398 – Tax credit for tuition or examination fees

You can claim a tax credit for your tuition or examination fees paid for 2016 or for 1997 through 2015, provided they have never been used to calculate a tax credit for tuition or examination fees. You can also transfer the unused portion of the tax credit that relates to your tuition or examination fees paid for the year to one of your or your spouse's parents or grandparents.

To claim or transfer a tax credit for tuition or examination fees, complete Schedule T and enclose it with your return. If you are transferring the unused portion of the tax credit to one of the individuals mentioned above, he or she must complete Part D of Schedule A of his or her return.

Even if you are not claiming or transferring a tax credit for tuition or examination fees for 2016, you should still complete Schedule T to determine the cumulative amount of fees that you can carry forward and enclose the schedule with your return.

Even if your tuition or examination fees were paid by another person, you can claim a tax credit for the fees or transfer the unused portion of the tax credit to one of the people mentioned above (provided the transferred portion relates to the fees paid for the year). If the fees were paid or reimbursed by an employer, see “Tuition or examination fees paid or reimbursed by an employer” below.

You cannot claim the following amounts as tuition or examination fees:

  • the amount from box A of your RL-8 slip:
    • if you are under 18, this amount can be claimed on line 367 as an amount for post-secondary studies by the person who is claiming an amount for a child under 18 enrolled in post-secondary studies with regard to you,
    • if you are 18 or older, you can complete Schedule S to find out if you can transfer to your father or mother an amount representing the recognized parental contribution to your education;
  • the cost of board and lodging, books, student association fees, travel and parking;
  • expenses for which no official receipt was issued;
  • the tuition or examination fees paid for a previous year throughout which you did not reside in Canada.

Tuition fees

You can claim a tax credit for your tuition fees paid for 2016 to:

  1. an institution at which you were enrolled in a post-secondary program;
  2. an institution recognized by the Minister of Revenue, if you were enrolled at the institution for the purpose of acquiring or upgrading skills necessary for a remunerated activity, provided you were 16 or older at the end of the year;
  3. a university outside Canada that you attended full time for at least three consecutive weeks (the course of study must lead to a diploma); or
  4. an institution in the United States at which you were enrolled in a post-secondary program, provided you lived in Canada near the U.S. border throughout 2016 and regularly commuted between your home and the institution.

The educational institutions referred to in points 1 and 2 must be located in Canada unless, during the period for which the tuition fees were paid, you were living outside Canada temporarily.

Examination fees

You can claim a tax credit for your examination fees if they were paid for 2016 in order to take:

  • an examination that you must pass to become a member of a professional order named in Schedule I to the Professional Code;
  • an examination with a professional organization in Canada or the United States that you must pass to obtain a permit to practise issued by a professional order named in Schedule I to the Professional Code or a title granted by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries;
  • a preliminary examination that you must pass to take one of the above examinations; or
  • an examination required to obtain a professional status, a licence or certification to practise a profession or a trade.

Minimum amount of tuition or examination fees

You can claim a credit for your tuition or examination fees, or transfer the unused portion of the credit to one of your or your spouse's parents or grandparents, only if the fees total more than $100 for the year.

Rate of the tax credit

In 2013, the rate of the tax credit was reduced from 20% to 8%. However, the 20% rate remains in effect for the following tuition and examination fees, provided you have not yet used them to claim the credit:

  • fees paid for 1997 through 2012;
  • fees paid for 2013 for a semester of post-secondary studies that began before March 28, 2013;
  • fees paid to an educational institution recognized by the Minister of Revenue for training, other than training that is part of an institutional program at the post-secondary level, in which you were enrolled before March 29, 2013;
  • fees paid for 2013 for an examination you took in 2013 before May 1, 2013.

Tuition or examination fees paid or reimbursed by an employer

If your tuition or examination fees were paid or reimbursed in whole or in part by your employer or your father's or mother's employer, you can claim a credit for the fees the employer paid or reimbursed, provided they are included in your income or in your father's or mother's income.

Fees reimbursed under a vocational training program or a program designed to assist athletes

You can claim a tax credit for the tuition or examination fees reimbursed to you under a vocational training program or a program designed to assist athletes, provided the amount of the reimbursement is included in your income.

Unused portion of your tuition or examination fees paid for previous years (lines 34 and 44 of Schedule T)

On line 34 of Schedule T, enter the amount from line 40 of your Schedule T for 2015 or the amount shown in that respect on your notice of assessment or reassessment for 2015.

On line 44 of Schedule T, enter the amount from line 48 of your Schedule T for 2015 or the amount shown in that respect on your notice of assessment or reassessment for 2015.

If tuition or examination fees were paid after 1996, but in 2015 you did not calculate the amount that could be carried forward:

  • enter the result of the following calculation on line 34 of Schedule T: the eligible fees paid for 1997 through 2012 plus those paid for 2013 that give entitlement to the tax credit at the 20% rate (see “Rate of the tax credit” above), minus the portion of the total that has already been used to calculate the credit for previous years or has been transferred to one of your or your spouse's parents or grandparents;
  • enter the result of the following calculation on line 44 of Schedule T: the eligible fees paid for 2013 that give entitlement to the tax credit at the 8% rate (see “Rate of the tax credit” above) plus those paid for 2014 and 2015, minus the portion of those fees that has already been used to calculate the credit for previous years or has been transferred to one of your or your spouse's parents or grandparents.
Important

If the fees paid in any given year are $100 or less, you cannot include them in your calculations for lines 34 and 44 of Schedule T.

Example

Cecilia's tuition fees were $120 for 2011 and $80 for 2012. For 2013, her fees were $1,000 ($90 in fees to which the 20% tax credit rate applies and $910 in fees to which the 8% tax credit rate applies). Cecilia has never claimed the tax credit for tuition or examination fees and has never transferred any fees to her parents or grandparents. She has never completed Schedule T to calculate the amount of tuition or examination fees that she could carry forward.

Cecilia must enter $210 on line 34 of her Schedule T for 2016 ($120 for fees paid in 2011 and $90 for fees paid in 2013). She has no eligible amounts to use to claim the credit for 2012 because her total fees for 2012 were not greater than $100. Cecilia can take into account the $90 paid in 2013 to which the 20% tax credit rate applies because the total fees paid for 2013 ($1,000) exceed $100.

Cecilia enters $910 on line 44 of her Schedule T for 2016 (the portion of the fees paid in 2013 to which the 8% tax credit rate applies).

Carry-forward of tuition or examination fees

You can carry forward to a future year your eligible tuition or examination fees for 1997 through 2016, provided you have not already used the fees to calculate this credit or not transferred them to one of your or your spouse's parents or grandparents. To calculate the amount that can be carried forward, complete Schedule T and enclose it with your return.

For more information, consult the brochure Tax Credit for Tuition or Examination Fees (IN-112-V).

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