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Tax tips for students

by Archives April 9, 2003

It’s income tax time again. For most students that means receiving an income tax return. Despite all the moaning we do about the cost of tuition and how poor it makes us, the government gives us some pretty good breaks come tax time. April 30 is the deadline, and there is a lot to know before you file your taxes.

Aside from declaring your tuition, there is a lot you can declare as a student, says Johnny Vassalo of the John Molson Accounting Society (JMAS). JMAS are a group of accounting students who get together every year to file students taxes. It gives them experience and the money they raise is donated to a charity.

One of the things he says students often forget to do is to deduct their education amount. You can deduct $400 for every month you were a full time student. Part time students can deduct $120. This amount is listed on your tuition receipt.

As well, if you have moved to go to school, you can deduct your moving costs. If you move again in the summer, or if you move back you can also claim that amount, as long as you are moving at least 40 kilometres closer to school.

Vassalo says another common thing students do is to transfer their tuition amount to a parent or spouse. Students often don’t make enough money to need to declare their entire tuition and parents sometimes do help pay for school. But you can also carry forward your tuition amounts to future income tax files.

That means that while you might not need to deduct the full amount now, you can deduct the amount later when you are working full time and making more money. You can do this with your education amounts too.

And when you graduate and have to start paying back your loan, don’t forget to deduct the interest you pay on your loan.

If you find the task of filling your taxes daunting, there are services, provided free of charge, to help you. If you are unable to pay for assistance the government offers the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Volunteers are trained by CCRA. For more information call 1-800-959-8281.

Just make sure you get all the tax benefits you can. Being a student is expensive.

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency’s (CCRA) web-site offers tips for filing taxes. Go to http://www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/menu-e.html. There’s a whole section for students.

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