You can start collecting the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GST) starting with the first quarterly payment that is issued after you have turned 19. For instance, if your 19th birthday falls in August, your first payment will be issued in October. You must file a tax return for the previous year in order to receive the credit. A student earning less than $8,965 in the previous year will receive a total quarterly credit of $95.87, included the British Columbia Low Income Climate Action Tax credit (BCLICATC).
With the start of the university year approaching, many parents with children entering post secondary institutions for the first time are unsure how to report their child’s education expenses on their tax return.
It is not necessary to save receipts from the school in order to claim deductions to report on your tax return. Virtually all of the allowable expenses related to post secondary education can be determined using the T2202A form that is issued by the institution in February of the following calendar year.
You may want to retain the receipts which break down the largest payments to the institution, as they may be used to report a medical credit for the extended health benefit plan in which the students are enrolled.
Tuition credits can add up very quickly for a student. Eligible tuition fees are calculated using the actual dollars paid for your tuition and the other deductible expenses paid on enrolment.
Additional credits are available for the number of full time or part time months of attendance at school. If you attend school full time, you are eligible for an education and text book credit of $465 per month for each month of attendance. If you attend part time, you are eligible for a credit of $140 per month.
Because they can only transfer $5,000 of tuition credits to their parent or grandparent, it is important that students file their own tax returns each year to ensure they receive the remaining credit in future years.
If you attend school full time for eight months, the education credit alone is $3,720, before even considering the cost of tuition. Not filing a tax return every year could result in thousands of dollars of lost credits.
You can deduct expenses to move your child to university against taxable scholarships received. However, most scholarships to attend post secondary school are now tax free, particularly for full time students, so often times, this moving expense is not usable.
Even though many young adults do not file their personal tax returns every year, it is vital for you to do so.
Filing ensures you qualify for all of the refundable tax credits which are available to you. For example, you are limited to transferring $5,000 of your tuition and education credits to another individual (such as a parent or a grandparent). Combined, your annual tuition and education credits will often be greater than $5,000. The individual receiving your transferred credits cannot carry forward any excess amounts. You, the student, must file the form itself in order to carry forward the credit to your tax returns in future years.
Not filing these tax returns can result in thousands of dollars of lost credits you could claim against your future earnings.