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Filing Your Return - Students -> Tax credits for tuition, education and textbooks

Line 323 Tuition, Education and Textbook Tax Credits

Income Tax Act s. 118.5, 118.6

The tax credits for tuition, education amounts and textbooks are non-refundable tax credits.  There is a Federal tax credit as well as a provincial or territorial tax credit for tuition, education and textbook amounts.  For this reason, to claim these amounts, or to transfer them to another person, you must complete both the Federal Schedule 11 of your tax return, and the provincial S(11) schedule.

Tuition Tax Credit

Quebec uses Schedule T for tuition or examination fees being claimed or carried forward.  The Federal and provincial (except Quebec) forms are available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.  See Quebec Personal Tax Credits for more information on the Quebec tuition and examination fees tax credit.

In general the following qualify for the tuition tax credit:

bullet Tuition fees, if they total more than $100, for courses at a post-secondary school level paid to a university, college, or other educational institution in Canada
bullet Tuition fees, if they total more than $100, for courses to provide a student who is at least 16 years old at the end of the taxation year with skills for (or improve the student's skills in) an occupation, paid to an educational institution in Canada certified by the Minister of Human Resources Development (see Master List of Designated Educational Institutions on website)
bullet Tuition fees for a student in full-time attendance at a university outside Canada for a course, of at least 13 consecutive weeks in duration, leading to a degree
bullet Tuition fees, if they total more than $100, for courses at a post-secondary school level paid to a university, college or other educational institution in the United States to which a student living near the Canada-United States border commutes

To claim the tax credit for tuition fees, you must have received from the educational institution either an official tax receipt or a completed form T2202A, Tuition, Education and Textbook Amounts Certificate.  If you paid less than $100 for the year to any particular educational institution, that amount is not claimable.  Otherwise, the total tuition fees paid in the year are claimable.  This could also include the cost of courses and seminars related to your work.  The costs of books, room and board, or student association fees cannot  be claimed.  If the fees were paid by your employer or the employer of one of your parents, then the costs are not deductible unless the reimbursed amount is included in your income or your parent's income.  Private school tuition fees for elementary and secondary students are generally not tax deductible.  See our private school tuition fees article.

If you were taking courses as a requirement of your employment, and your employer has provided you with a form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment indicating this requirement, then the cost can be claimed as an employment expense, instead of as a tuition tax credit.

Education and Textbook Amount Tax Credits

The Liberal platform includes the following provisions affecting students:

 - cancel the education and textbook tax credits, but maintain the tuition tax credit
 - increase maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students, and to $1,800 per year for part-time students, and increase the income thresholds for eligibility
 - make student loan system more flexible to ensure that no graduate with student loans will be required to make any repayment until they are earning at least $25,000 per year.  This will be done by changing the income thresholds in the Repayment Assistance Plan for recent graduates.

The cancellation of the education and textbook tax credits automatically cancels these credits for all provinces (except Alberta) and territories as well, unless they make legislative changes to keep them.  Alberta is the only province where the tax legislation doesn't make the education tax credit dependent on the federal tax credit, so they would have to make a legislative change to eliminate this credit.  The textbook tax credit was only available federally and in Yukon and Nunavut.  The Alberta government has said "Should the education tax credit be changed or eliminated federally, Alberta will assess the implications for its own education tax credit at that time."  It seems logical that they would also eliminate the credit.

The education amount tax credit can be claimed for each whole or part month in which you were enrolled in a qualifying program at a designated educational institution.  The educational institution must provide either a T2202A Tuition, Education and Textbook Amounts Certificate or another Authorized Certificate.  The certificate will show the number of months you were enrolled in a qualifying educational program or a specified educational program.  The amount that can be claimed is $400 per month for full time enrollment, or $120 per month for part time enrollment.  To qualify for part time enrollment, the student must spend at least 12 hours per month on courses in the qualifying program.

If you attended only part time and are eligible for the disability tax credit (see Disability Amount Tax Credit), then you can claim $400 per month.  If you attended only part time because of a disability which would qualify you for the disability tax credit except that it is not severe and prolonged, you can claim $400 per month.  In this case an authorized person must complete part 3 of form T2202, or give you a signed letter certifying your impairment.

Starting with the 2004 taxation year, if a person takes a qualifying educational program in connection with their employment, this qualifies for the education tax credit providing that no part of the cost of the education is reimbursed by the employer.

The textbooks tax credit is an additional tax credit starting in 2006, similar to the education tax credit, for textbooks.  The federal non-refundable tax credit is based on $65/month for full-time attendance or $20/month for part-time attendance.

For education and textbook amounts by province/territory, see the tables of non-refundable tax credits.

Federal 2010 Budget change:

bullet that a post-secondary program consisting primarily of research will only be eligible for the education tax credit and the scholarship exemption if it leads to a college or CEGEP diploma, or a bachelor, masters or doctoral degree or equivalent.

See also:

bulletTax Information for Students
bullet Transfer or carry-forward of unused tuition, education or textbook amounts
bullet Courses taken outside Canada - tuition and education tax credits
bullet Private school tuition fees
bullet Persons with disabilities

CRA Information:

bulletAuthorized certificates for tuition, education and textbook tax credits
bulletS1-F2-C1: Education and Textbook Tax Credits
bulletS1-F2-C2: Tuition Tax Credit


Revised: November 05, 2015

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