Tax Tips For Students

Hey, Students — Here Are 15 Things You Need To Know About Filing Your Taxes

Tax season can definitely feel overwhelming if you're a student (especially when it overlaps with midterms!) — but it doesn't have to be. Check out our easy guide for getting an A+ on your taxes:

1. First order of business: figure out if you're what the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers a "qualifying student."​

You’re a qualifying student if you’re enrolled full-time or for at least 12 hours of coursework each month at a “designated educational institution” (most Canadian colleges and universities are, but you can check them out here). 

2. Once that's sorted, mark the deadline to file your income taxes in your agenda or your calendar.

The deadline this year is April 30th, 2024.

3. But you don't need to wait until April 30! The sooner you file, the sooner you receive your refund.

Canadians will have all their tax documents by the end of February, and the CRA allows filing as early as February 19. Consider doing your taxes in March so you’re not rushed, and you can get that $$ quicker.

4. Before you get started, determine if you've made more than the basic personal amount of income. This is the amount that would require you to pay taxes.

No one in Canada is taxed federally on their first $15,000 (in 2023) earned for the year. This is called the basic personal amount!

5. Heads up, though: Even if you earned under this amount (or didn't make any money this year), filing your taxes can put money back in your pocket.

If you file your tax return you can get access to credits and benefits that can put a couple hundred dollars back into your pocket— like the GST/HST credit, or the Climate Action Incentive Payments. It also helps establish how much room you have to contribute to your savings, like RRSPs or your TFSA.

6. Get registered on CRA's online portal.

Setting up your CRA My Account (you can do it here) means you’ll be able to easily check your tax return status online. If you need help, Mak Tax Experts can get you started.

7. Start tracking down everything you need, like the T2202 Tuition and Enrollment Certificate. You'll get this from your school by the end of February.

This certificate is to confirm that you’re a post-secondary student that is/was enrolled in a program that qualifies for the federal tuition tax credit. 

8. You can also claim fees from job-development courses or occupational, trade, or professional exams.

As long as the institution is certified or you have receipts for your exams, make sure to include these too. 

9. If you are working, you'll also need your T4, which will show the income you earned last year.

Your employer will provide this for you by the last day of February, and it’ll show your income as well as any deductions (like income tax or EI contributions). If you had a bunch of gigs, you’ll need a T4 from each of your employers. 

10. Take time to figure out whether you're eligible for certain tax credits and deductions, like moving expenses.

Yup, you may be able to claim things like moving, self-employment expenses, and even interest on loans! If you’re a student with a disability, there are credits as well.

11. You can factor in any scholarships or grants you have too.

You worked hard for those scholarships, fellowships, and grants — and thankfully, they’re likely to be tax-free!

12. Once you have everything you need, organize all your tax-related docs and receipts together so they're all in one place.

The hard part is done! From your social insurance info to your T2202 to all your receipts, gather everything in one place so it’s easy to file. 

13. It seems like a long time, but keep all your records for at least six years.

The CRA and Revenu Québec can request to see them at any time during this period if your return is selected for review. And it’d be a pain in the butt to collect everything again! 

14. Don't worry — mistakes happen, even on tax returns. But you can always request a change to a return made in the last 10 years through CRA.

You’ll just have to wait until you receive a notice of assessment for that return and file an adjustment request.

15. BUT a great way to avoid any mistakes on your return is by filing with the help of a tax expert.

If you have any questions about when and how to file, Mak Tax experts are here to help. Check out below to find our office location and contact details to book an appointment today. 👇

You don’t have to go at it alone! Thankfully, students file for less at Mak Tax. No matter your level of knowledge or tax sitch, it’s easy to get them done with the help of Mak Tax. Learn how to book an appointment, drop off your docs, or file with a remote tax expert here.

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