Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency

March 13, 2012 12:25 ET

Tax Tip: ABCs of Benefits for Students

Did you know?

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 13, 2012) - Even if you have no income, you should still file your income tax and benefit return. As a student, you might be eligible for many credits, deductions, and benefits but you must file your return to get them.

Benefits and deductions

  • Goods and services tax / harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit: A quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes to offset all or part of the GST/HST they pay. Be sure to complete the application area on page 1 of your 2011 income tax and benefit return to receive the GST/HST credit. Remember, you must apply every year.

  • Moving expenses: If you move for work purposes, including summer employment, then you may be able to claim a deduction for moving expenses. You may also be able to claim moving expenses if you move to take courses as a full-time student at the post-secondary level, but you can only deduct these expenses from the part of your scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants required to be included in your income.

  • Child care expenses: Do you have a child? You or your spouse or common-law partner may be able to claim a deduction for child care expenses (such as day camp payments) so one of you could earn income, go to school, or conduct research.

Non-refundable tax credits

Non-refundable tax credits reduce the amount of federal income tax that you have to pay. If the total of your non-refundable tax credits is more than your federal income tax, you will not receive a refund for the difference.

  • Education amount: If you were a full-time student enrolled in a qualifying education program in 2011, you may be able to claim the education amount of $400 for each eligible month. If you were a part-time student enrolled in a qualifying education program in 2011, you may be able to claim the education amount of $120 for each eligible month.

  • Textbook amount: If you qualify for the education amount as a full-time student, you may also claim the textbook amount of $65 for each eligible month. If you qualify for the education amount as a part-time student, you may claim the textbook amount of $20 for each eligible month.

  • Tuition fees: You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit based on the eligible tuition fees that you paid to attend an educational institution. To be eligible for tuition fees you must have paid more than $100 in eligible fees.

Note - Transferring and carrying forward amounts

As a student, you must first claim your tuition, education, and textbook amounts on your return and apply the amount needed to reduce your federal tax payable to zero. After that, you can either transfer the unused amount to an eligible individual or claim it in a future year to reduce the amount of federal tax payable. By filing a return and attaching a completed Schedule 11 every year showing that you have these eligible amounts, you enable the CRA to keep track of your unused tuition, education, and textbook amounts available for carry-forward to other years.

  • Student loan interest: You might be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit based on the interest paid on your student loan in 2011. You may also claim interest paid for the preceding five years if it has not already been claimed. Only interest paid for loans received under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, or similar provincial or territorial legislation for post-secondary education may be claimed.

  • Public transit tax credit: Did you use public transport in 2011? You might be able to claim the cost of your transit passes as a non-refundable tax credit. Passes must permit unlimited travel within Canada on local public transit. Some shorter duration passes may also be eligible if certain conditions are met.

Other credits, deductions, and benefits may be available to you. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/students.

The CRA's online services make filing even easier

With the CRA's online services, you can file your return, track your refund, and change your personal information. You can also sign up for direct deposit to receive your refund directly into your account at your Canadian financial institution - no more waiting for cheques to arrive in the mail. It's fast, easy, and secure. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

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Contact Information

  • Noel Carisse
    Media Relations
    Canada Revenue Agency
    613-952-9184