Tax Tips for Canadian Students

As a post-secondary student, filing taxes may seem like one more unnecessary thing to think about; you’re a student struggling to make ends meet, so why bother?  Even though you’re not required to complete an income tax return if you have no taxable income, there are many benefits to filing.

Depending on your income (and are a resident of Canada), you may be able to claim the GST/HST credit and get a quarterly, tax-free payment and even though you’re a long way from retirement, you will start accumulating RRSP contribution room, which will be useful when you are earning a regular income.

Here are a few tax breaks that may put some money back into your pocket.

  • Education Tax Credit - Full-time students can claim an education amount of $400 for each whole or part month in the year in which they are enrolled. Part-time students can claim $120 per month for part-time enrollment.
  • Tuition Fees - You can claim eligible tuition fees paid to a post-secondary university, college, technical or trade school, or other educational institution in Canada, for courses that total more than $100.  There are both Federal tax credits and Provincial or Territorial tax credits available.
  • Textbook Fees - Full time students can claim a credit of $65 for each month they qualify for the full-time education amount, and part-time students can claim $20 for each month they qualify for the part-time education amount.
  • Other Eligible Tuition Expenses
    • Books included in the fee for a distance learning or correspondence course
    • Library Fees
    • Lab Fees
    • Mandatory computer service fees
    • Academic Fees
    • Any Application, examination, exemption, diploma, membership, or seminar fees that are specifically related to a program
  • Interest on Student Loans - You may be able to claim interest paid on loans received under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, or a similar provincial or territorial government law for post-secondary education.  You can also claim interest paid over the last five years if you haven't already claimed it. You cannot claim interest paid on any other loan, such as a line of credit, even if you use it to finance your education and you cannot transfer the claim to anyone else, even if they paid the interest on the loan.
  • Public Transit Passes - You may claim the cost of transit passes. Remember to keep your expired passes or receipts for proof of your claim.
  • Moving Expenses - If you are a full-time student and moved at least 40 kilometers closer to your new school you may be able to claim moving expenses.  You can only deduct these expenses from the part of any scholarships, bursaries, fellowships, research grants and certain prizes that is required to be included in your income.
  • Child Care Expenses - As a post-secondary student, filing taxes may seem like one more unnecessary thing to think about; you’re a student struggling to make ends meet, so why bother?  Even though you’re not required to complete an income tax return if you have no taxable income, there are many benefits to filing.
  • Scholarship Exemption - If you are enrolled full-time and can claim the full-time education amount, scholarships, fellowships and bursaries received are not taxable up to the total amount required to support you in the program.

Source:  CRA