Paying taxes in Canada

International Student Advisors do not have tax expertise and cannot advise you on tax issues. The details below is provided for information purposes only.

Income Tax In Canada

In Canada, income tax is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The Canadian income tax year is from January 1 to December 31. If you owe income tax, you must pay it by April 30 for the previous calendar year. Late submissions are accepted, but there may be a penalty.

If you are employed in Canada, your employer must withhold and remit to the CRA statutory deductions from your wages. These statutory deductions include: income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI). In order to deduct the proper amount of income tax from your wages, your employer will ask you to complete both the form TD-1 (federal) and the TD1-BC. Employers will deduct an amount from each pay cheque for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI).

You are responsible for determining your tax filing obligations and income tax status in Canada.

UBC has switched to a new student system called Workday. Tax documents will be access in Workday for the 2024 tax year. A step-by-step guide to accessing your tax documents will be made available on students.ok.ubc.ca/workday in July.

2023 tax documents should continue to be accessed in the SSC until September.

What you need to file a tax return

To file a Canadian tax return, you need one of the following:

  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • An Individual Tax Number

As soon as you get a SIN or ITN, enter it in your Workday account so that UBC can provide the government with accurate information for your taxes.

If you have either of these numbers but it expired and you are not currently employed, you can use the expired number for filing taxes.

Learn more about adding your SIN or ITN in Workday.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

To apply for a SIN>, you must have a valid study or work permit or an on-campus job offer (with a valid study permit).

Individual Tax Number (ITN)

If you are not eligible for a SIN, apply for an ITN. This is especially important for students who receive scholarships, as UBC will require you to provide an ITN at the end of Term 1.

Additional supporting documents when filing your taxes

  • T2202 – Tuition fees paid for the tax year. You can download your T2202 from the Student Service Centre (SSC) for the 2023 tax year, or in Workday.
  • T4 – Employment income and deductions. You should receive your T4 from your employer.
  • T4A – Scholarships and bursaries.
  • General Tax Forms – Available online and at all Canada Post offices.

Apply for tax deductions

You may be eligible to deduct certain expenses from your tax payments. Moving expenses such as transportation and storage of personal effects, travel, and temporary accommodation may be considered eligible deductions. Save your receipts for the cost of relocating to Canada. However, you cannot deduct moving expenses if your only income at the new location is scholarship, fellowship, or bursary income that is entirely exempt from tax under the current legislation.

You may also deduct childcare expenses, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions, and union dues.

How to file your taxes

Online

NETFILE is an electronic tax-filing option allowing you to file your income tax directly to the Canada Revenue Agency online. Tax returns filed via NETFILE must first be prepared using a NETFILE-certified product you can find on their website.

By paper

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

Mailing your tax return

Check the Canadian government website for where you can submit your taxes by mail.

Do international students file taxes?

Most international students “file a tax return” (submit an income tax form to the government) to receive benefits and tax credits (money from governments or the chance to lower taxes later). International students may have to pay Canadian income tax on income earned from teaching and/or research assistantships, other employment, and investment and business income. Generally, students also have to report income they receive from outside of Canada.

The Canadian tax system is based on your residency status, not citizenship. Students from countries that have a tax treaty with Canada may not have to pay Canadian income tax and may be able to request that their employer stop withholding tax from their Canadian employment income with permission from CRA.

You must file a tax return if you:

  1. Owe income tax to the government (for example, you earn significant income in Canada).
  2. Are asked by the CRA to file a return.

Even if you don’t owe any tax, you should file a tax return if you:

  • Expect an income tax refund from the government.
  • Are applying for the GST/HST credit (which provides cash payments to low- and middle-income taxpayers, to help offset the costs of paying GST/HST on taxable purchases).
  • Are eligible to receive the child tax credit (for low- and middle-income taxpayers with children).
  • Might earn more income in Canada later (e.g., co-op) so want to carry-forward (i.e. save for future years) Tuition Payment and Education Credits to reduce the tax you owe in future years.

Learn more about whether to file a return.

You do not need to pay taxes on your income from scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries, but you must give UBC your ITN or SIN when UBC requests it for tax purposes.

Tax resources (2022)

Helpful resources, tax filing assistance programs, and contact information for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Tax Season Resources (2022)