Hello, everyone! With the year coming to an end and exams taking up most of your time, the last thing you probably want to be thinking about is your taxes. Unfortunately, it’s tax season in Canada. The tax year runs from January 1 to December 31 and the official deadline to submit your tax return is April 31st. To make it easier for you to file your taxes, we’ve included a few answers to some common questions!
How does the Canadian Tax System work?
Canadian taxes can be grouped into three types: income and property tax, goods and service taxes, and taxes on specialty items (e.g. cigarettes, alcohol, etc.). These taxes are paid to the government so that the government can provide services (e.g. housing, healthcare, etc.) to the people living within it.
Who pays income taxes?
Income taxes are determined based on your residency status for tax purposes, which may be different from your immigration status in Canada. Residency status is based on your residential ties to Canada. So, Canadian residents must pay taxes on all their world income, earned both in and out of the country. Anyone who earns an income in Canada must file income taxes. For more information on determining your residency status, visit: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/cmmn/rsdncy-eng.html.
What about international students?
As an international student, you must file an income tax return if you receive any income (from working, scholarships, research grants, investments, etc.), you want to claim a refund, and if you want tax benefits from the Canadian government (e.g. Ontario Trillium Benefit, Child Tax Benefit, Harmonized Sales Tax Reimbursement).
If you don’t have an income, it is still recommended that you complete a tax return because you might qualify for some tax credits (a refund of money or carrying forward your tuition credits)!
What do you need to file a tax return?
You will need either a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Individual Tax Number (ITN).
You may also want to save up or look for a few other documents. In February, you might have received several tax documents (called T-slips) by mail (e.g., T4, T4A, T2202A, T5, donation receipts, etc.). If you don’t remember, not to worry! You can find your T2202A and your T4A for your scholarship on your Student Centre account (student.uwo.ca) under “Tax Receipts.” If you worked at Western or you were a Research Assistant (RA), your T4 and/or T4A would have been mailed to your home address. If you did not receive it, contact the Human Resource department.
You might also need a few other receipts, too. Some examples of receipts to keep are rent receipts, bus receipts, health care expenses (including your UHIP and USC/SOGS health and dental plans), children’s activities expenses. You might need other receipts as well!
Make sure to either photocopy or scan copies of all your receipts, Income Tax Submissions, and Notices of Assessment! It’s important to keep copies for a minimum of six years.
What if I need more information?
Check out these helpful websites:
IESC’s Income Tax Information: http://iesc.uwo.ca/current/Money%20and%20Taxes/income_tax/index.html
The Canadian Government’s Video Series on Taxes: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/vdgllry/ndvdls/srs-ntrntnl-stdnt-eng.html
Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (Local Income Tax Help Clinics): http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/vlntr/nd-eng.html
More information on SINs: http://www.uwo.ca/international/iesc/visas/working/social_insurance_number.html
As always, you can also stop by the IESC for a bit of help and guidance if you’re unsure where to go on your own. Happy studying!