If you’re heading off to university this fall — or you have a child who is — you may be surprised to discover that the taxman is your friend. “A lot of students don’t know about all of the tax credits and deductions available to them,” says Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst for H&R Block Canada in Calgary. “Parents need to help.”
Here are a few tips every tax-smart student shouldknow.
• File a tax return, even if you didn’t earn enough to pay income tax. That will guarantee you receive the $350 GST rebate. It will also guarantee that you get a refund of any taxes you may have paid through payroll deductions with your employer.
• You can claim $400 a month for each month you attended college or universityfull time ($265 a month for part-time students). You can also receive a tax credit of $65 a month for textbooks ($20 a month for part-time students).
• You can claim any tuition fees over $100 as a tax credit. Eligible fees include any mandatory amounts charged by the school.
• Here’s how to keep mom and dad happy: you can tranfer any unused federal credits, up to $5,000 a year, to a parent. “Just keep in mind that the transferred credits must be claimed in the year they are incurred,” says Hamel.
• You can write off moving expenses if you moved more than 40 km for a summer job. “Just remember, it has to be a real move to qualify,” says Hamel. “It can’t just be coming home for Christmas.”