International students

Work and internships


This page provides an overview of your tax obligations.

For more information, please contact the competent authorities.

Information sessions (in french) are held by Revenu Québec and Revenue Canada. Both agencies will present in the same session on the following dates, see the calendar of activities (in french).
General points

The fiscal year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31. You have until April 30 of the year following a given fiscal year to file your tax return.

In Canada, taxes are deducted at source by employers — meaning that they come directly off your paycheque.

The federal and provincial governments also collect tax revenue indirectly in the form of sales tax on various products and services.


Do I need to file a tax return?

You need to file a tax return if you have to pay tax or to receive a refund for any tax overpayment on your yearly earnings.

However, as a resident of Canada you may be eligible for certain payments or credits, even if you have no income to report or tax to pay. In order to receive these payments or credits, you must file an income tax return.

Note that, since you live in Québec, you have to file two tax returns: one for the federal government, one for the provincial.

You also need to determine your residency status to know how you will be taxed in Canada and whether you need to file a return.

ATTENTION: the determination of an individual's residency status for income tax purposes has nothing to do with the notion of “residence” as understood by Canadian immigration authorities.

International students generally meet the conditions of tax residence when they are in the following situations:

- The student resides in Canada for 183 days or longer in a given tax year;

- The student pays rent in Canada;

- The student has opened a bank account in Canada.

If you are uncertain as to whether you are a tax resident of Canada, complete form NR74, Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada), and send it to the International Tax Services Office.

Your residency status will determine what comes next. Consult the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Québec for more information.

In any case, you are obliged to declare any income earned in Canada or any Canadian scholarships received.

Do I need a Social Insurance Number?

To file a tax return, you need a Social Insurance Number. International students can obtain a SIN only if they work during their studies (details).

If this situation does not apply to you, you still need to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency by completing and submitting form T1261 — Application for a Canada Revenue Agency Individual Tax Number (ITN) for Non-Residents.

Do not fill in the form if you already have a SIN.

You will be issued a tax number.

Enquiries Centre, Human Resources and Social Development Canada
English: 1-800-206-7218
French: 1-800-808-6352

Declaring employment income

If you work during your studies, you must declare your employment income to Revenue Canada. Your employer will supply you with a T4 and an RL-1 slip — the two earnings statements you need to file your return. If you work at École Polytechnique, these forms are generally issued by the school’s Service des finances (B.601).

If you earned any income outside of Canada, you must normally declare it as well. However, since Canada has tax treaties with many countries, you need to determine your personal situation with the competent authorities.


Tax credits for studying

Many international students file tax returns in order to claim a tax credit for tuition, education and textbook amounts.

Keep in mind that any unused part of these amounts (or even the full amount) may be carried forward to future years. International students wishing to stay in Canada after they complete their studies may declare their education amounts for the previous tax year, even if they have no income to declare. They can then carry these credits forward to a year when they are working in Canada and paying income tax. For information on retroactively declaring tuition, education and textbook amounts, contact the Canada Revenue Agency or Revenu Québec.

Students wishing to declare these amounts and receive the income tax credit must obtain the RL-8 slip, indicating the amounts they paid for postsecondary studies. At Polytechnique, tax slips are issued automatically and mailed out before the end of February. You don’t need to ask for them. Just make sure that your mailing address is correct in your student record.

For more information on education-related tax credits:
Revenu Québec
Canada Revenue Agency 


Other tax credits

Other credits can help reduce your amount of taxable income for a given year.

Under certain circumstances, students will qualify for a rebate of the GST (federal goods and services tax) and QST (Québec sales tax) they paid while in Canada.

For more information on the QST credit, click here.
For more information on the GST credit, click here.

The other most common tax credits are related to donations or medical fees. Both the provincial and federal governments also grant a tax credit for dependent children.

Tax credits are listed on the following site: Revenu Québec. You also may be eligible for refundable tax credits.

The federal government also issues certain tax credits, notably with regard to the use of public transport.



Revenu Québec

Revenu Québec’s forms and guides can be downloaded from its website.

You can file your income tax return electronically, or order the forms and publications you need and have them mailed to you.

For more information on filing the Québec tax return, consult the Revenu Québec website.


Canada Revenue Agency

Forms and publications can be downloaded from the Canada Revenue Agency website or ordered for delivery by mail.

For more information

Representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency will give two talks on taxation on campus (see calendar).

You can also attend the tax clinic given by students at HEC Montréal.



For more information:

International Tax Services Office: 1-800-267-5177

Revenu Québec: 1-866-440-2500 or 514 873-2600



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