by Ann Welsh, International Student Support Specialist
Tax season in Canada is here!
NOTE: the tax filing deadline for 2019 has been moved to June 1, 2020.
As an international student (or new permanent resident), you may have questions about Canada’s income tax filing system. We are happy to help and have compiled some typical questions that we encounter. See our FAQs and Links to Resources below.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering tax law in Canada, as well as social and economic benefits and other tax programs. Be aware that there is an increase in scams targeting international students and others in Canada. Please see below for more information.
The CRA has created a helpful guide for international students studying in Canada to explain the tax system and your obligations. For new permanent residents, you can view the Newcomer to Canada guide. These are both great starting points!
Income Tax – Frequently Asked Questions
1. When are taxes due?
The deadline to file taxes for the 2019 tax year is June 1, 2020. Normally, taxes must be filed by the end of April, but the CRA is allowing extra time for 2019 taxes because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you do not file on time and owe taxes, you may incur a late filing penalty and interest fees.
2. Do I need to file my taxes as an international student?
It is your responsibility to determine your income tax status and tax obligations. You are required to file a tax return if you owe taxes or if you want to claim a refund. Even if you did not earn an income or owe any tax, you may want to file a tax return anyway as you may be eligible for a refund. In addition, filing an income tax return may entitle you to additional benefits and credits, such as the GST/HST credit.
For more information about determining your tax obligations, click here.
For more information on filing taxes, click here.
3. Where do I find my York tax forms?
Your tax forms can be found by following this link: https://sfs.yorku.ca/fees/taxforms
4. Where and how do I file my taxes?
There are a few ways you can submit your income tax return:
- Online – you can submit your own taxes online using NETFILE (if eligible). You must use certified tax preparation software to prepare the return. If you hire a representative to prepare your tax return for you, they can also file online using EFILE. UFile – Free online tax preparation software, provided through YFS and YUGSA.
- By Mail – you can mail a paper tax return to the CRA. Tax return packages for 2019 (forms and guide) are available online as well as printed copies at Canada Post, Service Canada and Caisse populaire Desjardins locations.
You are not required to hire someone to complete and file your taxes for you, though you can if you wish. There are a number of tax preparation companies or Chartered Accountants that you can use. In addition, free tax clinics are available to those with modest incomes and simple tax situations, via the Community Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics (note: clinics may not be available at this time due to COVID-19).
5. Where can I learn more about filing my taxes?
For information on how to complete a tax return, click here.
This video series provides more detailed information about filing your taxes in simple, easy to navigate segments.
Additionally, the CRA offers a 60-90 minute online course that introduces you to the Canadian tax system and walks you through submitting a simple return online.
You may also call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281 (no charge).
CRA SCAM ALERT!
Unfortunately, there are many tax-related scams that target international students and these typically increase during tax season. Usually these scams are in the form of a phone call, email or other communication that appears to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), claiming that you owe money or asking for personal information (such as Social Insurance Number, bank account information, etc). Often these callers will use coercive or threatening language, including insisting that you may be arrested or deported. HANG UP OR DO NOT RESPOND TO THE CALL. DO NOT TRANSFER MONEY! Don’t get scammed.
The CRA will NEVER: 1) use aggressive language or tone, 2) ask for prepaid credit cards, 3) threaten to arrest you or send police.
If you receive a phone call or email from the CRA and are not sure whether to be concerned, please contact the International Relations team at Schulich. You can also call the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281. Read more about protecting yourself from fraud, including examples of fraudulent communications, in the following two articles:
- CRA – Protect Yourself Against Fraud
- IRCC – Protect yourself from fraud; IRCC news release for international students