Filing your taxes in Canada

Most international students completing a degree in Canada on a study permit are considered residents of Canada for income tax purposes; however taxes are based on an individual’s specific circumstances. It is very important that you consider the significance of your residential ties to Canada and determine your residency status prior to submitting an income tax return.

For more information about Canadian taxes, please see filing an income tax return as a student on the Government of Canada's website or contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA also has helpful online videos and webinars about the Canadian tax system and filing taxes.

Filing an income tax return

The tax year runs from January to December each year and the deadline to file an income tax return is April 30 of the year after.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a list of reasons why you should file a tax return.

Whether you hire an accountant or complete your own tax return, you will need to prepare the following documents (if applicable):

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) or, if you are not eligible for a SIN, your Individual Tax Number (ITN) form.
  • Income tax slips like T4 or T4A. If you worked for the university or received a university scholarship, you can access your T4 and T4A from the myHRinfo portal.
  • Interest tax slips like a T3 or T5 from financial institutions. Contact your financial institution for a copy if applicable.
  • Tuition receipt T2202A. This identifies the number of months you attended university and the tuition you paid. You can find your tuition receipt on your Quest account under Finances, Tax Receipts.
  • Donation receipts if you made a donation to a Canadian charity. 
  • Proof of payment for monthly public transportation passes in Canada. UPASS fees for GRT in the city are part of your Feds/GSA administered fees.
  • Medical receipts for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Rent receipts from your landlord. This does not include on-campus residence fees.
  • Any correspondence from the CRA if you have filed taxes in Canada before, including your past notice of assessments.
  • You may have other information slips, receipts, or amounts you can indicate on your income tax return.

Student Financial Services also has information on tax receipts and where to find them.

Residents of Canada are required to indicate any income earned from both inside and outside of Canada. If you worked in another country, your income tax return, including residency status for tax purposes, could be impacted by a tax treaty.

Once you have submitted an income tax return, you should receive a response from the CRA in the form of a notice of assessment. Keep any correspondence you receive from the CRA in a safe place for your records. 

Once you have filed at least one income tax return, received one notice of assessment, and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), you can create a MyAccount on the CRA website. Your account allows you to receive correspondence from the CRA electronically, set up direct electronic bank deposits for any refunds or benefits you may receive, and keep your personal information, address and banking information up-to-date with CRA.

Resources to help you complete your taxes