Taxes in Canada

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

In Ontario, most goods and services that you purchase will be subject to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). This is a tax of 13% and is implemented jointly by the federal and provincial government.

Food purchased through an on-campus meal plan is exempt from this tax, as are most medical or dental procedures.

Income Tax

In Canada, completing an income tax form and sending it to the government is referred to as ‘filing a tax return’. You must file a tax return if you:

  • Earned income from employment.
  • Received a scholarship, bursary or fellowship while in Canada.

By filing your tax return, you are often eligible for a refund if you have had any of the following income or expenses during the tax year:

  • Income from an assistantships, such as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA).
  • Rent expenses for off-campus housing.
  • Salary or hourly pay.
  • Scholarships.
  • Tuition (2014 T2202A and T4A tax forms from York are available to download at: sfs.yorku.ca ).
  • Public transit pass (TTC, GO Transit or VIVA, for example).

A video series explaining Canadian Income Taxes for international students has been  produced by the Canada Revenue Agency (français). For undergraduate students, YFS offers you a free software package (see free tax filing) to calculate and submit your taxes. If you have questions you may also call the International Tax office at: 1-800-959-8281.

Income Tax Deadline

In Canada, the tax year goes from January 1 to December 31. Income tax forms must be completed and submitted by April 30 of the following year. For example, you must mail your completed tax forms for the 2014 tax year (January 1 to December 31, 2014) by April 30, 2015. Information about filing a tax return as an international student in Canada can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency's website.

Social Insurance Number or Individual Tax Number

To submit your income tax form you must have one of the following:

  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) (English/Français). To have a SIN you must have active employment on campus or a work permit.
  • If you do not have a SIN, because you did not earn income in Canada, you must have an  Individual Tax Number (ITN) (English/ Français) file your tax return. You must also submit a certified copy of your identifying documents.Valid documents must include your name, date of birth, and photograph. You may have to provide a combination of documents for this  purpose. Examples of acceptable documents include: a passport, driver's license, birth certificate, work permit, study permit, visitor record, and diplomatic identity card.Documents can be certified by visiting any Service Ontario or Service Canada office, or by visiting the York Federation of Students' lawyer.

Harmonized Sales Tax Credit

Low-income wage earners, including international students, are entitled to apply for a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) credit (Step 2 on your income tax form). You must have been in Canada for at least six months during the taxation year to be eligible for an HST credit.

If you are eligible for an HST credit, quarterly or semi-annual credits are either mailed to you or directly deposited to your bank account (if you choose this option on the form).

Where to send your income tax forms

As an international student, you should send your tax return each year to:

International Tax Services Office
Post Office Box 9769, Station T
Ottawa ON  K1G 3Y4
CANADA