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Tax Season In Canada Can Be Confusing As Hell & Here's What Students Should Know

Students can save money during tax time.

Associate Editor
Concordia University John Molson School of Business building (left); Laptop open to Government of Canada person income tax page (right).

Concordia University John Molson School of Business building (left); Laptop open to Government of Canada person income tax page (right).

The time has come to file taxes in Canada. While it can definitely be confusing, especially when you have to file two returns in Quebec, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec are trying to make things a little less complicated, particularly for students.

Considering many students have very unique financial situations, it's important you don't miss out on the benefits and credits that you may be able to claim, which could save you money during tax time.

Tuition tax credit

The CRA states that, if you're a student, you can reduce the tax you may owe if you paid tuition fees to a post-secondary institution school or to an educational institution that is certified by the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development "to develop or improve skills in an occupation."

Additionally, the CRA says that you can transfer your unused tuition amount to your spouse or common-law partner, parent or grandparent, or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent or grandparent.

Carrying over any past amounts can also be done for a claim in a future year. While you can no longer claim federal education and textbook amounts on your return, the CRA states you can carry forward any education and textbook costs from previous years.

Canada training credit

The Canada training credit is a new refundable tax credit available for eligible tuition and other fees paid for courses taken in 2020 and subsequent tax years. You can claim the credit if you satisfy several conditions, including being a resident in Canada throughout the tax year.

Interest paid on student loans

Students may be able to claim part of the interest they have paid on their student loans for post-secondary education. According to the CRA, "only you can claim an amount for the interest you, or a person related to you, paid on that loan in 2021 or the preceding 5 years."

Students can only claim an amount for the interest they have not already claimed. The CRA says that if you do not have any tax payable for the year the student loan interest is paid, it is best not to claim it on your return. The CRA also states that students can carry the interest forward and apply it on a return for any of the next five years.

Eligible moving expenses

Those who moved to be a student in full-time attendance can also claim their moving expenses if they moved at least 40 kilometres closer to a new work location or school.

The CRA says that you can "you can only deduct these expenses from the parts of your scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants that are required to be included in your income.."

If you moved to work, you can "only deduct these expenses from the employment or self-employment income you earned at the new work location."

Canada workers benefit

This refundable tax credit is available to eligible individuals who work but earn a low income. The CRA says that if you are enrolled as a full-time student at an educational institution for a total of more than 13 weeks in the taxation year, you are not eligible for the credit unless you have an eligible dependant.

Students who make a low or modest income may also be eligible for a goods and services/harmonized sales tax credit. You are eligible if any of these apply: you are at least 19 years old, you have or had a spouse or common-law partner or you are or were a parent and live or lived with your child.

Tax season deadline 2022

The CRA states that the filing deadline for most individuals is April 30, 2022. Since this date falls on a Saturday, your income tax and benefit return will be considered filed on time if it is received on or before May 2, 2022, or if it is postmarked on or before May 2, 2022.

If you, your spouse or your common-law partner are self-employed, you have until June 15, 2022, to file your tax return.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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