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Professional licensing exam fees - tax deductable?

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Newbie
Feb 22, 2008
4 posts

Professional licensing exam fees - tax deductable?

To the tax gurus:

In order to ENTER my profession, I have to pass proficiency examinations (aimed at having the professional body here in Canada recognize my credentials from abroad).

I am working in my professional field, but not in the regulated speciality I am about to enter.

Can I deduct the (considerable) expenses for the proficiency examinations for income tax purposes? If so, where?

Many thanks!
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Deal Fanatic
Jul 1, 2007
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I think you should be able to.

I'm deducting my CFA enrollment expense, we'll see how it goes.
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Aug 18, 2005
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Thalo wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2008 6:58 pm
I think you should be able to.

I'm deducting my CFA enrollment expense, we'll see how it goes.
Not correct. You can only deduct the normal membership fees you are required to pay.

You CANNOT deduct fees for initiation, examinations, etc.
Annual membership dues do not include initiation fees, licences, special assessments or charges for anything other than the organization's ordinary operating costs. You cannot claim charges for pension plans as membership dues even if your receipts show them as dues.
(source)
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Aug 1, 2007
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From the CRA website...

Generally, a course qualifies if it was taken at the post-secondary level or (for individuals aged 16 or over at the end of the year) it develops or improves skills in an occupation at an educational institution that has been certified by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC).

If your fees were paid or reimbursed to you by your employer, you can claim them only if the payment or reimbursement was included in your income.

For you to claim tuition fees paid to an educational institution in Canada, the institution has to give you either an official tax receipt or a completed Form T2202A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate.

---
Things like driving school or the Canadian Securities Course qualify. I'm not sure about something like the CFA since the organization is based in the US. Does anyone know more about this?
[OP]
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Feb 22, 2008
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cmackie wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2008 11:25 pm
From the CRA website...

Generally, a course qualifies if it was taken at the post-secondary level or (for individuals aged 16 or over at the end of the year) it develops or improves skills in an occupation at an educational institution that has been certified by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC).

If your fees were paid or reimbursed to you by your employer, you can claim them only if the payment or reimbursement was included in your income.

For you to claim tuition fees paid to an educational institution in Canada, the institution has to give you either an official tax receipt or a completed Form T2202A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate.

---
Things like driving school or the Canadian Securities Course qualify. I'm not sure about something like the CFA since the organization is based in the US. Does anyone know more about this?
To clarify: The proficiency examination is held at an approved Canadian university, the examiners are university staff and the payment for the exam is made to the professional licensing body. I received a receipt for the payment, but no special tax forms. We are talking about a post-graduate level examination.

My hunch is that it should qualify for tax deduction; it is a significant step to improve professional qualifications, but I want to make sure I fill the tax forms out correctly! Where would I put it as a deduction, if you guys agree that it qualifies?
Member
Sep 3, 2004
372 posts
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I write actuarial exams and from my research I do not believe that you are allowed to claim exam fees for deduction. There are 3 places that seem like you might be able to claim them:

1) Annual union, professional or like dues - Line 212
Annual membership dues do not include initiation fees, licences, special assessments or charges for anything other than the organization's ordinary operating costs. You cannot claim charges for pension plans as membership dues even if your receipts show them as dues.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/individual ... enu-e.html

2) Tuition fees - Line 320 (Schedule 11)
For you to claim tuition fees paid to an educational institution in Canada, the institution has to give you either an official tax receipt or a completed Form T2202A...
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/individual ... ble-e.html

3) Education and Textbook Amounts - Lines 321-322 (Schedule 11)
Again you'll need a T2202A.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/individual ... on_amounts

I don't think you should risk it.
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Jan 27, 2007
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cattlerepairman wrote:
Feb 24th, 2008 12:37 am
To clarify: The proficiency examination is held at an approved Canadian university, the examiners are university staff and the payment for the exam is made to the professional licensing body. I received a receipt for the payment, but no special tax forms. We are talking about a post-graduate level examination.

My hunch is that it should qualify for tax deduction; it is a significant step to improve professional qualifications, but I want to make sure I fill the tax forms out correctly! Where would I put it as a deduction, if you guys agree that it qualifies?
Key word is "hunch" - they aren't deductible, they don't qualify. Fees for writing and attending the School of Accountancy and for writing the Uniform Final Exam are not deductible - annual dues are.

You can try it, you are welcome too in the self-filing tax system we have here in Canada - but I wouldn't be surprised if the CRA comes knockin especially if the amounts are significant as you seem to indicate. If you get a tuition slip from the provider that indicates they can be claimed - but I doubt you will get a slip.

The only other place I know of is L212 - see post by Jucius above for the skinny on that one.

You may want to ask others in the same boat if they are claiming it and how, or ask the "professional licensing body".

My hunch is that you (and Thalo above) are out of luck. You are welcome to try - and you may never get asked about it - by my gut feeling is that you are SOL.
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Here is another question on the same topic: I do have some professional association dues that I can legitimately deduct on my tax return.

Can I deduct the whole amount I paid including the GST, or can I only deduct the base amount?
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Deal Fanatic
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I'm gonna do it anyway. 15% tuition credit on a $1000 amount isn't enough to make it worthwhile for them to audit me.

Anyway, it "develops or improves skills in an occupation"... how do I find out if something is HRSDC approved? I think Canadian Securities Institute courses are eligible if you pay for them yourself (think they even issue tax receipts), no reason CFA shouldn't be.
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Jucius Maximus wrote:
Feb 24th, 2008 2:57 am
Here is another question on the same topic: I do have some professional association dues that I can legitimately deduct on my tax return.

Can I deduct the whole amount I paid including the GST, or can I only deduct the base amount?
I have always included the GST, unless you get it back through the Employee/Partner GST rebate (GST370). If you aren't filing that form, include the GST.

BTW - if you aren't getting reimbursed for professional dues by your employer - you should be. If you get reimbursed and are still claiming - you are brave!
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Thalo wrote:
Feb 24th, 2008 6:49 am
I'm gonna do it anyway. 15% tuition credit on a $1000 amount isn't enough to make it worthwhile for them to audit me.

Anyway, it "develops or improves skills in an occupation"... how do I find out if something is HRSDC approved? I think Canadian Securities Institute courses are eligible if you pay for them yourself (think they even issue tax receipts), no reason CFA shouldn't be.
I am going to snitch on you.....lol.

Beauty of our tax system is that you can claim pretty much anything you want. Just have your ducks in a row if they ask for additional information...which may not even happen.
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If you're unsure at all, I'd say it would be worth spending a few minutes (most probably waiting on hold) actually calling the CRA or even the HRDC. That being said, three different people gave me 3 different answers for something unrelated the last time I spoke to them.
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dutchca wrote:
Feb 24th, 2008 5:22 pm
I am going to snitch on you.....lol.

Beauty of our tax system is that you can claim pretty much anything you want. Just have your ducks in a row if they ask for additional information...which may not even happen.
Yeah, I figure as long as I claim all the little things, like interest on my checking account, they'll consider me to be very honest and compliant and probably won't audit me. If it does become an issue, at least I can argue the fact that CSI courses are tax deductible, why wouldn't CFA be?
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dutchca wrote:
Feb 24th, 2008 5:19 pm
BTW - if you aren't getting reimbursed for professional dues by your employer - you should be. If you get reimbursed and are still claiming - you are brave!
My employer does not reimburse me but I will be getting on their case about that ... :)
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Jul 15, 2003
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I just called the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and CFA is NOT listed as one of the educational institutions certified for tax credit purposes.
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