Everything students need to know about taxes

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The following is now available on the CRA Web site:

Nineteen-year-old Max moved from Calgary to study full-time at the University of Ottawa on August 15, 2008. Although he received a scholarship, he decided to get a job at the local grocery store to earn some pocket money during the school year. Max has taken the course “Responsible Citizenship and Canada’s Tax System.” This course is provided to educators by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are a student like Max, you must file an income tax and benefit return for 2008 since you have to pay taxes, are expecting a refund, want to apply for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, or want to carry forward or transfer the unused part of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts. By filing your income tax return by April 30, 2009, your return will be processed faster and if you are entitled to a refund, you will receive it earlier. Generally, you must use the tax and benefit package for the province or territory where you usually resided on December 31, 2008. Since Max usually resides in Calgary and is only living in Ottawa temporarily while attending school, Max will use an Alberta tax and benefit package.

In Max’s case, he must report his employment income amount shown in box 14 of his T4 slip on line 101 of his return. For any other income, he reports the amounts on the appropriate line of the return, as outlined in the 2008 General Income Tax and Benefit Guide. Since Max was eligible to claim the full-time education amount, his scholarship is not taxable and he doesn’t have to report it on his return.

If you are a student like Max, you can claim the tuition fees paid for courses you took in 2008, and an education amount of $400 per month if you were enrolled full-time in a qualifying program, or $120 per month if you were enrolled part-time in a specified program in 2008. You can also claim the textbook amount if you are entitled to claim the education amount. This amount is $65 for each month you qualify for the full-time education amount, and $20 for each month you qualify for the part-time education amount. Make sure to have Form T2202A, Tuition, Education, and Textbook Amounts Certificate, handy in order for you to claim the tax credits relating to your tuition fees paid to an educational institution in Canada.

Be sure to complete the application area on page 1 of your 2008 income tax and benefit return to receive the GST/HST credit. Remember, you must apply every year. For more information on the GST/HST credit, go to http://www.cra.gc.ca/benefits, see Pamphlet RC4210, GST/HST Credit, or call 1-800-959-1953. If you move, provide the CRA with your new address as soon as possible. Keeping us informed will ensure that you keep receiving any GST/HST credit. You can do this online through My Account, or by telephone at 1-800-959-8281.

My Account is a quick, easy, and secure electronic service that gives you access to your tax information, and lets you change your income tax and benefit return and address, apply for child benefits, authorize a representative, and much more. To access all this information, you will need to register for a Government of Canada epass and enter a CRA security code that will be mailed to you.

Did you know that you can have your benefits, credits, and tax refunds from the CRA deposited directly into your financial account? To do so, simply apply for direct deposit through the My Account online service at http://www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount, or apply on your income tax and benefit return. Remember to let us know if you change financial institutions or accounts.

Max also learned that he can access limited basic tax and benefit information on Quick Access, the new CRA service, which lets you access your information, without an epass, using last year’s tax information that you filed. For more information, go to http://www.cra.gc.ca/quickaccess.

For more general information for students, see Pamphlet P105, Students and Income Tax, or go to http://www.cra.gc.ca/students.

SOURCE: CRA Newsroom


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