International & Exchange  Student CentreWestern International

Income Tax: Frequently Asked Questions


As an international student, am I required to file income taxes?

You must file an income tax return if:

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If I did not receive income in Canada, why should I complete a tax return?

It is strongly recommended that you fill out a tax return even if you did not receive income in Canada because you may benefit from filing taxes in the following ways:

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As an international student, am I considered a resident for tax filing purposes? How do I determine my residency status for income tax purposes?

Your Canadian Immigration/Residency status does NOT determine your Residency Status for income tax purposes. You must know your residency status for income tax purposes in order to submit the correct tax forms. To determine your residency status, complete the Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada) NR74 Form well before the tax deadline and send it to the International Tax Services Office in Ottawa. You will receive a letter informing you of your status. Keep the letter and include a copy with your tax return.

Your status is determined based on factors such as:

Types of Residency Status

Most international students are Residents for income tax purposes and should therefore fill out the General Income Tax forms for Residents. Some international students may, however, be Deemed Residents or Non-Residents.

For more information about determining your residency, read:

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Where can I get forms for completing my tax return?

Select the appropriate year, province and forms. If you do not know which forms you need, contact the International and Exchange Student Centre.

Students may also have the option of filing their tax returns online.

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What official tax receipts will I need to file my income tax return and where can I get them?

Beginning in January, you may start receiving tax receipts from your employers or in the mail. You will need these receipts to file your taxes.

These are some tax receipts you may receive:

Please note that all receipts are issued based on the calendar year January 1 to December 31. Make sure to keep copies of all your official receipts for at least 6 years.

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Can I file my income tax return if I don't have a Social Insurance Number?

Yes. International Students who do not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) can still file an income tax return. For more information on how to apply for a Social Insurance Number, please visit our page on Social Insurance Numbers.

If you are not eligible to get a SIN and you have never applied for a Temporary/Individual Tax Number, you must apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) by completing the Application for a Canada Revenue Agency Individual Tax Number for Non-Residents (form T1261).  Send the complete form to the International Tax Services Office and include a certified photocopy of a piece of identification, such as your passport. Do not complete this form if you already have a SIN (even if it has expired), you are eloigible for a SIN, or already have an individual tax number or a temporary taxation number.

For more information on how to apply for an ITN contact the International Tax Services Office at 1-800-267-5177.

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Where should I submit my income tax return?

Students filing an income tax return for the first time must submit a paper copy to the International Tax Services Office. Mail your tax return to:

International Tax Services Office
Canada Revenue Agency
Post Office Box 9769, Station T
Ottawa, ON K1G 3Y4

If this is not the first time that you will be filing your income taxes and you would like to mail them, mail your tax return in the envelope provided in the Income Tax Package.

Remember to keep all your original receipts and copies of your income tax forms for at least 6 years in case you are audited.

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When will I receive my tax return?

If this is your first time filing Canadian Income Taxes, your tax return is usually processed in 16 weeks. If this is not your first time filing an Income Tax return, it is usually processed in four to six weeks.

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I didn't file my income taxes in previous years. Can I file taxes for past years now?

Yes. You can file a tax return to claim a refund for the previous ten years. Attach receipts for all the deductions or credits you are claiming. Tax forms for previous years can be downloaded from the Canada Revenue Agency website.

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What is a Notice of Assessment?

When the Canada Revenue Agency receives your income tax return, they will review your information and send you a summary of the results of your income tax return, also known as a Notice of Assessment. Please review your Notice of Assessment to ensure that all the information is correct. You will need to keep your Notice of Assessment in your files to use it for the next year's income tax return. Your Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment will show unused tuition amounts carried forward from previous years.

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