Tuition fees, education and textbook credits

Tuition tax credit

Tuition fees for students enrolled on a full- or part-time basis in Canada and, in certain instances, outside Canada, are eligible for a non-refundable tax credit, provided they total more than $100 per establishment. A student enrolled at a university outside Canada and taking courses over the Internet may be able to claim a tuition tax credit for the related tuition fees, provided the student is able to demonstrate his or her attendance constituted “full-time attendance.” Canadian students attending foreign universities have to have paid fees in respect of a full-time course of at least three consecutive weeks in order to qualify for the tuition, education and textbook credit.

Tuition fees include entrance fees, use of library or laboratory facilities, issuance of a certificate or diploma and related expenses charged to all students, other than payments to a student association. Eligible fees also include fees paid to an educational institution, a professional association or a provincial ministry or similar institution for an examination required to obtain a professional status. Certain ancillary fees paid in respect of occupational, trade or professional examinations also qualify for the credit.

Where the student attends a post-secondary institution in Canada, the claims for all three credits are normally supported by Form T2202 or T2202A, which is completed by the educational institution. Where tuition fees are paid to a qualifying institution outside Canada, Form TL11A (for a foreign university), TL11C (for commuters attending post-secondary institutions in the United States), or TL11D (for deemed residents of Canada) must be completed and filed with the return.

Education tax credit

Students can also claim a non-refundable credit for each month (or part of month) of study inside or outside Canada at an accredited teaching establishment or during which they are registered full-time or part-time in a cooperative program or an eligible training program. The federal credit is 15% of $400 per month for full-time students24 and 15% of $120 per month for part-time students.25

A student who is registered in an eligible training program on a part-time basis because of a mental or physical disability is entitled to a credit as though he/she were a full-time student provided he/she is entitled to the disability credit. This also applies to the textbook tax credit (discussed below).

A student who takes post-secondary courses related to his/her job can claim the education credit provided the costs are not reimbursed by his/her employer.

The 2016 federal budget has eliminated this credit, effective January 1, 2017. Unused credit amounts carried forward from years prior to 2017 will remain available to be claimed in 2017 and subsequent years.

Textbook tax credit

Costs incurred by post-secondary students to purchase textbooks qualify for a non-refundable credit, provided the student is otherwise entitled to the education tax credit. This credit equals 15% of $65 for each month the student is registered full-time or 15% of $20 for each month the student is registered part-time.

Students are entitled to carry forward unused tuition, education and textbook credits indefinitely. As a result, any amount not used by the student in the current year and not transferred to an eligible person (see below) can be carried forward by the student and claimed in a subsequent year.

The 2016 federal budget has eliminated this credit, effective January 1, 2017. Unused credit amounts carried forward from years prior to 2017 will remain available to be claimed in 2017 and subsequent years.

Transfer of tuition, education and textbook credits

If a student is unable to use all or a portion of these credits, he or she can transfer up to $5,000 to an eligible person. That translates into a $750 federal tax credit. Transfer to an eligible person is available only for credits earned in the current year. To make this designation, the student must complete and sign Form T2202. To support the amount claimed, a copy of this form should be kept by the designated person and, if applicable, by the student. Currently, the form doesn’t need to be filed with the return, but it must be available if requested by the CRA.

 


24 Minimum of three consecutive weeks and 10 hours of courses per week.
25 Minimum of three consecutive weeks and 12 hours of courses per month.