Taxation situation for PDF working at McGill

There are two types of income tax in Canada – federal (national) and provincial (Quebec only).

All postdocs at McGill pay federal tax to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This is usually deducted at source from your paycheck. Check with your PI or departmental Human Resources administrator for more information.

At McGill, and across Quebec, postdocs are classified as “stagiaires” (trainees) and therefore do not pay provincial tax to Revenu Quebec. Everyone in Canada fills out their own tax returns, and sends them into the CRA and Revenu Quebec at the end of each fiscal year. The end of the fiscal year in Canada is 31st of March, so the deadline for tax returns is April 30th.

There are a number of ways to file your tax return:

  • Personally: You can collect forms and information packs from Canada Post shops, and fill out the forms yourself. Software such as Turbotax can help you calculate your amounts.
  • Tax professionals: Professional services such as H&R Block will fill out all information for you, for a fee.
  • Online: You must mail your tax return in to the relevant agencies the first year that you are in Canada, but after the first time you have filed, you can register to complete your tax return online with Netfile.

Each year, in February, McGill will put the relevant tax slips for you into your Minerva account. For federal taxes, this is the T4A form, and for provincial, the Relevé 1. The Relevé 1 form should have your income coded as RB (“revenu de bourse”, or scholarship) which is the code that conveys tax-free status. If your R1 form does not state this code, contact your departmental HR administrator.

There are a number of deductions that you can apply for on your tax return – these include childcare benefits, public transit rebates, cost of relocation, rebates for living alone, etc. For these deductions, check out the CRA website or ask a tax professional. These can be very helpful i.e. reimbursing you for the costs of moving to Canada. Keep all receipts for transit/childcare/relocation costs to enable to you claim.

3 Responses to Taxes

  1. From what I can tell on the Education Quebec site (, only foreign postdocs qualify for this exemption. But from this article it sounds like all postdocs qualify, regardless of their origin? Just about to start as a postdoc at McGill, so interested in these details.

  2. Reza Maram says:

    The Quebec provincial tax rules have changed. As such, postdocs are classified as employees and they have to pay the provincial tax as well, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s