Tax season is upon us once again and this year we’re saving you the headache with our ‘How to’ tax filing guide for students.
Filing your taxes is not something any of us looks forward to, and for some, it can even be a scary or intimidating task. But taxes don’t have to be such a dreaded time for students! If your tax situation is uncomplicated, why complicate things? There are many options you can use to file online with ease and certainty. All it takes to file an income tax return online is certified tax software, some of which are even free. Keep reading as we walk you through the process and prepare you to take on the 2022 tax season with confidence.
Please keep in mind that this article offers general helpful tips. Please consult a financial or tax expert if needed.
How to File Your Taxes
May 2nd marks the deadline for this year’s tax filing season and it is fast approaching! Below are five free online resources you can use to make filing your taxes easy, quick, and stress-free:
Award: Most Well Known
Starting with the most familiar to us all: H&R Block. We see the physical locations in every town and city, but did you know that it offers a do-it-yourself option with its online tax software?
H&R Block is a great option because it has been the face of income tax filing for decades and is very well respected. With an easy-to-use interface, H&R Block offers a free, basic return option for students and those with uncomplicated returns. If at any point things get overwhelming, it gives you the option to purchase the Expert Review or Ask a Tax Expert feature, which provides experts on standby to offer extra support.
Award: Easiest to Use
Cloud Tax claims to be the easiest software to use with a step-by-step guided application, which includes video tutorials and educational resources.
Cloud Tax also offers live chat, phone, and email support from tax experts. If you are feeling intimidated by the idea of filing your own taxes, Cloud Tax might be the best option for you!
Award: 100% Free 100% of the Time
Formally Simple Tax, Wealthsimple Tax claims to be the “hassle-free, worry-free, and actually free tax filing platform”. That’s what we’re all looking for, right?
Unlike many of its competitors, Wealthsimple does not provide pricing tiers and is always 100% free of charge. Out of the free software versions available, Wealthsimple Tax offers the most features at zero cost. Wealthsimple Tax may not be your top choice if you are faced with a complicated return, however, if everything appears to be straightforward, Wealthsimple Tax is a great option.
Award: Most Valuable Player (MVP)
TurboTax has been offering online tax filing software in Canada for over 20 years. It claims to be the number one tax software in Canada, helping Canadians file 45 million income tax returns since its inception.
Turbo Tax is a big player in the tax return game and has a slightly more complicated interface than its competitors. The site will tackle the most complicated of returns and offers pricing tiers depending on your tax situation's complexity. For simple returns you can also opt for the free, basic option.
Government of Canada
Award: Community Initiative
For the 2022 tax season, some community organizations are hosting free virtual tax clinics, with volunteers offering to complete and file your taxes for free via videoconference, phone, or through a modified drop-off clinic. To find a clinic click here.
What Documents do You Need to File Your Taxes?
The first step in filing your taxes is gathering all necessary documents. The most important are as follows:
- SIN: Your Social Insurance Number is necessary for filing your taxes.
- T2202: This shows the tuition fees you paid for the tax year. You should receive this document from your educational institution.
- T4: This highlights your employment income and deductions. You should receive your T4 from your employer.
- T4A: The T4A is available for students who have received a scholarship or bursary in the tax year. You should receive this document from your educational institution.
Credits and Deductions Available to Students
For students, college tuition and other eligible expenses will reduce your total tax payable and may result in you receiving a refund. Remember, you will need additional documentation to be awarded the credits that do apply. Below are some of the most common credits and deductions available to students:
If you moved for educational purposes, you may be able to claim certain expenses as deductions on this year’s tax return.
Are you a student and a parent? If so, and you or your spouse had to pay for childcare in order to attend school, you may be eligible to claim these expenses.
Interest Paid on Student Loans
If you received your student loan under certain circumstances, you may be able to claim interest on them.
Canada Training Credit
If you are 26 years old or above and have paid tuition you may be able to claim the Canada Training Credit.
Federal Tax Credit
The federal tuition tax credit is one of the top tax credits for post-secondary students. Even if you aren’t reporting any income this year, you can use this credit to claim the eligible tuition fees you paid to take your program. 6
Provincial Credits and Deductions
Additionally, there are various province-specific credits and deductions that students can avail of:
- Manitoba fitness amount
- Ontario low-income individuals and families tax credit
- Saskatchewan graduate tuition tax
- Saskatchewan active families benefit
Factors to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Free Tax Filing Service
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right free, online tax software for your filing needs:
Netfile is a service provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) which allows you to file your taxes from your computer or electronic device. Before choosing a tax software, make sure it is Netfile approved. All of the above-mentioned companies are Netfile-certified.
Free and Premium Versions
Depending on the complexity of your tax filing and return, you can choose between a free or premium version. So, make sure the version you choose offers a decent free version, with a more advanced version available if necessary.
Maximum Refund Guarantee
A well-reputed tax software will usually offer a maximum refund guarantee. This means that the software is guaranteeing you the lowest tax payable or the highest possible refund. All of the above-mentioned offer this guarantee.
We Are Here to Help!
We hope this is a valuable guide for our current Sundance students as the tax season approaches. If you're thinking of joining our student body, feel free to use the tips provided. If you need more information on the Sundance program you're interested in, get in touch with us today!
For more help visit the CRA website or to speak to someone at CRA call their information line at 1-800-959-828.