Are you an international student studying in Canada?

Canada's income tax system

If you are in Canada as an international student, it is important that you understand what your rights, entitlements, and obligations are under Canada's tax system. It is your responsibility to determine your income tax status, and make sure to pay your required amount of taxes for each year according to the law.

Generally, you must determine your final tax obligation to Canada by completing an income tax return and sending it to the CRA. On the return, you list your income and deductions, calculate federal and provincial or territorial tax, and determine if you have a balance of tax owing for the year, or whether you are entitled to a refund of some or all of the tax that was deducted from your income during the year. If you lived in Quebec on December 31, use the income tax package for residents of Quebec to calculate your federal tax only. You will also have to file a Quebec provincial return.

Social insurance number or individual tax number

If you do not have a social insurance number (SIN), contact Service Canada to see if you are eligible for one. For general information about the SIN and learn how to apply, go to Social Insurance Number. To find the address of the Service Canada centre nearest you, go to Find a Service Canada Office or call 1-800-622-6232.

If you are not eligible to get a SIN, complete Form T1261, Application for a Canada Revenue Agency Individual Tax Number (ITN) for Non-Residents, and send it to the CRA. Do not complete this form if you already have a SIN, individual tax number (ITN), or temporary tax number (TTN), or are waiting for a SIN application to be processed.

For more information, call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.

You can get the CRA forms and publications online or by calling 1-800-959-8281.

Residency status

Under Canada's tax system, your liability for income tax and your entitlement to certain social benefits in Canada is based on your residency status in Canada for income tax purposes. Generally, you become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you have established significant residential ties in Canada.

Residential ties may include:

Your residency status determines your income tax return filing requirements in Canada.

If you entered Canada during the year and established residential ties in Canada, follow the filing requirements in Pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada.

For more information about residency status or what income tax package to use, go to Individuals – Leaving or entering Canada and non-residents or see the Income Tax and Benefit Guide for Non-Residents and Deemed Residents of Canada.

Do you need help determining your residency status?

If you are not sure of your residency status in Canada for income tax purposes, complete Form NR74, Determination of Residency Status (entering Canada), and send it to the address indicated on the form.

For more information about residency status, see Determining your residency status.

Do you have to file a tax return?

You have to file a tax return if you owe tax, or if you want to claim a refund.

If you are a resident or deemed resident of Canada, you must include your world income on your tax return. This is your income for the year from all sources inside and outside of Canada.

Generally, if you are a non-resident of Canada, you will only have to report Canadian-source income, such as from employment.

If you are a resident of Canada, you may be eligible for certain payments or credits, even if you have no income to report or tax to pay. In order to receive these payments or credits, you must file an income tax return.

For more information, see Do you have to file a return.

If you lived in Quebec on December 31, you may have to file a separate provincial return. For more information, contact Revenu Québec.

Filing due date

Generally, your income tax return has to be filed on or before April 30 of the year following the year for which the return is being filed. If you owe tax and you file your tax return late, the CRA will charge you a late-filing penalty and interest on any unpaid amounts.

What are tuition, education, and textbook amounts?

Tuition, education, and textbook amounts are non-refundable tax credits that allow students to reduce their income taxes. Even if you do not have to pay tax, you may be able to carry forward all or part of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts, to use in a future year.

To claim, you must file a tax return and attach a completed Schedule 11. You also need to complete and attach the corresponding provincial or territorial Schedule (S11).

For more information, see Guide T4058, Non-Residents and Income Tax.

Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit

The GST is a tax that you pay on most goods and services sold or provided in Canada. In some provinces, the GST is combined with the provincial sales tax to form the HST. The GST/HST credit helps certain individuals and families, depending on income, offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay.

You may be entitled to the GST/HST credit after your arrival in Canada if you are considered a resident of Canada for tax purposes. If you are eligible, you can apply for the GST/HST credit after your arrival in Canada. For more information, see Form RC151, GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada.

For information about the GST/HST credit and related provincial credits, see Guide RC4210, GST/HST Credit, or call 1-800-387-1193.

Where do you send your tax return?

As an international student, you should send your tax return each year to:

Tax centres - location of tax centres for each countries
Country of residence Tax centre
United Kingdom
Winnipeg Tax Centre
PO Box 14001, Station Main
Winnipeg MB  R3C 3M3
All other countries Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury ON  P3A 5C2

Forms and publications

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