Can I claim both federal and provincial tuition and education amounts?
Yes, unless you live in Québec. All provinces except Québec offer a provincial tuition and education credit similar to the federal credit. Effectively, this means that you get to claim your tuition and education amounts twice.
The provincial credit is calculated from the tuition amount and number of full-time or part-time months that you report federally. Enter these amounts only once. You do not have to separate your tuition into federal and provincial amounts.
If you are eligible for the education amount, you are also eligible for the textbook credit. This amount is automatically calculated when you enter your number of full and part-time months of attendance.
Can I transfer federal amounts to one person and provincial amounts to another?
No. You must choose a single person to receive your federal and provincial tuition transfer.
Can I carry forward these amounts to a future year?
Yes. You can carry forward these amounts until you have enough income to use them all up.
Each year, you first apply the amounts that you have carried forward from last year. Then, if you still have taxable income, you apply whatever portion of current year tuition and education amounts that you need to reduce your taxable income to zero. Any amounts that still remain can be carried forward to next year, or transferred to an eligible person.
You can only transfer current year tuition and education amounts, not amounts carried forward from last year.
When should I claim or carry forward tuition and education amounts?
You must claim these amounts as soon as you have income to claim them against. You can continue to carry forward unused amounts each year until you have used them up.
Can a parent or spouse carry forward transferred amounts?
No. A spouse, parent, or grandparent can only claim current year tuition and education amounts. You cannot transfer to them, nor can they claim, amounts that you carried forward from a previous year. Only the student can claim amounts carried forward.
Is it better to carry forward amounts or to transfer them to someone else?
That depends. It's nice to help someone else reduce their taxes, especially if they helped pay your tuition.
However, you should not transfer more than the person needs to reduce their tax payable to zero, because they cannot carry forward the excess, nor can they transfer it back to you. If you transfer too much, no one (including you) gets to use the excess, either this year or in the future.
Instead, carry the excess forward to a future year when your own income is higher, and you need the additional tax credit. The more you carry forward, the more tax you can reduce in future years.