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 and textbook amounts are non-refundable tax credits. The 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:
- Alberta's Bill 15, Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2017 made technical changes so that the education tax credit and carry-forward does not rely on the existence of the federal education tax credit and carry-forward.
- The BC 2017 Budget announced that the BC Education Tax Credit would continue for 2017, and be eliminated for the 2018 and subsequent taxation years. That budget was not passed, and the tax credit was retained for 2017, but eliminated by the BC 2018 Budget for the 2019 and subsequent taxation years.
- The Manitoba 2017 Budget announced that the Manitoba Education Tax Credit will not be eliminated.
- Newfoundland & Labrador appears to be keeping 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.
- The Prince Edward Island 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:
- BC's 2018 Budget proposes to eliminate 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.
- The Ontario 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 Bill 10 to eliminate the education tax credit for the 2017 and later taxation years.
Tuition Tax Credit
The tuition tax credit is available in all provinces/territories except for New Brunswick (as of 2017+), Ontario (2018+) and Saskatchewan (2018+).
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:
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.
When tax credits are claimed on the tax return, the dividend tax credit is applied after the calculation of credits for tuition and education. The tuition/education amount claimed will be whatever is needed after the credits on lines 1 to 21 of Schedule 1. Lines 1 to 21 do not include the dividend tax credit, nor do they include student loan interest, medical expenses, or charitable or political donations. This can result in a loss of tax credits if a student has significant Canadian dividend income, because the amount of tuition/education amounts claimed in the year is an automatic calculation, not a choice.
The Federal 2016 Budget included the following provisions affecting students:
- 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.
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 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 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:
- Transfer or carry-forward of unused tuition, education or textbook amounts
- Courses taken outside Canada - tuition and education tax credits
- S1-F2-C1: Qualifying Student and the Education and Textbook Tax Credits - Updated as of December 12, 2018
Revised: February 16, 2019
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