Starting in 2009, the Province of Nova Scotia is introducing a new incentive for post-secondary graduates to live in Nova Scotia: the Graduate Retention Rebate.
The Graduate Retention Rebate replaces the Graduate Tax Credit available for individuals who graduated in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Any unused amounts from the Graduate Tax Credit can still apply to reduce provincial taxes two years following the year of graduation.
Even if individuals claimed the Graduate Tax Credit for one degree or diploma, they may be eligible to claim the Graduate Retention Rebate for another credential so long as they graduated in 2009 or after.
Graduate Retention Rebate Amounts
- University graduates (bachelor, master and doctorate) in 2009 and after are eligible to reduce their Nova Scotia income taxes by a maximum of $2,500 per year in the year of graduation and in each of the next five years to a maximum of $15,000 over the six-year period.
- For individuals who completed diploma or certificate programs (from college or university) in 2009 and after, the Graduate Retention Rebate provides a tax credit worth a maximum of $1,250 per year, totaling a maximum of $7,500 over the six-year period.
- The Graduate Retention Rebate is non-refundable. Any amounts not used in a tax year to reduce provincial income tax to $0 cannot be carried forward.
To be eligible:
- You must have completed an eligible program from an approved institution on or after January 1, 2009. Eligible programs are least 12 weeks in duration within a period of 15 consecutive weeks. This includes eligible post-secondary programs outside Nova Scotia.
- Approved institutions are designated authorities under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. Visit the Canada Student Loans Program website to see the list of approved institutions.
- You must be a resident of Nova Scotia and file a Nova Scotia tax return for each year the rebate is claimed.
How to Apply
- The Graduate Retention Rebate can be claimed starting in the 2009 tax year.
- You can claim this credit only for one degree, diploma, certificate or program, even if you graduate from more than one post-secondary eligible program.
- Claim the Graduate Retention Rebate on form NS 428 of the T1 package
You can attach a copy of your credential to your tax return (paper version). If you are filing electronically, keep all of your documents for verification by the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Claim this rebate within the six-year period starting in the year you graduate. Within this six-year period, you are eligible to claim the rebate for the years that you are a resident of Nova Scotia.
- If you graduated in 2009 or after, but resided in another province than relocate to Nova Scotia, you can be eligible to claim the rebate for the years in which you are a resident of Nova Scotia. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency to make an adjustment and update your tax information for eligibility to Graduate Retention Rebate.
- If you did not claim the Graduate Retention Rebate in a year in which you are eligible, you can request an adjustment to your T1 return. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1.800.959.8281.
Examples of the Graduate Retention Rebate
Example A: In 2010 John, a Nova Scotia resident learns about the Graduate Retention Rebate. John graduated from an Alberta college in 2009, has lived in Nova Scotia since 2009 and filed a 2009 NS tax return. John is eligible for the Graduate Retention Rebate of $1,250 for 2010. If John remains in NS and files a NS return, he can claim the rebate in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Since he filed a NS tax return in 2009, John can also file a T1 re-Adjustment with CRA to change his 2009 NS tax return to claim the $1,250 for 2009.
Example B: In 2010, Heather re-locates to Nova Scotia after completing her university degree in the spring of 2010. In her 2010 Nova Scotia tax return, Heather is eligible to claim the $2,500 Graduate Retention Rebate. She remains in the province for the next 10 years. She can claim the rebate again in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Example C: Jim graduated from trades school in 2009 and re-locates from his home in British Columbia to Nova Scotia in 2011. He is eligible for the Graduate Retention Rebate of $1,250 in 2011 because of his 2009 graduation. If Jim continues to be a resident of Nova Scotia, he can claim the rebate again in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Jim cannot claim the rebate in 2015 because in 2015, the number of years since graduation exceeds the six-year period. To claim the rebate, Jim should contact the Canada Revenue Agency to request an adjustment to update his entitlement for the Graduate Retention Rebate based on his 2009 graduation.