There may be no better time to learn about filing your taxes than when you’re a student. Student taxes can be less challenging than other tax returns, as students don’t usually have a lot of income or deductions to claim.
All it takes to file an income tax return online is certified tax software, some of which are free. Or if you prefer a printed tax package, all you need is some basic math. You will need your receipts for any credits or deductions you can claim on your taxes, for either option. Things like tuition and other payments for school, child care, medical expenses, and moving expenses may be applied to your tax return and might get you a refund. You might also be able to claim the goods and services tax (GST) credit or the Canada workers benefits.
Tip: Get information on filing your taxes at the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Personal Income Tax website or call the CRA information line at 1-800-959-8281.
Understand tax credits/deductions
As a student, you might be able to claim tax credits and deductions. Any one of those credits or deductions can result in you receiving a tax refund. For example:
If you were/are working, you might be able to claim the Canada employment amount.
- You may get a tax credit for the interest charges you’re paying on your student loan.
- You may be eligible for the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement.
- If you paid tuition or examination fees, you may be able to claim a tax credit.
- If you have used enough of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts to bring your owed tax amount to zero, you may be able to transfer all or part of the remaining amounts to a family member.
- You are also allowed to save any unused amounts of tuition, education, or textbook costs and claim them in future tax years. For more information, check out P105 Students and income tax: Transfer or carry forward amount.
Benefit from other deductions
- If you moved to study full time at a university, college, or other post-secondary school, or if you moved to work full time during the summer, you might be able to claim your moving expenses. To qualify for this, you must have moved at least 40 kilometres closer to your new work or school. Go to the CRA for more information.
- If you join a union for a summer or part-time job, you can claim the amount you paid in union fees.
More tax tips
- Keep all the receipts you’re using to claim tax deductions or credits, as well as any records of your pay if you’re working. You should keep them for at least 6 years.
- All receipts must be in the calendar year of January through December.
- If you’re working part time, fill out a government form called a TD1. This allows your employer to take less from your wages, if what you earn in a calendar year is below a certain amount. If you’re working more than 1 job, you should call the CRA to ask for help before completing any TD1 forms.
- Tax rules change all the time. Check the CRA website for the latest information.
- Review the tax information for students.
- If you need help filing your tax return and can’t afford to pay someone else to do it for you, you may be able to use the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.
Keeping track of your money and taxes can be hard, especially when you’re trying to stay on top of your schoolwork. Ask for advice from family or friends. Ask experts at your bank or student aid office for help.