Disclaimer: I am not an accountant, I am just sharing based on my experience. Read more about my disclaimer here.
Canada is very welcoming to international students from all over the world. It is easy as an international to consider yourself as a temporary citizen and fail to file your taxes. As a resident in another country, it is your responsibility to be a law-abiding citizen by obeying all the rules and regulations of the country including paying taxes.
While living in the UK as an international student, I never had to file for taxes as the system is able to reconcile your earnings and status through your National Insurance number. However, In Canada, the system is quite different.
Whether you earn an income or not, it is important to file your taxes as an international student in Canada. There are a number of reasons why you should file your taxes as an international student.
I have personally benefited from tax refunds from both the UK and Canada. As an international student in Canada, you are eligible to claim tuition, GST and any other credits provincial credit. Depending on what your part-time job is, chances are you are taxed highly than you should. This is a chance for the government to refund you for taxes overpaid. Giving away money to charities including offering at church counts towards how much taxes you should pay as you may be refunded if you are overpaying.
I am sure there are young people like me who do not take the time to look at their financial information throughout the course of the year. Tax season is a good time to look over your earnings in the past year. This gives you the chance to have all the information you need whether you are planning to apply for financial aid or making big purchases in the nearest future.
It is important to disclose your earnings to the government. The reason is that there is a chance you are overpaying or underpaying taxes. Failure to file taxes especially when you are underpaying taxes may attract penalties and possibly jail time depending on the severity of the penalty. As an international student, it is important to do this, especially in the long run when you might consider being a permanent resident in Canada. For more on why you should file your taxes, read here.