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Education, Tax Tips & Advice

Students – Don’t the Miss your Tax Breaks!

No Comments 23 January 2012

There’s no denying it – post-secondary education is expensive.  And after paying for books, accommodation, transportation and food – not to mention the actual education itself – it’s important to maximize your student tax credits when tax time rolls around.

The good news is there are a ton of tax breaks available to students. The bad news? Not everyone always knows to take advantage of them.  In fact, as we’re posted before, the deductions that students overlook most often are moving expenses and childcare expenses.  Yes, that’s right – students can qualify for those, too.

And being a student doesn’t mean you have to be going to school full-time. Employment training courses not provided by your employer can be eligible too, and you can claim an education credits for each month spent as a full or part-time student.

Examples of expenses you can claim include:

  • Lab expenses
  • Library fees
  • Examination fees
  • Mandatory computer service fees
  • Transit passes
  • Some textbooks and books included in fees for correspondence courses
  • Any GST, HST or PST included with the above
  • Review TurboTax Canada’s summary of the T2202A form for further details.

If you are repaying student loans, you are likely paying interest. But there’s good news: you can claim the interest paid on those loans.  And, you can carry forward student loan interest for up to five years. So, if you paid student loan interest in 2006 or in subsequent years and did not claim it on a previous tax return, you can claim it on your 2011 taxes.

Certain provinces also have great perks too – so be sure to look into what other breaks might be available to you depending on where you live.

And while you’re at it, why not give mom and dad a bit of thanks for helping you out along the way? You may not need to claim all of your tuition fees in order to reduce your taxes to zero, so consider transferring an unused portion of these amounts to your parents.  Bonus: you don’t even have to live with them to do it.