By ALEX RIESE
A healthy tax return could boost your savings account or fund your dream summer vacation. But without the proper knowledge, your tax return could be a dud.
Fortunately, the Ontario government offers several credits that students can take advantage of to maximize their tax returns. According to Lynda Scroggan, a senior tax professional at H&R Block, the most useful one for most college and university students is the tuition tax credit.
“Most of the time students don’t have jobs, so they’re not paying taxes and not getting any income, but these tuition credits are incredibly valuable as a non-refundable,” she said. “The tuition credits just keep adding up until they get a job, and once they’re earning income and paying income taxes those non-refundable tax credits become available for them to reduce their tax.”
According to Scroggan, students can also claim moving expenses on their tax returns.
“If a student lives in B.C. and they attend school in Alberta, their airfare would be a claimable moving expense,” she said.
Scroggan, who has worked at H&R Block for 16 years, has dealt with many students facing the daunting task of filing their own taxes for the first time.
“I don’t think they get a whole lot of information about what they need to do or what they need to bring, so hopefully we can provide that information to them,” she said.
Though they may not have the information, most college students have access to the support they need through other avenues. Andreas Rojas, a first-year finance student at Conestoga College, enlists the help of Stegers Company Trustee in Bankruptcy.
“They’ve just been doing it since I was a little kid, and my parents used them in previous years,” he said.
Others, like first-year health office administration student Jodi Berry, have family members who do their taxes for them.
“My sister does my taxes for me,” she said. “She’s an accounting student, and mine are pretty easy, so she just does them.”
For more information, students can visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/p105/README.html for the P105 pamphlet, which provides comprehensive information for all students filing their own taxes.
Conestoga Students Inc. is also holding a tax clinic on March 27 from 3 to 6 p.m. in Room 2A111, where students can get their taxes done for free.