Why do we ask for this?
We request tax information to determine your income for the year previous to your request for funding and we use standardized documents to ensure all members are assessed equally. The Option C printout from the Canada Revenue Agency (also referred to as “Statement of Income”) includes a brief summary of your income information, and some extra information such as your marital status, whether you have claimed any spousal deductions, and whether you filed education benefits. We will not process your application without this form and do not accept a Revenue Canada Notice of Assessment.
What does an Option C look like?
The Option C does not say “Option C” anywhere on it, but the document is called an Option C (or Statement of Income) by the CRA (don’t ask us why this is!) It should not be confused with the “Notice of Assessment” or “Reassessment” that you are sent automatically. The Option C will have a title of “[YEAR] Assessment – [dd month year]” (ie: 2014 Assessment – 16 Mar 2015). To ensure you have the correct form, make sure the top of it looks like this:
Is an Option C the same as a Notice of Assessment?
No. A Notice of Assessment is the document that you receive after you file your taxes. It is meant for you to keep as a personal record of your tax assessment. The Option C is intended as a proof of income to be provided to requesting agencies (lenders, etc.) and includes some additional information. If you print your tax return from the online CRA system, it will be an Option C. Please do not send out a printout from Turbo Tax or other tax software as these files have not been reviewed by the CRA.
What if I did not file taxes last year?
In Canada, everyone with a Social Insurance Number can file taxes. Failure to file can mean you are not eligible for certain funding opportunities as the tax assessment is the only official proof of income accepted by many organizations. Persons with no income can file, as can those who are dependant on spousal income or in Federal penitentiaries. If you did not file taxes for the year in question, you can file a late return. Contact the CRA for details. During the off season, these can be processed very quickly.
Which tax year do I send?
If you are applying between Jan 1 and May 30 of a given year, include your tax information for two years prior to the year of application. If it is between June 1 and Dec 31, include the tax information for the year prior to the year of application.
Can I just send in my pay stubs or my T4 instead, or, can I send in the notice of assessment for both myself and my spouse?
No. Your earnings statements from work are not sufficient because we cannot determine if you have more than one job or spousal income. Also, for privacy reasons, we cannot request financial documents of persons other than the applicant.
How do I obtain an Option C?
Obtaining an Option C is easy, but it can take a few days to obtain. You should retain a copy in case you need it for other applications. You have three options:
- Phone the CRA at 1-800-267-6999 and ask to have one mailed to you. Make note, this can take a week or so to arrive . Clarify in your request that you want the “Statement of Income” or Option C, NOT a “Notice of Assessment”.
- Use the MyCRA mobile app to send a request to the CRA to mail you a printed copy of your proof of income statement.
- Go to the CRA My Account for Individuals web page at:
- If you have not previously set up an account, you should click on the “register” link to obtain a password. It can take a few days to get your password but you only need to do this once.
- Once you have your password, log in and select “Tax returns” to pull up your return for previous years.
- Select “View Returns and Notices of Assessment and Reassessment“
- Select the “Assessed” link for the appropriate year (NOT the Notice of Assessment link)
- Select the “Printer friendly version” link up top before printing.
- Click the Print button and save the return as a PDF file
- Include a copy of the return with your application. Do not copy and paste the information into a text file.
What if I’m not Canadian, or living outside of Canada?
Canadians living outside Canada can file Canadian tax returns even if they are not earning an income. If you are a resident of another country, we can accept a return from your home country. Please contact our office for more information so we can do a little research and determine what document will be best. It must be an official document produced by the taxation department of your home country. We cannot accept any forms you have filled out yourself, nor can we accept printouts from tax software or the online tax submission site as this information has not yet been verified or adjusted by the government. If you are not sure you have all of the required documents, please phone our office and ask. We cannot be responsible for misinformation supplied by third parties, and the staff of Athabasca University cannot assist you with this.