Income Taxes

General Information

In Canada, the income tax year is from January 1 to December 31 and the deadline to complete and mail your Income Tax forms is April 30.

Students are responsible for determining their residency status for tax purposes and for paying the correct amount of tax. Most international students “file a tax return” (submit an income tax form to the government) in order to receive tax credits (money from governments or the chance to lower taxes later).

Students can get help with filing their tax return at tax clinics on campus (see below) and in the London community.

For more information on Canadian income taxes, Canada Revenue Agency has put together a video series for international students. Some of the topics include:

  • The Canadian tax system
  • Residency and why it's important
  • Do I have to file?
  • How to file a Canadian income tax and benefit return
  • and many more...

IMPORTANT: Protect yourself against fraud and scams

Students should be vigilant when they receive phone calls, emails, text messages and mail that appear to be coming from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number. CRA will NOT call and ask you to make a payment immediately or use threatening language. CRA WILL send you an email that asks you to login to their MyAccount system to see the contents of your message.

CRA provides information on how to protect yourself from fraud and how to recognize a scam.


Do you need to file a tax return?

As an international student, any income you earn during the calendar year while in Canada may be subject to Canadian Income Tax and you therefore are required to file a tax return. Income you earn can be through work, scholarships, bursaries, research grants, fellowships, investments, etc. Generally, students also have to report income they receive from outside of Canada. Depending on the amount of money you earned, you may receive a refund, but it is also possible that you may have to pay taxes.

If you did not earn any income, there are still benefits to filing a tax return such as being eligible to receive certain payments or tax credits.

Important:

International Students are required to file an income tax return if:

  • They receive income while in Canada (from employment, scholarship/bursary, fellowship, assistantship, research grant, investments, etc.)
  • They have to pay taxes
  • They have been requested by CRA to file a tax return


Even if you did not receive income from a Canadian source, it is recommended that all international students complete an income tax return for the following reasons:

  • They want to claim a refund
  • They want to apply for the GST/HST, Ontario Trillium Benefit, and other tax credits
  • They or their spouse or common-law partner want to start or continue receiving Canada Child Benefit payments
  • They can carry forward the unused part of tuition and education credit amounts from the current year to a future year when they may be working and paying taxes

Filing Your Taxes

  • What you need

  • How to file

To file a Canadian tax return you will need either:


As soon as you get a SIN or ITN, enter it in your Student Center and myHR accounts so that Western can provide the government the accurate information about your taxes.

If you have either of these numbers, but they have expired and you are not currently employed, you can use your expired number for filing your Canadian tax return. If you are currently employed, you must ensure that your SIN is currently valid.

Additional documents you may need to file your taxes

In February you may begin receiving several tax documents (called T-slips) by mail or online (e.g., T4, T4A, T2202A, T5, donation receipts, etc.). Make sure to keep all of these as you will need them to file your Income Tax Return.

The following are common documents international students may need to file a Canadian tax return. Always refer to the Canada Revenue Agency for the most up to date information.

  • T2202A - Tuition fees paid for the tax year. Download from your Student Center account 
  • T4 - Employment income and deductions. Issued by your employer.
    • If you worked at Western (including as a TA), your T4 will be issued by Human Resources at Western and will be mailed to the address listed on your myHR account
  • T4A - Scholarships and bursaries
    • You may consent to receive it online through your Student Center account. Otherwise, it will be mailed to your home address.
  • T4A - Graduate Research Assistants, Post-Doctoral Fellows, etc.
    • Issued by Human Resources at Western and will be mailed to the address listed on your myHR account
  • T3 and/or T5 - Mutual Funds, investment income, etc. Issued by your financial institution.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to update your current mailing address on BOTH your Student Center account and your myHR account! 

Other receipts you may need to file your tax return may include:

  • Last year's tax return and Notice of Assessment, if you filed taxes the previous year
  • Rent receipts (if you lived off-campus) - from your landlord
  • Bus pass expenses (for monthly or longer bus passes) - until June 30, 2017*
  • Medical expenses, including UHIP and your extended health plan, prescriptions, etc.*
  • Charitable and political donations*
  • Child care and camp expenses
  • and others...

*To view your bus pass, UHIP, extended health and dental plan expenses, and student donations, click on the "Detailed Account Statement" in your Student Center account.

IMPORTANT: Keep copies of all your receipts, income tax forms, and Notices of Assessment for a minimum of six years.

Online

You can file your income tax directly to the Canada Revenue Agency online via NETFILE. Tax returns filed via NETFILE must first be prepared using a NETFILE-certified product you can find on their website, including UFile (through the Canadian Federation of Students for all post-secondary students).

By Paper

Find the forms on the CRA website you need to submit your tax return by paper.

Mailing Your Tax Return

Visit CRA for instructions on where to mail your tax return.

If you are filing taxes for the first time in Canada, you will also need to fill out Form RC151 GST/HST Credit Application for Individuals Who Become Residents of Canada and mail it to the address listed on the form. 


Income Tax Information Session for International Students

Have questions about how to file a Canadian Income Tax Return? Then come to our Income Tax Information Session for International Students! We will give an overview of the Canadian tax system, help you determine your residency status (for tax purposes), review what you need to file a tax return, and provide a brief overview of how to file your tax return using one of the free online tools for students. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Please note that this is a general information session only. We will not be completing your income tax return.

Upcoming sessions to be announced.

Income Tax Clinics for Students

Every year, the University Student's Council (USC) offers a FREE Income Tax Clinic for undergraduate students.

There are also a number of FREE Income Tax Clinics throughout the city, through CRA's Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). The CVITP is a collaboration between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and community organizations. The organizations host tax preparation clinics and arrange for volunteers to prepare income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.