(NC) – Post-secondary education is expensive. Every semester starts with tuition payments and textbook purchases. You may need a new laptop and school supplies – and don't forget about all the coffee you'll need to survive the all-nighters when cramming for exams. These costs can pile up, and will have you sifting through the couch cushions for all the coins you can find.
On top of all the stress of classes, exams, and managing your money, you also have to file a tax return. This may sound arduous, but be aware that for most students, filing an income tax and benefit return can help you save money, and it can also unlock some benefit payments.
When you file your tax return, you can claim education, tuition, and textbook amounts, as well as your transit passes if you take public transit—even moving expenses if you moved to be closer to school. You can also apply for tax credits such as the GST/HST credit, which can mean a payment of up to $70 every three months to help you keep on top of your expenses. Information about credits and benefits for students at tax time can be found at www.cra.gc.ca/students.
Do yourself a favour and file your tax return even if you have no income to report. Even if you don't need to use your tuition, education, and textbook credits, you can transfer all or a portion of these credits to a parent to offset some of his or her taxes, or carry forward these amounts to reduce your taxes in future years. Without filing your income tax and benefit return, you can't get your GST/HST credit or any other federal or provincial tax benefits. And make sure you're signed up for direct deposit so you're getting your money faster, directly into your bank account.