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

Line 32300 Tuition, Education and Textbook Tax Credits

Note: Before tax year 2019, line 32300 was line 323.

Income Tax Act s. 118.5, 118.6

The tax credits for tuition, education and textbook amounts are non-refundable tax creditsThe Federal education and textbook tax credits are eliminated for taxation years after 2016.  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.

See our tables of non-refundable personal tax credits for amounts of education tax credits still available for each province/territory.

Education Tax Credits Retained:

Manitoba's 2017 Budget announced that the Manitoba Education Tax Credit will not be eliminated.

New Brunswick's 2019 Budget reinstated the tuition tax credit, and allows 2017 and 2018 tuition tax credits to be claimed on the 2019 tax return.

Newfoundland & Labrador has retained the education tax credit.

Northwest Territories' 2017 Budget resulted in Bill 17, which retains the education tax credit.

Nova Scotia tabled Bill 39 so that the education tax credit is retained.

Nunavut tabled Bill 36 so that the education and textbook tax credits are retained.

Prince Edward Island's 2017 Budget announced that the PE Education Tax Credit would be preserved for 2017 and subsequent taxation years.

Education Tax Credits Eliminated, and some Tuition Tax Credits:

Alberta's 2019 Budget eliminates the education and tuition tax credits for 2020 and later taxation years.  Credits earned prior to 2020 can still be claimed.  Previously, Alberta's Bill 15, Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2017 made technical changes so that the education tax credit and carry-forward did not rely on the existence of the federal education tax credit and carry-forward.

BC's 2018 Budget eliminated the education tax credit for 2019 and later taxation years.

New Brunswick passed legislation to eliminate both the tuition and education tax credits effective for the 2017 and subsequent taxation years.  Their 2019 budget (see above) reinstated the tuition tax credit, but not the education tax credits.

Ontario's 2016 Budget announced that the ON tuition and education tax credits would be discontinued.  The tuition tax credit can be claimed for eligible tuition fees paid up to September 4, 2017.  Education tax credit can be claimed for months of study before September 2017.  If you moved to Ontario after December 31, 2017, you cannot claim any unused tuition and education credits from another province or territory.

The Saskatchewan 2017 Budget announced the elimination of the tuition and education tax credits effective July 1, 2017.  This means that tuition fees paid in January to June 2017 can be claimed, and education amounts of $120 per month for part-time and $400 per month for full-time can be claimed for the months of January to June 2017.

Yukon tabled legislation to eliminate the education tax credit for the 2017 and later taxation years.

Tuition Tax Credit

The tuition tax credit is available Federally and in all provinces and territories except for Ontario (2018+), Saskatchewan (2018+) and Alberta (2020+, as per the Alberta 2019 Budget).

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
bulletFor courses taken after 2016, tuition fees, if they total more than $100, for courses not at a post-secondary school level, paid to a university, college, or other educational institution in Canada, for occupational skills courses taken for the purpose of providing the individual with skills (or improving the individual's skills) in an occupation, if the individual has attained the age of 16 before the end of the taxation year.
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 Canada.ca 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.
bulletSome specific ancillary fees and charges, but with many exclusions - see our pdf on this from s. 118.5(3) of the Income Tax Act.

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 T2202, Tuition and Enrolment 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.

Tuition/Dividend Tax Credit Problem

The tuition/education/textbook amounts carried forward are always reduced by the maximum amount that can be claimed in the year, even if the maximum amount is not claimed.

When tax credits are claimed on the tax return, several tax credits are applied after applying the maximum credit allowed for the year for tuition and education.  The tuition/education/textbook amount claimed will be whatever is needed after the credits on lines 1 to 21 of Step 5 of the T1 personal tax return (on Schedule 1 prior to 2019).  Lines 1 to 21 do not include

bullet dividend tax credits,
bullet student loan interest (but this can be carried forward 5 years),
bullet medical expenses,
bullet charitable donations (but these can be carried forward 5 years), or
bullet political contributions

This can result in a loss of some the above tax credits, because the amount of tuition/education amounts claimed in the year is an automatic calculation, not a choice.

Even if tuition, education and textbook credits are not claimed, the Income Tax Act (ITA) dictates that the unused credits at the end of the year are determined by deducting the amount that the individual "may deduct" for the year.

This can also affect former students with tuition carried forward, as it did in the Tax Court Case Zhang v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 258.  Dr. Zhang, dentist, claimed dividend tax credits instead of using the maximum that she could use for tuition credits.  Unfortunately, according to the ITA, the amount of tuition/education/textbook credits carried forward was still reduced by the maximum amount that she could have claimed.

Tax software will automatically claim the maximum amount for tuition/education/textbooks, as will the Detailed Canadian Tax and RRSP Calculator.

Education and Textbook Amount Tax Credits

The Federal 2016 Budget included the following provisions affecting students:

bullet cancel the education and textbook tax credits effective January 1, 2017, but maintain the tuition tax credit.  Other income tax provisions such as the tax exemption for scholarship, fellowship and bursary income currently rely on the eligibility for the education tax credit.  Changes will be made to these provisions so that they will be unaffected by the elimination of the education tax credit.
bulletincrease maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students, to $1,800 per year for part-time students, to $1,200 per year for middle-income students, and increase the income thresholds for eligibility.  See Enhancing Canada Student Grants on the 2016 Budget website.
bulletmake 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.  See Making Student Debt More Manageable on the 2016 Budget website.

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.

See above for notes on what provinces have announced for the education and textbook amount tax credits for 2017.

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 T2202 Tuition and Enrolment 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 that started 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.

TaxTips.ca Resources

Tax Information for Students

Transfer or carry-forward of unused tuition, education or textbook amounts

Courses taken outside Canada - tuition and education tax credits

Private school tuition fees

Persons with disabilities

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resources

S1-F2-C1: Qualifying Student and the Education and Textbook Tax Credits - Updated as of December 12, 2018

S1-F2-C2: Tuition Tax Credit

Line 32300 (line 323 prior to 2019) Your tuition, education and textbook amounts

Revised: October 01, 2021

 

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