How to File Your Taxes

The deadline for filing taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) each year is April 30th (or the next business day if April 30th falls on a weekend). Filing taxes can be confusing. This page tries to outline the process and point to resources available to UW students. The information presented here is not guaranteed to be correct, and it may change in future years. Consult for up-to-date information.

International Students

If you moved to Canada during the past year, also apply for the GST/HST credit for the year you moved to Canada by submitting form RC151 if you do not have children or form RC66 if you do have children under 19 years of age.

Tax Documents

You should obtain all of the following documents before filing your taxes:

  • T4: This lists pay for work, such as TA pay.
  • T4A: This lists scholarships and research funding. If you are a full-time bachelor's, master's, or PhD student (not a postdoc), you can claim a scholarship exemption, so the value listed in this document is not taxable. (You still need to declare it on your taxes.)
  • T2202: This is a tuition and enrolment certificate. You can claim a credit for tuition you pay. This credit can be carried on to future years or transferred to an eligible family member.
  • Donation Receipts (if applicable): If you made a donation (for example, to the Grad Studies Endowment Fund), you can claim a tax credit.

Your T4 is available on Workday. Go to Menu > Benefits and Pay > My Tax Documents.

The other documents are available on Quest. Go to Finances > Tax Documents.

You should also have access to your Account Summary on Quest. You can claim a medical expense tax credit for UHIP Health Insurance, GSA Health Plan, and GSA Dental Plan.

Other documents you might want include:

  • Rent receipts
  • Your Notice of Assessment from the previous tax year

How to File Your Taxes

There are multiple ways to file your taxes. These include the following...

Free Tax Clinics

One option is free tax clinic. There is one such clinic at the University of Waterloo that specifically caters to students and accepts walk-ins. I highly recommend taking advantage of this service. Just bring your tax documents to the clinic, and someone will help you file your taxes.

Certified Tax Software

There are several programs and services which can be used to file your taxes. (I don't know which ones are good. Does someone else have an opinion?)

Paper Tax Return

You can file your taxes by mail. I don't recommend this option unless you know all the credits you can claim and how to claim them.

Receiving a Refund or Paying a Balanced Owed

It is recommended to set up direct deposit, especially if you might move in the next year. The CRA will send your refund and other benefits via either direct deposit or cheques to your mailing address. You likely qualify for benefits which will be paid in periodic payments over the next year.

If you owe money, pay it to the CRA.

After You File Your Taxes

See After you file your tax return.

The CRA has a service called My Account which you can use to view information about your taxes (including your Notice of Assessment) and make changes to your return after it has been assessed, if necessary.

Keep all your tax documents for at least 6 years.

Notice of Assessment

After your return has been processed, you should receive a Notice of Assessment (NOA) through My Account. (If you want a copy mailed to you, you can call the CRA.) Your NOA tells you how much money the CRA has determined you owe or should get as a refund or credit. If the number on your NOA is the same number that you paid, or your NOA shows a 0 balance or refund, you do not need to do anything. If you owe an additional balance, pay it.

Topic revision: r1 - 2024-04-04 - V3CNA
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