As a student, there’s only a few things worse than trying to balance your exams while trying to do your taxes. Good news, many students will get some kind of return, big or small, simply because of all of the expenses of school. Tax time can be daunting but doing it can give you a nice little nest egg for the rest of the year. Here are some ways to file your taxes, and tips on ensuring you’re doing everything right and in a timely manner.
Turbo Tax or other tax programs:
Turbo Tax is one of the most basic and simple software you can use if you want to do your taxes yourself. It’s a comprehensive program that holds your hand through most of the process. The program even offers the option to import your documents from your CRA account vs inputting manually. Which is very convenient for people who have a couple of T4’s and T2202’s.
Other types of tax software are available including Simple Tax, UFile, StudioTax and the list goes on. Many of these share similar features but some offer free use for students (including all of the ones listed above), which means it’s worth doing your research before you decide which to use.
Every year MacEwan’s Accounting Club hosts a free tax clinic for students and the MacEwan community. This clinic is a great way to get your taxes done between classes, or even studying for exams. You will need all of your tax documentation to complete your return but so long as you have it, the more than capable club will ensure you get your return with as little hassle to you as possible.
If you just want a set-it-and-forget-it method, then the best thing to do is grab all of your documents, head over to your nearest H&R Block or your local accountant, drop off your forms and forget about it (unless they need more documents, then you should probably get them that). Mind you, you will have to pay them a fee for doing it for you, which may cut into your return.
Don’t get caught off guard by the Tuesday, April 30 deadline! You might still be waiting on that T4 from your third job and that’s ok, you can still gather the rest of your documents. If you are using a tax software like Turbo Tax, you will likely be able to save the progress on your return as well. So, if you are waiting on one document, you can pre-fill the rest of your documentation and continue where you left off later. The biggest mistake you can make as a student is to neglect your tax return. This is for two major reasons.
- If you owe money, the CRA will find out.
- You might be missing out on your hard-earned money.
Before you can file though, you need to know what you can claim. There are a lot of things you may not know you are able to claim. For example, if you move more than 40km to attend a post-secondary institution you may be eligible for a moving expense deduction. There is also a deduction on your student loan interest. So do some research into all of the possible deductions you might qualify for so that you don’t miss a dime.
Of course, tax season is stressful, especially because it coincides with exam time, but it is important to find time to ensure that your taxes are completed in a timely manner before the deadline. It is more than just getting your money or avoiding an audit, you are building your knowledge base on how to do taxes. As you progress past university there will be more to claim, more to think about and more to do when tax time comes around. You might as well start small and build your way there.