Brush up on your tax literacy for back to school
September 7, 2023
Canada Revenue Agency
It’s time to hit the books again! As you’re getting ready to go back to school, there are some important things about benefits, credits, and taxes to keep in mind. Get organized now so you’ll get the benefits and credits that you’re entitled to and save yourself some headaches later.
Apply for benefits and credits
Check out our benefits and credits factsheet for students for everything you need to know; here are some important things to be aware of:
- If you are 19 years or older, you may be eligible to receive tax-free GST/HST credit and Climate action incentive payments. You could receive a tax-free GST credit payment four times a year to help with your expenses even if you do not earn any income. We calculate the credit automatically when you file your taxes.
- Do you have a young child at home? The Canada child benefit helps with the cost of raising your family. If you have a child under 18 years old, you may be eligible for this tax-free monthly payment. Check out if you’re eligible today.
Registered Education Savings Plan changes
Registered education savings plan withdrawal limits have been increased as of March 28, 2023. The new limits include an increase from $5,000 to $8,000 in the first 13 weeks of enrollment in a qualifying educational program (full-time studies), and from $2,500 to $4,000 in any 13-week period while enrolled in a specified educational program (part-time studies). Check out RESP payments, transfer and roll over RESP property for more information.
Tuition, education, and textbook expenses
School can be expensive. You may be able to claim an education-related deduction or a credit on your taxes. These can include: tuition fees, education and textbook amounts, interest paid on student loans, and moving expenses.
Tuition credit: If you are 16 years or older and taking at least one course at a post-secondary institution, you may be able to use your tuition fees as a credit on your taxes. The official tax receipt or form you receive from your educational institution will indicate the amount of eligible tuition fees that you paid for that calendar year, so hang on to it!
Fees paid to take an accreditation examination for a profession or trade in Canada may also be eligible for the tuition tax credit.
You can also transfer all or part of your current year’s federal tuition fees, or other education amounts to your spouse or common-law partner, your parent, or your grandparent, or you can carry the credit forward to claim on a future tax return.
- Moving expenses: Generally, you can claim moving expenses you paid if you moved to study courses as a full-time student at a university, a college, or other educational institution. Your new home must be at least 40 kilometres closer (by the shortest public route) to your new school.
- Interest paid on student loans: You may be eligible to claim some of the interest paid on your student loans in 2022 or the preceding five years for post-secondary education if you received them under certain student loan acts. If you have no tax payable for the year the interest is paid, you can also carry the interest forward and apply it on your return for any of the next five years.
- Textbook expenses: Depending on your province or territory, you may be able to claim your textbook expenses as a tax credit. To find out more, refer to the Income tax package for your province or territory.
If you are an international student aged 19 or older studying in Canada, you could be eligible for GST/HST credit and Climate action incentive payments even before filing your first tax return. Visit Benefits, credits, and taxes for newcomers for details on how to:
- Determine your residency status
- Get a social insurance number
- Apply for the benefits and credits you are eligible for
Learn about your taxes
Wish you had learned more about taxes in school? Look no further! Learn about your taxes is a self-paced online learning tool to help you understand what taxes are, how to do them, and what is in it for you. We want to empower you to do your own taxes and to make sure you know about the benefits and credits you could be eligible for. We have got 5-minute lessons, fun quizzes, and snappy videos to break down everything you need to know.
Working while you go to school
Are you working while you go to school? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do you have side hustles? Make sure to keep records like emails, contracts, purchase receipts, sales invoices, and any other documents about your sources of income. These will really help when it comes time to do your taxes.
- If you work for clients online, you may be considered to be self-employed. As a self-employed individual, you have different tax obligations than an employee and we can help you understand what you need to do. Visit the CRA’s small business and self-employed income web page for more information.
Join us for our free webinars that give you everything you need to know about scams, as well as benefits and credits for students and international students. Check out our Upcoming events.
Take advantage of our digital services and make life easy:
- My Account lets you check when your next benefit payment is, the status of your tax return (and refund, if you’re getting one!), as well as keep your personal information up-to-date.
- Sign up for direct deposit and get your tax refund and benefit payments deposited directly into your account.
- With the MyCRA mobile web app you can view your tax return status, change your address, update your direct deposit information, and more.
- Quickly view your benefit and credit payment details and eligibility information with the MyBenefits CRA mobile web app.
Free tax clinics
Does the thought of doing your taxes make you nervous? You don’t have to do them alone! You may be able to get help at a free tax clinic in-person or online. Free tax clinics are generally offered between March and April across Canada, but some are open year-round. Tax clinics can be in person or virtual. Find the right clinic for you.
Free tax clinics are always looking for volunteers and are a great way to give back to your community while gaining valuable experience for your resume. Visit Volunteer at a free tax clinic - Canada.ca for more information.
Canada Revenue Agency
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