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Why students need to do their taxes this year

Students probably have a lot of things weighing on their minds, but the looming April 30th tax deadline probably isn’t one of them. They could be missing out on a lot of cash without even knowing it.

It’s no secret that tuition for post-secondary education is far from cheap. But a lot of that money will make its way back through tax credits.

“All of your expenses that are eligible for the tuition credit will be included in the tax certificate provided by your school. If you haven’t received your tax certificate yet, look for it in your online student account,” TurboTax’s Jennifer Gorman, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

Tuition credits don’t produce a refund on their own but do lower taxable income, which for most students won’t be much help since incomes are likely low. Gorman says the credits won’t go to waste.

“The years that you’re attending school, you can transfer some of those credits to your parents or spouse,” says Gorman.

“Alternatively, you can choose to just carry forward/bank those unused amounts. Tuition credits don’t expire so when your education pays off and you’re making the big bucks, those credits will be there waiting for you.”

Courses in trades and other occupational skills are now eligible for tuition credits too.

Gorman says no matter what type of course you’re taking, it’s important file your taxes each year and include the amounts from your tax certificate.

Students can also get some relief for housing costs if they shared a space with other students. For example, Ontario has the Trillium benefit, which is based on income. Most students would qualify but it’s not automatic. You would need to apply using your refund.

There’s also a standard rate for student residences.

Most students will qualify for the GST/HST rebate. Checks go out quarterly, but only if taxes are filed because the payout is determined by the return.

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Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitte@jessysbains

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