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Are You a Student? Are You Getting Your Tax Breaks?

27 September 2013

No, thankfully it’s not time just yet to file your taxes once again. But, students are just starting to get back into the swing of school and that means they should be saving their receipts and adding up all that money they’ve spent that they can get back come next April. So, what tax breaks are those? The three main tax breaks for students are: the tuition credit, the education credit, and the textbook credit.

If you’re attending a university, a college, or a post-secondary education institution in Canada, the tuition tax credit is there for you to take advantage of. If you’re also paying for courses certified by Employment and Social Development Canada, you’re also eligible to apply for the tuition credit. But what about if you’re going to school outside of Canada? As long as you’re a Canadian citizen, and you’re attending school full-time at a university, and the course will lead to a degree, you can still apply for the tuition tax credit.

The education tax credit is a credit of $400 for every whole or partial month of a school year that a student is enrolled in full-time. If you’re taking a course or going to school part-time, you may still be eligible for this credit, but it will be reduced to $120 per month.

The education tax credit goes hand in hand with the textbook tax credit. This latter credit will provide $65 for each month in which a student is receiving the $400 per month for each month the student is in school. Those who are attending school part-time can still take advantage of this tax credit too, although just as the education tax credit is reduced for part-time students, so too is the textbook credit. For part-time students, this credit is reduced to $20 every month.

It’s important to remember that while you can’t use these credits to boost any tax refund you’ll get back, you can claim them to reduce any taxes that you would have to pay back. The provinces and territories offer different amounts depending on where you are, but they are all worth 15 per cent at the federal level.

If you’re a student that’s not working in the summer months, or you don’t have quite enough income to use up all these credits, they can be transferred. They can be transferred to a parent, a grandparent, a spouse or a partner; or they can even be saved to carry forward onto the remaining amount for the next tax year.

Also, don’t forget any transportation costs that can be claimed on your tax returns. If you’re moving away to school, you can claim moving costs; while you can claim transportation costs if you had to travel over 40 kilometres from the school in order to get to your job. And, if you’re using the bus or city train to get around while you’re in school, keep the receipts for those passes or tickets. These can be claimed on your tax return too!

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