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Six things new students should know about taxes


As a post-secondary student, there are many ways to save when filing your income tax in Canada. Common student costs you may not even have thought of are eligible deductible expenses on your taxes. Knowing which expenses to keep track of and identifying credits you may qualify for are two valuable lessons every student should learn.

Claim your textbooks

Textbooks may be surprisingly expensive for new students, but there is a silver lining: as a student you can write them off. The CRA gives students a $65 textbook tax credit per month of your enrollment, so for a full-time year of studying (8 months), you can write off $520 in textbook purchases.

Track your moving costs

If you move to attend post-secondary education, and your new residence is at least 40 km closer to school than your previous home, almost all of your moving expenses will be tax deductible. This includes transportation/travel cost, storage costs, utility hook-ups and disconnections, and several other associated moving costs. [Source]

Deduct, transfer, or carryover your tuition expense

The cost of tuition is entirely tax deductible. Either online or through the mail, your school will provide you with an official tax receipt of tuition paid. If you don’t need to use your entire tuition deductible to reach $0 owed, you may transfer a maximum of $5000 of your tuition deduction to a family member or spouse, or carry forward your unused tuition to the next tax year.

Provincial or territorial benefits

Generally, you cannot write off the cost of rent on your taxes, but depending on where you live, your income, and your rent, you may be eligible for a provincial or territorial tax benefit. For example, if you are a student paying rent in Ontario, you may qualify for the Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB). The amount you receive is based on your net income, but as a student you are unlikely to have passed the income cut off. Depending on your family income and rent paid, you may receive upwards of $100 per month.

Save your transportation receipts

Public transit passes for the bus, subway, or train, are another tax deductible expense as a student you can take advantage of, and one that many students overlook. This is especially useful if you take public transportation to and from class, or even to travel home for a weekend or holiday. Just make sure to keep all of your receipts.

Students who learn about eligible income tax deductions early in their college or university start off on the right financial foot. Take advantage of deductions which can save money during your time at school.

For more information on students and taxes, visit Canada Revenue Agency’s student resources.

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