Leaving Saskatchewan? The grad retention credit may persuade you otherwise

You can receive up to $20,000 just by staying in Saskatchewan! How? The Graduate Retention Program offers eligible post-secondary graduates who live in or have moved to Saskatchewan, a tax credit for tuition fees paid.

What does it mean?

Depending on the level of post-secondary program you completed, the maximum rebate rewarded ranges from $3,000 to $20,000.

After graduation, the rebate is paid out over seven years as long as you continue to work in Saskatchewan (10% for the first four years, and 20% for the remaining three years).

As of 2015 and going forward, the credit is non-refundable. Therefore, if you have less provincial tax than the rebate amount, it no longer generates a refund. Instead, the unused credits carryforward and can be applied to future taxes up to ten years after graduation. The education tax credits are utilized first then the rebates are calculated accordingly. The maximum lifetime tuition rebate is $20,000 per person.

What’s in it for me?

The longer you stay in Saskatchewan to cheer for the Riders, the faster your student debt can be paid off and the more padded your pockets will be with green and white too. The program is an incentive to build your career in Saskatchewan. Being non-refundable, individuals must start to earn more income (minimum between $18,500 and $35,000) to utilize the full rebate each year.

What to Avoid?

Ensure you have applied for the program within seven years of graduation. Graduates from 2010 can still apply and benefit from the years when the credit was refundable.

If you are completing another post-graduate program and earning little income, wait to apply using the second program (depending on rebate values). This way, carry-forward years are not wasted and the credit can be used when you start earning more income to save on taxes.

Now What?

Confirm that your post-secondary program is eligible and apply!

Amend any previous tax returns if the credit was not initially applied for and remember to include the rebate on your personal tax return each year. The rebate amount can be found on your original certificate and yearly Notice of Assessment from CRA going forward.

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