Canadian Taxes, GST and Child Tax Credit
In Canada income tax is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The Canadian income tax year is January 1 – December 31 of every year. You are responsible to determine your tax payable for each taxation year and file an income tax return. If you owe taxes you have to pay it by April 30th for the preceding year. The deadline for filing personal tax is April 30th each year. If you are unable to pay a balance owing, contact CRA to arrange a payment plan.
Since the Canadian tax system is based on residency, not citizenship, most international students have to “file a return” (submit an income tax form to the government).
You must file a return if you:
- owe income tax to the government;
- expect an income tax refund from the government;
- are applying for the GST credit (which provides cash payments to low- and middle-income taxpayers, to help offset the costs of paying GST on taxable purchases);
- are eligible to receive the child tax credit (for low- and middle-income taxpayers with children); or
- are asked by the CRA to file a return.
In most cases you are not required to pay taxes on your money received from scholarships, bursaries, or fellowships.
If you do not expect to work in Canada, you will need to apply for an Individual Tax Number (see below). The earlier you do this the better as it will save you time when completing a tax return. Once you have your Individual Tax Number, you can apply for your GST credit (see below).
Social Insurance Numbers and Individual Tax Numbers
The CRA requires you to have a SIN or ITN for identity for income tax purposes. If you are ineligible to get a SIN (you are not working on campus and don’t hold a work permit), apply for an ITN using form Application for a CRA Individual Tax Number for Non-Residents.
If you do not have a SIN or ITN when you are ready to file your return, send an ITN application together with the tax return, using the address on the ITN form.
Refer to Working in Canada section, applying for a SIN.
GST Credit and Provincial Sales Tax
A 5% goods and services tax (GST) is levied on most items and services for sale in Canada; and 5% provincial sales tax (PST) in Saskatchewan.
A GST credit is available to help lower income families handle the cost of paying the sales tax. If you are considered a resident in Canada for tax purposes you may be eligible to receive this credit when you arrive in Canada and each year you are a resident. Apply as soon as you arrive in Canada for the year you become a resident of Canada for tax purposes and apply again each year on your annual income tax return.There is also a credit calculated for the PST with the GST credit.
Translation VideoHow to complete the GST/HST Credit Application:
For Individual Who Become Residents of Canada for tax purposes.
Canadian Child Tax Benefit
The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18. A temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month may be eligible to apply . Eligibility information and applications can be found on Canada Revenue’s site: