Effective January 1, 2014, the Graduate Retention Rebate will be eliminated. Graduates are still able to receive the rebate for the 2013 tax year.
The GRR was introduced to keep new graduates in Nova Scotia. However, young graduate retention numbers clearly show there has been no improvement in retention. After seven years with tax credits, graduates continue to leave at the same pace. Since the program began in 2009, the number of new graduates aged 20-29 leaving the province has steadily increased, peaking last year at a net loss of 2,600 people.
Studies on Canadian migration patterns show tax credits like the GRR do not play a role in decisions about where to live. Wages and the availability of jobs are the most important factors for young graduates deciding where to live. New programs will be focused on helping students while they remain in school, encouraging the private sector to create job opportunities for new graduates, and modernizing the apprenticeship system.
In 2014-2015 the province will spend over $625 million on support for post-secondary students and new graduates. This is an increase of $13.9 million from last year and an increase of $168.1 million from 2007-2008.
The province has invested more than $123-million in student assistance over the past three years, making it easier for students to access post-secondary assistance and graduate with less debt. This includes the Nova Scotia bursary program, which puts $1,300 directly in the hands of each post-secondary student.
Information on Claiming the Graduate Retention Rebate
The Graduate Retention Rebate replaced 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 during the years 2009 to 2013.
Graduate Retention Rebate Amounts
University graduates (bachelor, master and doctorate) during the years 2009 to 2013 are eligible to reduce their Nova Scotia income taxes by a maximum of $2,500 per year for the year they graduate and for each successive year during the years 2009 to 2013.
For individuals who completed diploma or certificate programs (from college or university) during the years 2009 to 2013, the Graduate Retention Rebate can reduce their Nova Scotia income taxes by a maximum of $1,250 per year for the year they graduate and for each successive year during the years 2009 to 2013.
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 after January 1, 2009 and before December 31, 2013. 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 for the 2009 to 2013 tax years.
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.
Attach a copy of your degree, diploma or certificate 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 for each year that you are eligible during the program’s operation from 2009 to 2013. Within this period, you are eligible to claim the rebate for the years that you are a resident of Nova Scotia.
If you graduated during the years 2009 to 2013, and resided in another province before relocating to Nova Scotia, you are 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 to establish your eligibility for the 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, and 2013. Since he filed a NS tax return in 2009, John can also file a T1 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 thereafter, and can claim the rebate again in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
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 and 2013. To claim the rebate, Jim should contact the Canada Revenue Agency to request an adjustment to establish his eligibility for the Graduate Retention Rebate based on his 2009 graduation.