International Student Taxes: Do You Need to Pay Them in Canada?

International student taxes most likely aren’t the first thing that pop into your mind when you think of coming to study in Canada. But if you’re already abroad, you may wonder, “Do I need to declare and pay income taxes in Canada?”.

The answer is not cut and dry, rather, the answer is “maybe.”

It all depends on how Canada categorizes your residence status. You may be categorized as either of the following:

  • Resident
  • Non-resident
  • Deemed resident
  • Deemed non-resident

Residency status for international student taxes

Let’s discuss in greater depth what the difference between the various residence status’ are.

Resident: You are considered a resident if you have a home in Canada, your family has moved with you, and you have social ties in Canada. The easiest way to avoid being considered a resident is by staying in Canada less than 183 days a year, which may be challenging as that is six months.

Non-resident: You are considered a non-resident if you do not establish residential ties in Canada and spend less than 183 days a year in Canada.

Deemed resident: You are considered a deemed resident when you’ve stayed in Canada for more than 183 days AND you are not a resident in your home country (providing that country has a tax treaty with Canada).

Deemed non-resident: This is the opposite of a deemed resident; if you have residential ties in Canada but you are a resident in a tax treaty country. Therefore, this may be the easiest status to obtain to avoid paying any international student taxes.

How much tax do I need to pay?

In all cases, you must pay taxes on any income you receive from Canadian sources.

Moreover, if you are a resident or deemed resident, then you also need to pay Canadian income tax on any income regardless of whether or not it’s from a Canadian source.

As such, as a non-resident or deemed non-resident, you still need to pay taxes on income from Canadian sources.

How do I pay taxes?

First, you’ll need either a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or in some cases, an Individual Tax Number (ITN) if you’re a non-resident or deemed non-resident. One thing to note is there is no fee to apply for a SIN! You can choose to apply in person or by mail. Should you decide to apply in person and everything is in order, there’s a high chance you will get your SIN during your visit. However, it’s important to have all the required documents prepared. On the other hand, should you decide to apply through mail, you may only do so if you are in the following situations:

  1. You live 100 km or more from the nearest Service Canada location or are in an unaccessible area.
  2. You are applying from outside of Canada.
  3. Other limitations that prevent you from applying in person and you’re unable to use the assistance of another person.

When applying by mail, be sure to include the required documents as well as a completed SIN application form.

You may send the above documents to this address:

Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
PO Box 7000
Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T1

For further guidance on how to obtain a SIN or ITN, visit this website.

You can file your income tax by mail, online or over the phone. Nearly 90 percent of Canadians choose to file taxes online due to ease, convenience and security. To avoid complications, we suggest creating a CRA account and filing your taxes online as well. Further, to help file your taxes online, the CRA provides a list of certified desktop and online software programs.

For more details on how to pay your taxes, please visit this government website.

How do I study in Canada?

If you have an interest in studying in Canada, ApplyBoard can be your one-stop shop. At ApplyBoard you can research and apply to universities, as well as gain advice from our visa consultants. To register, click here.