There is perhaps no better time to learn how to file your tax return than when you are a student attending college or university. Student tax returns are often simpler than other tax returns, as students don’t usually have as much employment income, which can make filing a lot less tedious. The hardest part is usually claiming tuition, education and textbook amounts.

Here are some tips for students as they prepare to file their tax return with income they may have received to further their education and the credits or deductions available specifically to them.

Gather Your Tax Slips

Before a student files a tax return, they must gather all of their necessary tax slips. Students should be looking for the following slips depending on their own individual situation:

CRA My Account holders may view these slips online in early March, including the T2202 which many Designated Educational Institutions are already filing online and having them included in your account.

Claim Tuition, Education and Textbook Amounts

Full-time and part-time college and university students are entitled to claim the tuition, education and textbook amounts. These amounts are claimed on Schedule 11 for both federal and provincial credits. Students eligible for the deduction receive a T2202 tax slip from their college or university. A student claims the amount of tuition they paid during the tax year and enters any applicable full or part-time months.

The tuition deduction is a non-refundable tax credit. If a student does not have enough taxable income and does not need to use the full amount to reduce their tax payable, they have two options: transferring or carrying forward the unused amount. In both cases, the tuition needs to be reported on your tax return in the year it is incurred from either a T2202 tax slip or an official receipt. Even if a student has no other income or deductions to report, they need to file their tax return and include their T2202 if they choose to carry it forward or transfer it.

  • If the student chooses to carry forward the amount to a future year, they must claim the carry forward amount in the first year they have tax payable. The amount of Federal and Provincial Tuition Carry Forwards should be verified with CRA (by phone or online) prior to filing the tax return. (You do not have the choice to carry forward the amount if you need to use it and CRA will apply it automatically to reduce your tax payable).
  • The other option is to transfer the credit. You can transfer any unused amount to your parents, grandparents or spouse/common-law partner. The student completes Schedule 11 to determine the amount that can be transferred and cannot transfer any carried forward amounts.

Which TurboTax Is Best for You?

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