Frequently asked questions about transferring and carrying forward tuition and education amounts
Shouldn't the person who paid the tuition get to claim it?
In a perfect world, yes. But the CRA rules state that the student must first claim the tuition fees on their own return, regardless of who paid them. Once the student's tax payable is reduced to zero, they can transfer leftover amounts to their spouse, parent, grandparent, or their spouse’s parent or grandparent.
How much can the student transfer?
The student can transfer up to $5,000 on their federal return, and an additional $5,000 on their provincial return ($6,922 for Ontario residents), minus the amount the student used on their own return.
Does the student have to transfer their unused amounts?
No. The student can choose to carry forward the unused amounts and claim them in a future year, or transfer some of the unused amounts and carry forward the rest.
What are the benefits of transferring the unused amounts vs. carrying them forward?
Transferring unused amounts to someone in your family helps that person lower their balance owing. On the other hand, any amounts the student doesn’t transfer can be carried forward. The carried forward amounts can be used to reduce the student’s balance owing in the future.
Can the student split the amount they transfer between parents?
No. Only one person can receive the transfer. If the student is transferring their provincial amount as well as their federal amount, the same person must receive both transfers.
Which parent should the student transfer to? Higher or lower income?
This credit isn’t affected by income, so you can transfer tuition to either parent.
How much should the student transfer?
Only as much as the recipient needs to reduce their tax payable to zero. CRA rules state that the person receiving the transfer can only claim current year tuition and education amounts. This means that they won’t be able to carry any excess forward and they won’t be able to transfer it back to the student. If you transfer too much (i.e., more than the recipient needs to reduce their tax payable to zero), no one will get to use the amounts in the current year or in the future.
If the student has amounts left over after transferring as much as they could, they should carry the excess forward. When the student has a higher taxable income in the future, they will be able to use the carried forward amounts to reduce their balance owing.
Can one parent claim a transfer from one child and the other parent from a different child?
Yes. Each child should indicate on their paper T2202 or T2202A who they designate to receive their transfer.
Can the student transfer amounts that he or she carried forward from a previous year?
No. The CRA only allows amounts from the current year to be transferred. The CRA requires amounts carried forward from previous years to be used on the student’s tax return to reduce their balance owing.
Is there an age limit for a student transferring tuition?
There is no age limit for a student transferring tuition to a parent, grandparent, spouse, or common-law partner.
- How do I transfer my unused tuition credits to a parent or spouse?
- How do I enter tuition transferred from a spouse or child?
- Frequently asked questions about tuition and education amounts
- Transferring and carrying forward amounts (CRA description and example)
- Tax Credit for Tuition or Examination Fees Transferred by a Child (Revenu Québec)