Personal Finance male student looking at Canada Revenue Agency website

Published on March 1, 2017 | by Anna Akoto     Photography by Anna Akoto


Taxes Are Here, Have No Fear

Tax season can be intimidating for some students and sometimes that can prevent people from filing taxes at all. That’s a big mistake according to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“If you miss out on filing your return, you miss out on credits and benefits that are available to you, like a quarterly GST credit or in Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Benefit,” says Ryan Murphy, spokesperson for Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Charles Roach, an investment and tax consultant, says he notices a common misconception among students.

“Some students are not aware that they should even be filing their income taxes. They think ‘oh I’m not making an income so I don’t need to file an income tax,’” says Roach.

According to the CRA’s website, a person’s income is not limited to their employment. Income includes tips, scholarships, universal child care benefit (UCCB) and registered education savings plan payments.

Murphy says the tax filing process for students is not complicated compared to those not in schools or working.

He says it is important for students to gather all of their receipts.

“You have to gather all of your receipts, like your tuition education receipt. If you have paid any rent in the year, get a rent receipt because you can get an Ontario Trillium Benefit for that. If you have had any part-time jobs or worked during the year, get your T4 slip from your employer. That’s important to get so that you can get all the credits you’re entitled to,” says Murphy.

NETFILE is an online tax-filing service that sends income tax and benefit return directly to the CRA. This is done online using any NETFILE-certified software, like TurboTax.

E-file is a service that lets legal tax service providers complete and file their clients’ returns online.

A paper return means mailing a return to a CRA tax centre.

Roach says if a student decides to use a taxing service, they should do their research on the company.

“My best advice is to check the people out. Find out about the services being provided. Check out with Revenue Canada on the reputation of that company. Then you’ll know to deal with them or not to deal with them,” says Roach. Same with paraphrasing/quoting here.

The CRA has a program called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which allows community organizations to host free tax preparation clinics. This program also works with universities and colleges.

Humber College will be offering a free tax clinic and workshop for students. It will be available on both campuses starting on March 21 to April 21.

“Students have two options. The first option is come to us [IGNITE] and get help from trained volunteers. Second, there will be workshops where students can learn where to do their taxes on their own,” says Anna Bilan, vice-president of student affairs at Humber Lakeshore.

Bilan says information on the clinic and workshop will be on the IGNITE website in a couple of weeks.

She also says that it is important for students to make a reservation online to make sure they are able to get the help they need.

The filing deadline is Sunday, April 30. Returns received on May 1 will not be considered late.

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About the Author

Anna is a journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber and an aspiring TV broadcaster. She loves Snapchat and is a die-hard Patriots fan. Don't bring up Deflategate...

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