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Old 21.01.2009, 15:57
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Stauff Stauff is offline
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Re: Maintaining Canadian residential ties

My understanding of the situation is that since you are a student, you are by definition out of the country temporarily. You will always have to pay taxes in Canada while a student. Fortunately for you, the tax code recently changed and the majority of your stipend will now be considered a fellowship that is non-taxable, but you still have to fill out the tax form and send it in. Technically, if you don't owe any taxes, which is probably the case for you if all of your income is non-taxable, then you don't have to file. However, as the terms of the statue defining what parts of stipends are non-taxable are to some degree open to interpretation, it is in my opinion to file, and get it on the record that you are claiming this as non-taxable. The more it looks like you are avoiding taxes when they actually decide to look at you, the closer they will look, regardless of whether you have done anything wrong, and these guys can usually find something, even if it is small, to justify their inquest.

Besides, you are still eligible for the GST credit which is actually cash in your pocket, and you will keep your health card as long as you yearly register with them using the appropriate form to certify that you are enrolled full time as a student.

Furthermore, you get LARGE tax breaks of $400/month for being a full time student. Even if you cannot use them, you can pass them to parents or grandparents, regardless of whether they are contributing to your education. Thus you would be throwing away about $750/yr in tax breaks. Additionally, the unused portion moves forward, so if you returned after your Ph.D. you would at least for the first year back have this as your own tax break.

As a Ph.D. student, there really is no justification for "thinking" you might owe taxes, and just not filing them. Not to mention how many possible Canadian Ph.Ds could there be in Switzerland starting this year? You just posted to a public forum. If they see this and decide to track you down...say goodnight Gracie.
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