By Neha Khinchi
Tax Season is here! As a student who is planning to file taxes for the first time, we understand that you may have a lot of questions related to filing your taxes. In order to get an answer to all your questions, we interviewed Mr. Alan Murray, Communication Manager, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). We asked Mr. Murray a few must-know questions for this tax season, questions that should help students understand the importance and benefits of filing taxes.
In Canada, there are two types of taxes: Value Added Tax (VAT) that are assessed by the Federal Government and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) that are assessed by the Provincial Government. Starting with the Financial year/ Fiscal Year timelines, you can file your yearly taxes i.e., from January 1st to December 31st of the previous year till April 30th of the present year. However, this year since April 30th and May 1st is a weekend, the deadline to file your taxes and claim your tax return benefits is May 2nd, 2022. If you, your spouse, or your common-law partner are self-employed, then you can file your taxes till June 15th, 2022.
When filing a return for the first time, students can either choose to; go and file their taxes in person, go to a free tax clinic where the volunteers can help you with the process or may choose to file electronically via NETFILE.
“Community Volunteer Income Tax Program information is found on the Canada.gc site, and there is a search engine to find a free tax clinic at Find a tax clinic in your area (cra-arc.gc.ca). The information that is required for volunteers to complete a tax return would include any tax information slips (T4, T4A, etc.), receipts for deductions and credits, your Social Insurance Number, and personal identification. Students may be eligible for help depending on the level of their income (for an individual, the suggested total income level is $35,000). However, NETFILE cannot be used by non-residents or deemed residents, so it is important for international students to confirm their residency status before attempting to file electronically.”, adds Mr. Murray.
To file your tax returns, you need the following documents:
▪ Social Insurance Number (SIN) - Service Canada issues this nine-digit number (ex. 111‑111‑111) and the government uses it to identify you. CRA uses your SIN to connect your income tax and benefit return to your account. If you have a spouse or a common-law partner, you will also need their SIN and net income.
▪ a temporary tax number (TTN) starting with a 01 or 03.
▪ If you have done your taxes before, you may need to gather some more information about your tax account with the CRA. This could include your NETFILE access code, your carry-forward amounts, your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) details.
T4 slip - an information slip is given to you by the issuer (the institution who pays you the income). It is a document that gives you details about your income and related deductions for a particular tax year. The issuer is usually your financial institution, your school, or any other government department. The issuer provides the slip before March 1 of the following year.
However, not all your income will be reported under the information slip. This could include tips or occasional earnings. Whether or not these earnings are not shown in your slip, you are supposed to report it on your tax return. You are also responsible for confirming what supporting documents you need to claim an amount on your tax return.
Form TD1 - Personal Tax Credits Return, must be completed when you start a new job so that your employer can pay you accurately. If you are an employee, your employer is responsible for deducting this tax from your pay.
Taxes are mandatory payments made to the government; hence it is not a choice but an obligation. The government then uses these payments to support programs and/or services such as Canada Child Benefit (CCB), Employment Insurance (EI), Old Age Security (OAS) Program, and many more. As much as the taxes benefits the ones in need, it also benefits students in various ways. A few reasons stated by Mr. Murray are;
Tuition Tax Credit – the student can reduce the tax they may owe if they paid tuition fees to a post-secondary school or to an educational institution certified by the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development to develop or improve skills in an occupation. They may also be able to transfer your unused tuition to your spouse or common-law partner or your or your spouse or common-law partner’s parents or grandparent.
Carrying forward past amounts – the student can carry forward their current year’s unused tuition fees (that they did not transfer) to claim in a future year. However, they can no longer claim federal education and textbook amounts on your return. Other benefits are Canada Training Credit, Interest Paid on the Student Loans, Eligible Moving Expenses, and many more.
All said and done, it is equally important for students to be able to recognize a scam/fraud. Many scams or frauds imitate government services in order to get access to your personal and financial information. A few ways that scam and fraud attempts are carried out are thorough phone call scams, email scams, text message scams. In the case that the CRA needs to inform you regarding any security incident, they will always contact you by sending letters by mail to individuals and businesses.
For any further information, please visit the CRA site or call the 1-800 General Enquiries line (1-800-959-8281).