Are you working towards a certification or professional status in a trade? If so, you may be eligible to deduct the examination fees on your taxes. If you paid at least $100 in examination fees and meet the criteria, you may be able to claim them under the tuition tax credit, which reduces the amount of tax you owe, if any.
In recognition that college and university aren’t the right paths for everyone, the federal government introduced tax measures for individuals pursuing a professional status. Students can claim the tuition tax credit for examination fees paid toward obtaining a professional status or license at a qualifying college, university, educational institution, professional associate, or a government ministry.
“Individuals working in the trades often don’t realize they can claim their examination fees as a tuition expense,” says James Collins, a chartered professional accountant in Toronto, Ontario. “It was introduced in the 2011 federal budget to level the playing field and lend a helping hand to those not attending traditional education like college or university.”
The tax measure isn’t just for workers in the trades. If you work in accounting, law, or medicine, you can claim the deduction, too. Prior to the tax relief, the tuition tax credit could only be claimed if the examination fees were already included as part of your tuition fees.
Do I Qualify?
You can claim your examination fee as a tuition expense, provided it meets the following conditions:
- The examination fee is a requirement for obtaining your professional status or to be certified or licensed as a person in the trades.
- Your examination fees are paid to an educational institution, professional association, government ministry, or other related institution.
- The certification or license allows you to practice your trade in Canada.
Usually, GST/HST is added to examination fees. The good news is you can claim these taxes as part of the tuition tax credit.
Examination Fees That Don’t Qualify
There are some instances where you may not be able to claim your examination fees paid. You will not be able to claim examination fees paid toward occupational, professional, or trade under the following circumstances:
- If the examination fees are paid on behalf of or reimbursed to you or your employer, and the reimbursement is not included as part of your income.
- If the examination fees are paid under an assistance program of the federal or provincial government for the entry or re-entry into the labor force, provided the reimbursement is not included as part of your income.
- If the examination fees paid in a year is not greater than $100.
How to Claim Examination Fees
To claim the tuition deduction for your examination fees, you must complete federal Schedule 11 and the corresponding provincial schedule when you file your income tax.
If you don’t need to utilize the whole tuition deduction to lower your tax payable to zero, you have a couple of options:
- You may be able to transfer the unused amount to your parent, grandparent, spouse or common-law partner.
- Your other option is to carry the unused portion of the credit forward and apply it in a future year.
TurboTax software offers an easy step-by-step process to report your income and claim tuition fees including the examination fees. Consider TurboTax Live Assist & Review if you need further guidance, and get unlimited help and advice as you do your taxes, plus a final review before you file. Or, choose TurboTax Live Full Service* and have one of our tax experts do your return from start to finish.
*TurboTax Live™ Full Service is not available in Quebec.
References & Resources
- James Collins, Chartered Professional Accountant; Invesco; Toronto, Ontario
- Canada Revenue Agency: Occupational, Trade or Professional examinations
- Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images