Make the most of your tax return

David Sukhdeo, an accounting professor at Conestoga, skims through his tax textbooks to find information that students can use when filing their 2017 tax returns. – Photo by Peter Swart

BY PETER SWART

It’s officially tax season and students should be starting to look into every possible tax break they can get before filing.

According to David Sukhdeo, one of Conestoga’s accounting professors, there are plenty of benefits that students can take advantage of.
“All tuition that students paid is what they get to claim on their taxes,” he said. “As well, if they paid interest on a student loan they can claim that amount.”
One option students have that they may not know about is to claim any money they spent to relocate for school. “Any moving expense a student incurred in order to attend school can be
claimed,” said Sukhdeo.

On top of school-related expenses students can also claim regular items such as public transit costs, money spent on child care and any rent paid. For a complete list go to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html.
The notable difference this year from previous years is that the education and textbook credit is no longer relevant. The textbook amount was available to every student no matter the income bracket, but this year the government decided to use that money to help out students with a lower income.

“One of the reasons it was discontinued was because they increased grants and scholarships,” Sukhdeo said. “They are income tested, so students in lower income brackets will receive these scholarships.”

Conestoga’s accounting program will not be holding a tax clinic this year as there are no students who have gone through the required training. However, there are other resources for students who need help.

“We have had the tax clinic for the past seven years, but this year there is no
tax clinic at the college,” Sukhdeo said. “However, there are other free tax clinics in the neighbourhood and students should call CRA to get the dates and times.”

One of these is a free clinic at The Working Centre, located at 58 Queen St. S. in Kitchener. Tax help is available by appointment.

A full list of clinics is available on the CRA website.

About Spoke

Spoke Online is produced weekly during the school year by Conestoga College second-year journalism print students, faculty adviser Christina Jonas and new media technologist Michael Toll.