Postdoctoral Association at Western

Income Tax

How to file your taxes as a Postdoctoral scholar

Updated January 2013

The deadline to file tax forms and pay any balance owing for 2012 taxes is April 30, 2013. PAW has prepared a summary of things you might want to consider as you prepare to file your taxes.  

If you have any questions, please contact PAW Tax Information Representative: Sophie Lalande or Canada Revenue Agency.

The last tax presentation for Canadian and International Postdoc Scholars made by Famme & Co Professional Corporation on Feb 2013 is available here.

T4s are tax receipts issued by an employer to employees for income they earned in the calendar year. All T4s are first distributed to the department which funded the above payments. Secondly, the department will distribute the T4s internally in the department or mail to the most recent address on file with Human Resources.

T4As are tax receipts issued to anyone paid through Payroll who received a Graduate Research Assistantship, scholarship, or other awards from Western in the previous calendar year. All T4As are first distributed to the department which funded the above payments. Secondly, the department will distribute the T4As internally in the department or mail to the most recent address on file with Human Resources. 

Questions on this matter can be directed to: Human Resources, 519 661-2194

FAQ 1: Can I opt to pay taxes every month instead of making only one payment when filling my taxes?

Updated August 2013

Yes it is possible to have taxes deducted at the source every month. If you want to pay taxes every month instead of once a year, please send an email to Human Resources (hrhelp@uwo.ca) with the following information: Name, employee ID and the amount of money you want to have withheld from your pay check each month. The amount of taxes an individual has deducted depends upon a number of factors, all of which are personal to the individual. To determine your amount, please use the Canada Revenue Agency online calculator.

FAQ 2: Should I opt-in to Employment Insurance (EI) Special Benefits for self-employed postdoctoral fellows (PDFs)?

Updated January 2013
 
If you are a postdoctoral fellow (PDF), you are considered self-employed or an independent contractor by the University. As such, Employment Insurance is not deducted from your pay as is the case for Postdoctoral Associates (PDAs). At this time, it does NOT seem that PDFs are eligible for the special benefits EI (Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-Employed People) due to the type of income they receive. Please note that we have recently been advised that some PDFs have been able to opt-in this special EI and receive the benefits but were later told that their income labeled as research grants made them unable to claim EI benefits. We urge you to research this option carefully so that you are not forced to repay the benefits. 

FAQ 3: No more tax exemption for Postdoctoral Fellows since 2009

NOTE: the following information was given to PAW from the Department of Communications and Public Affairs at Western.
 
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released a technical interpretation regarding the income tax status of Postdoctoral Fellows in response to a request from the University of Toronto. The interpretation provides further clarification following the 2010 federal budget in which amendments were proposed that expressly preclude Postdoctoral Fellows from claiming scholarship exemption for the tax years 2009 onward.
 
In this interpretation, the CRA states that, in their view, a Postdoctoral Fellow is more likely to receive employment income or research grant(s) for income tax purposes than scholarship income. It is also the view of the CRA that the full scholarship exemption will not apply in most cases even if the income were scholarship income. Specifically, the CRA states: "We can confirm that where the tax return of a post-doctoral fellow is reviewed by the CRA, a claim for the full scholarship exemption will generally be denied." Historically, Western University has not issued T2202A tax forms to Postdoctoral Fellows.  The CRA interpretation supports this approach, and as such, Western will continue this practice.

For more information, please visit:

www.sgs.utoronto.ca/informationfor/postdoctoral/taxupdate.htm and the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars' (CAPS) position paper on this matter.

Further Assistance

Tax information and clinics for international students and postdocs can be found at International Students & Tax Income.