Tax filing tips for students

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With the tax season coming up, learn about the advantages students may get for filing taxes and find the answers to some questions you may have.

Taxes need to be filed by April 30 each year. (Global News/Website)

The Baron spoke with Deandra Doyle from the Canada Revenue Agency who shared some tips on how students can file their taxes for the first time, how to get help with filing taxes, and the benefits students may receive.

Is it necessary for students to file their taxes?

Even if students do not have a great income to report, it is necessary for students to file their taxes since they may be eligible for credits and benefits and get money back.

What are the deadlines for taxes this year?

This year the deadline to file taxes is April 30, but since that day falls on a Saturday, returns received by the CRA on or before May 2 will still count if they’re postmarked for April 30 or before. The same deadlines apply for owed payments.

New “Learn about your taxes” tool

The CRA has launched an online tool this year on their website which teaches people all the basics when it comes to filing taxes. “Learn about your taxes” is meant to empower people to do taxes on their own. 

It includes video lessons about what taxes are, understanding a paycheck, and other relevant topics. It takes two hours to complete, and people can practice their knowledge with exercises and quizzes at the end of each lesson.

People can access “Learn about your taxes” here.

What documents do students need to file taxes?

To file taxes, students need different information slips such as T4s from employers, T4As- a slip a person gets if they received benefits from the government-, T2202s, from the university showing how much they paid in tuition, and other receipts of deductions a person may want to claim. 

Most information slips will arrive by mail between the end of February and the beginning of March and it is important to have these slips on hand when filing taxes.

What to do when owing tax

Depending on the person’s tax situation, they may end up owing more or less tax. For example, in 2021, benefits from the government were paid (such as CERB), but some tax was held at the source and that can affect the total of owing tax.

People who have to pay but cannot afford it can arrange payment options that give them more time to pay based on their ability. Read how to arrange a payment plan here.

Help for students filing their taxes

There are multiple resources available for people who need help or feel overwhelmed when filing their taxes. The CRA has a list of certified free and low-cost software to file taxes virtually. Additionally, there are multiple free tax help clinics in Saint John that offer virtual meetings and in-person meetings. Check out the list of free tax clinics in Saint John here.

Tax clinics partnered with the CRA are trustworthy since the volunteers must undergo certified training.

Benefits for students

Students can get different benefits and credits from filing their taxes. Some of them are:

  • Tuition Tax Credit: The credit will not reduce owing federal tax and it is non-refundable. If a person does not have the income to beat the credit, they can carry it forward after graduation. The unused amount must be claimed the first year you owe income tax and then be used to reduce owing taxes. The credit can also be forwarded to family or a partner to reduce their taxes.
  • Goods and Services Tax: This tax is repaid four times a year and is for people with low to modest incomes. There are no special forms to fill out, but the person needs to be 19 years old before April 1, 2022, to be eligible.
  • Eligible Moving Expenses: This is for full-time students who have moved 40 kilometres closer to their workplace or post-secondary institution. The person will only need to deduct those expenses from the amount that they are required to include in their income like scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries. This also applies to people who moved for work, a summer job, or to own a business. The deductions would need to be from employment or self-employment income.

More information about benefits here.

Contacting the CRA

People are encouraged to go to the website first if they have any questions since the CRA website is updated with all the latest information, but if it is necessary to talk with an agent people can call the General Enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.