincial and territorial tuition, education and textbook amounts, minus the amount you used to reduce your tax owing as calculated on Schedule 11. You can transfer all or part to your spouse or common-law partner, to their parent or grandparent, or to your parent or grandparent.
To designate your transfer, complete the following, as applicable:
- part 3 of Form TL11A, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – University Outside Canada
- part 4 of Form TL11C, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – Commuter to the United States
- the second box on the back of Form T2202, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate.
You cannot transfer to your parent or grandparent, or to your spouse’s parent or grandparent, if your spouse or common-law partner claims any of the following amounts on their Income Tax and Benefit Return:
- spouse or common-law partner amounts (line 30300)
- amounts transferred from spouse or common-law partner (line 32600)
If you transfer an amount to your spouse or common-law partner, they have to complete federal Schedule 2.
If they resided in a province or territory other than Quebec, Alberta, Ontario or Saskatchewan on December 31, they also may need to complete provincial or territorial Schedule (S2).
Carry-forward the amount
You can carry forward your current year’s unused federal tuition fees (that you did not transfer) to claim in a future year, and any unused tuition, education, and textbook amounts carried forward from years prior to 2020, that you cannot use this year. You have to claim your carry forward amount in the first year that you have to pay income tax. To calculate the amount you are carrying forward, you have to file an Income Tax and Benefit Return and fill out federal Schedule 11.
If you carry forward an amount, you will not be able to transfer that amount to anyone in the future years.
Depending on your province or territory of residence, you may have to fill out provincial or territorial Schedule (S11) to calculate your provincial or territorial transfer or carry forward amounts. Attach the applicable schedules to your return.
Chapter 7 – Refundable tax credits
Refundable tax credits are credits that reduce your tax owing and any remaining credit is refunded to you or applied to another balance owing.
The following sections include information on some of common tax credits that apply to students. For more information, see the Federal Income Tax and Benefit Guide.
The Canada training credit (CTC) is a new refundable tax credit to help Canadians with the cost of eligible training fees.
Canada training credit for 2020
You can claim the CTC for eligible tuition and other fees paid for courses you took in 2020 if you meet all of these conditions:
- you file an Income Tax and Benefit Return for the year
- you were a resident in Canada throughout the year
- you were at least 26 years old and less than 66 years old at the end of the year
- your latest notice of assessment or reassessment for 2019 shows a Canada training credit limit (CTCL) for 2020
- you paid your tuition or fees to an eligible educational institution in Canada or to certain institutions for an occupational, trade or professional examination
- your tuition and fees are eligible for the tuition tax credit
The amount you can claim for the CTC each year is an amount up to, but not exceeding, the lesser of:
- your CTCL for the year
- 50% of the eligible tuition and other fees paid to an educational institution in Canada for courses you took in 2020, or fees you paid to certain bodies for an occupational, trade or professional examination taken in 2020
Complete the CTC calculation on federal Schedule 11 to calculate your credit. The CTC that you claim will reduce your CTCL for future years.
Canada training credit limit for 2021
You can accumulate $250 towards your 2021 Canada training credit limit (CTCL) if you meet all of these conditions in 2020:
- you file an Income Tax and Benefit Return for the year
- you were a resident in Canada throughout the year
- you were at least 25 years old and less than 65 years old at the end of the year
- you have at least $10,100 of working income (including maternity and parental benefits)
- your net income for the year is not greater than $150,473
You can calculate your CTCL using the following formula:
A + B - C
A is your limit for the previous tax year.
B is the $250 annual accumulation (if you meet all the conditions above, if not, B will be zero).
C is the CTC claimed in the previous year.
For more information on the CTC and CTCL, go to Taxes.
You may be eligible to receive other benefits and credit payments such as:
- the GST/HST credit and related provincial or territorial payments
- the Canada child benefit (CCB) and related provincial or territorial payments
For more information about our child and family benefits programs, go to Overview of child and family benefits, see Booklet T4114, Canada Child Benefit, and Guide RC4210, GST/HST Credit, or call 1-800-387-1193.
Other provincial or territorial tax credits
If you lived anywhere in Canada except Quebec on December 31, you may be eligible to claim provincial or territorial tax credits on your return. Residents of all provinces and territories, except Quebec, calculate their provincial or territorial non-refundable tax credits on Form 428.
If you lived in Quebec on December 31, you have to fill out a provincial income tax return for Quebec to claim your provincial tax credits.
To get our forms or publications, go to Forms and publications or call 1-800-959-8281.
- T4044, Employment Expenses
- T4058, Non Residents and Income Tax
- T4114, Canada Child Benefit and related provincial and territorial programs
- RC192, Information for Students – Educational Institutions Outside Canada
- RC4092, Registered Education Savings Plans
- RC4112, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)
- RC4210, GST/HST Credit Including related provincial credits and benefits
- RC96, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) Request to Withdraw Funds from an RRSP
- T1-M, Moving Expenses Deduction
- T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction
- T2202, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate
- TL11A, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – University outside Canada
- TL11C, Tuition and Enrolment Certificate – Commuter to the United States
- TL11D, Tuition Fees Certificate – Educational Institutions Outside Canada for a Deemed Resident of Canada
Income tax folios
The CRA’s digital services are fast, easy and secure.
My Account lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your tax affairs online. Find out how to register at My Account for Individuals.
The MyCRA mobile web app lets you access and view key portions of your tax information. Access the app at Mobile apps – Canada Revenue Agency.
Use My Account or MyCRA to:
- view your benefit and credit information
- view your notice of assessment
- change your address, direct deposit information, marital status, and information about children in your care
- register to receive email notifications when you have mail to view in My Account and when important changes are made to your account
- check your TFSA contribution room and RRSP deduction limit
- check the status of your tax return
- make a payment to the CRA online with My Payment or a pre-authorized debit agreement, or create a QR code to pay in person at Canada Post
- view and print your proof of income statement
- submit documents to the CRA
- submit an audit enquiry
- link between your CRA My Account for individuals and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) at My Service Canada Account
Sign up for email notifications to get most of your CRA mail, like your notice of assessment, online.
For more information, go to Email notifications from the CRA – Individuals.
Get your benefit information on the go! Use Log in to MyBenefits CRA mobile app throughout the year to:
- view the amounts and dates of your benefit and credit payments, including any provincial or territorial payments
- view the status of your application for child benefits
- change your address, phone number, and marital status
- view the children in your care
- sign up for email notifications to receive an email when there is mail to view online in My Account such as important changes made on your account
For more information, go to Mobile apps - Canada Revenue Agency.
Make your payment using:
- your financial institution’s online or telephone banking services
- the CRA’s My Payment service at Pay now with My Payment
- your credit card through one of the CRA’s third-party service providers
- PayPal or Interac e-transfer through one of the CRA’s third-party service providers
- pre-authorized debit at My Business Account
For more information, go to Payments to the Canada Revenue Agency.
For more information
What if you need help?
If you need more information after reading this guide, go to Taxes or call 1-800-959-8281.
Direct deposit is a fast, convenient, and secure way to get your CRA payments directly into your account at a financial institution in Canada. For more information and ways to enrol, go to Direct deposit - Canada Revenue Agency.
Forms and publications
The CRA encourages electronic filing of your return. If you require a paper version of our forms and publications, go to Forms and publications or call one of the following numbers:
- 1-800-959-8281, from Canada and the United States
- 613-940-8495, from outside Canada and the United States. We only accept collect calls initiated by telephone operators. After your call is accepted by an automated response, you may hear a beep and experience a normal connection delay.
Electronic mailing lists
The CRA can notify you by email when new information on a subject of interest to you is available on the website. To subscribe to the electronic mailing lists, go to Canada Revenue Agency electronic mailing lists.
Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS)
For personal and general tax information by telephone, use our automated service, TIPS, by calling 1-800-267-6999.
Teletypewriter (TTY) users
If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a TTY, call 1-800-665-0354.
If you use an operator-assisted relay service, call our regular telephone numbers instead of the TTY number.
You can expect to be treated fairly under clear and established rules, and get a high level of service each time you deal with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); see the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
If you are not satisfied with the service you received, try to resolve the matter with the CRA employee you have been dealing with or call the telephone number provided in the CRA’s correspondence. If you do not have contact information, go to Contact the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you still disagree with the way your concerns were addressed, you can ask to discuss the matter with the employee’s supervisor.
If the CRA has still not resolved your service complaint, you can submit a complaint with the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson.
You can file a formal dispute or objection if you think the CRA misinterpreted the facts of your tax situation or applied the tax law incorrectly.
For more information about objections or formal disputes, go to Service feedback, objections, appeals, disputes, and relief measures.
If you have previously submitted a service-related complaint or requested a formal review of a CRA decision and feel that, as a result, you were not treated impartially by a CRA employee, you can submit a reprisal complaint by filling out Form RC459, Reprisal Complaint.
For more information about complaints and disputes, go to Service feedback, objections, appeals, disputes, and relief measures.
When a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday recognized by the CRA, your return is considered on time if the CRA receive it or if it is postmarked on the next business day.
For more information, go to Important dates for Individuals.
Cancel or waive penalties or interest
The CRA administers legislation, commonly called the taxpayer relief provisions, that allows the CRA discretion to cancel or waive penalties or interest when taxpayers cannot meet their tax obligations due to circumstances beyond their control.
The CRA’s discretion to grant relief is limited to any period that ended within 10 calendar years before the year in which a request is made.
For penalties, the CRA will consider your request only if it relates to a tax year or fiscal period ending in any of the 10 calendar years before the year in which you make your request. For example, your request made in 2020 must relate to a penalty for a tax year or fiscal period ending in 2010 or later.
For interest on a balance owing for any tax year or fiscal period, the CRA will consider only the amounts that accrued during the 10 calendar years before the year in which you make your request. For example, your request made in 2020 must relate to interest that accrued in 2010 or later.
To make a request, fill out Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief – Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest. For more information about relief from penalties or interest and how to submit your request, go to Taxpayer relief provisions.
Chart to calculate the portion of the award that must be included in income
If you received scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries in the taxation year in connection with your part-time enrolment in an educational program, this chart will help you calculate the amount of scholarship, fellowship and bursary income to be included on line13010 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
|Calculation of scholarship exemption for the taxation year|
|Scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries received by you in the tax year related to a part-time program for which you are a part-time qualifying student for 2019, 2020 or 2021.||----------------||1|
|Fees paid to the educational institution and costs of program-related material for the part-time program for which you are a part-time qualifying student for 2019, 2020 or 2021. Do not include costs and fees paid that you claimed for a scholarship exemption in a previous year.
|Enter the amount from line 1 or line 2, whichever is less||-----------||3|
|Line 1 minus line 2 (if negative, enter "0")
|Basic scholarship exemption||$500.00||5|
|Enter the amount from line 4 or line 5, whichever is less||-----------||6|
|Add lines 3 and 6. This is your total scholarship exemption||----------------||7|
|Calculation of amounts to be included in income for the tax year:|
|Total of all scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries received by you in the taxation year in connection with your part-time enrolment in an educational program||----------------||8|
|Enter your scholarship exemption for the tax year from line 7 above||----------------||9|
|Line 8 minus line 9. This is the amount of scholarship, fellowship, and bursary income that you must include at line 13010 of your return (if negative, enter "0").
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