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Posted on August 29, 2013

Back to school tax credits

Written by Avner Polatsek | @AvnerPolatsek

Graceful female student

As the leaves start to fall and students start to dread the approaching school year, life gets inescapably busy. The summer always seems to fly by and when September hits, parents of post-secondary students find themselves frantically moving their kids into dorms and shelling out cash for textbooks. With all of this chaos, many people forget to keep track of some important receipts and come tax time, they lose out on some great school tax credits and tax deductions.

Tuition Tax Credit

Post-secondary students can claim their tuition fees to receive a tuition tax credit and need either an official tax receipt or a completed form T2202A to do so. This tax credit is fairly straightforward and is commonly transferred to a student’s parents if their income isn’t very high or if the parents are the ones footing the educational bill.

Note: If there are any student loans involved, you might want to become familiar with the rules for claiming interest paid on student loans for after the schooling is finished.

Licensing or Examination Fees

Paying to take an exam or to receive a license in order to practice a certain profession or trade in Canada might be eligible for the tuition tax credit as well. There are some exceptions if you are being reimbursed by an employer, so make sure to check with your accountant before you file your tax return.

Deducting Student Moving Expenses

If a student has to move in order to go to school (at least 40 km closer than their previous home), they can claim their moving expenses. Unfortunately, claiming moving expenses for school isn’t exactly as helpful as it is for work. A student can only deduct their moving expenses from the money they receive as a result of attending school and would have to claim as income.

In other words, if a student receives a bursary or a research grant and has to move to another location to complete their educational commitment, they can deduct their moving expenses from that income.

Textbooks

Even though textbooks range in price dramatically from faculty to faculty, the CRA handles textbook tax deductions in a one-size-fits-all approach. You can claim $65 per month for full-time studies and $20 for part-time. Your accountant will use your Schedule 11 to figure out exactly how much you can claim.

Make sure to keep all of these school tax credits and deductions in mind as the weather cools and the semester starts up. You will reap the benefits at tax time!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We are tax specialists and would be happy to meet with you.