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  • Writer's pictureJacob Moolan


If you are an international student, you probably would have heard of the “Welcome Package” or “Welcome to Canada package” during your first tax return filing. What is it? Is it real? Does the Canadian government give free money to new international students as a welcome gift? The answer is NO.

Currently, there are no programs under the federal or the provincial government called the Welcome Package. It is a fancy name given by accountants to the GST/HST Credit and Ontario Trillium benefits (OTB) combined. GST/HST Credit and OTB are paid to low-income taxpayers regardless of their immigration status. Anyone in Ontario with a family income below a certain amount is automatically eligible for these credits when they file the taxes. Usually, a new international student will have not much income as they are in school and work part-time, get eligible for it and get their credits as quarterly and monthly payments.

Students who came to Canada during the last few months of the calendar year usually do not file a tax return for that year since they did not have any income. When it's time to file taxes for the following year, the tax preparer files for the current year, as well as the prior year which doubles up the GST/HST credit and OTB, and is then presented to them as the "Welcome Package".

Make sure your tax preparer is only filing tax returns for the year you have been in Canada and not for any additional years to get the extra money. As a taxpayer, you are responsible for the tax returns filed. CRA can reassess your return anytime in the next 6 years and ask you to pay back the money with interest if you are not eligible for it.

Here at Kanac, we ensure that you understand what we file for you and you get what you are entitled to. Like and follow Kanac for tax tips and updates.

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