The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has tax credits, deductions, and benefits to help students—no exam required. You only have to do your taxes to claim them. Read on for tips that will ensure you get the most at tax time—a lesson you don’t want to miss!
Completing your tax return
And don’t forget when your assignment is due! You can file online as early as February 20. Most Canadians have to file their income tax and benefit returns by April 30. Since that date is a Sunday this year, the CRA will consider your return as filed on time and your payment to be made if the CRA receives your submission or it is postmarked no later than May 1. Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until June 15, to file their returns. But if those people have a balance owing to the CRA, the balance is due no later than May 1.
Claim your eligible tuition fees – You should have received an official tax receipt or a Form T2202A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate, from your educational institution with the total eligible fees paid for the tax year.
Claim the education amount – If you are a full-time student (or a part-time student who can claim the disability amount or has a certified mental or physical impairment), you can claim $400 for each month you were enrolled in a qualifying educational program at a designated educational institution. If you are a part-time student, you can claim $120 for each month you were enrolled. You can claim only one education amount for each month, either the full-time amount or the part-time amount.
Claim the textbook amount – If you can claim the education amount, you can claim:
- $65 for each month you qualify for the full-time education amount
- $20 for each month you qualify for the part-time education amount
Claim the interest paid on your student loans – You may be able to claim an amount for the interest you, or a person related to you, paid on your loan in 2016 for post-secondary education. You can also claim interest paid over the last five years if you haven’t already claimed it. Only interest paid on loans received under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, the Apprentice Loans Act, or similar provincial or territorial legislation for post-secondary education can be claimed.
Claim the public transit amount – If you use public transit, you may be able to reduce your taxes. Keep your transit passes for local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains or buses, and local ferries, and enter your total public transit amount on line 364 of Schedule 1, Federal Tax. To find out if your transit pass is eligible and for more information, go to cra.gc.ca/transitpass.
Claim your eligible moving expenses – If you moved to be a full-time student in a post-secondary program at a university, college, or other education institution, you may be able to claim moving expenses. However, you can deduct these expenses only from the part of your scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants that has to be included in your income. If you moved to work (including summer employment) or to run a business, you can also claim moving expenses. However you can deduct these expenses only from the employment or self-employment income you earned at the new work location. To qualify, your new home must be at least 40 kilometres closer to your new school or work location.
GST/HST credit – If you have low or modest income, are a resident of Canada, and are 19 years of age or older, you may be eligible for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, as well as credits and benefits under related provincial and territorial programs. You do not have to apply for these credits and benefits—the CRA determines your eligibility when you file your return and will send you a notice if you qualify. For more information, check out cra.gc.ca/gsthstcredit.
Claim your child care expenses – If you have to pay someone to look after your child so you can go to school, you may be able to deduct your child care expenses.
Canada child benefit – If you have a child under the age of 18, you might be eligible for the Canada child benefit (CCB), as well as related provincial and territorial programs. The CCB is a monthly, tax-free payment to help families with the cost of raising children. For more information, check out canada.ca/canada-child-benefit.
Help is available through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program – If you have modest income and a simple tax situation, you may be eligible for help filing your return through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Volunteers may be able to do your taxes for you to make sure you receive all the credits and benefits you qualify for. To find a free, volunteer tax preparation clinic near you, use the MyCRA mobile app at cra.gc.ca/mobileapps or go to cra.gc.ca/volunteer.
Free software – Last year, more than 84% of individuals filed their returns online. To file your return online, you have to prepare your return using certified tax preparation software or a certified web application. The CRA has a list of certified tax preparation software on its website, including some that are free. To find out more, go to cra.gc.ca/netfile.
CRA online services and apps
The CRA’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. Start this tax season off right by registering for the CRA’s secure online service for individuals—My Account—a one-stop shop for managing your tax and benefit information. Using My Account, you can track your return status, change your address, check your RRSP and TFSA limits, register for online mail and account alerts, print a proof of income statement, and so much more, all with a few clicks of a mouse. When you register for online mail, the CRA will no longer print and mail you paper copies of certain pieces of mail. Instead, the CRA will send you an email when you have mail to view in My Account. For more information, go to cra.gc/myaccount.
You can securely access your tax and benefit information on the go with the MyCRA and MyBenefits CRA mobile apps. Bookmark the apps on your mobile device to have your tax and benefit information available whenever and wherever you need it. To get the apps, go to cra.gc.ca/mobileapps.
Auto-fill my return – This secure feature is available through some NETFILE-certified software when you’re registered for My Account. It allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your current and previous-year income tax and benefit returns, saving significant time and reducing possible errors in filing a return. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/auto-fill.
Sign up for direct deposit – Did you know that direct deposit is a fast, convenient, reliable, and secure way to get your income tax refund and your benefit and credit payments sent to your account at a financial institution in Canada? Why wait? Sign up for direct deposit today. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.
International students – If you are an international student studying in Canada, you first have to determine your residency status at cra.gc.ca/internationalstudents. You may owe taxes to the Canadian government and may qualify for GST/HST credit payments. If you are required to file a return or are filing to claim a refund or credit, you have to send your return to the CRA’s International and Ottawa Tax Services Office. If you have questions, call the CRA’s international tax and non-resident enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.
Looking for more information? Get out the popcorn, because the CRA has informative videos just for students. Check them out at cra.gc.ca/videogallery.
For more information about filing your taxes as a student, go to www.cra.gc.ca/students