When doing personal tax returns for post-secondary students, some credits happen automatically when entering certain documents. Others you need to be aware of. I’ve listed a number of them for your consideration.
- T2202A – Tuition, Education and Textbook Amounts Certificate.
This is the form the student receives annually which indicates the amount paid to the post-secondary institution. When entering the number of months the student was either in part-time or full-time studies, this automatically generates a credit. For each month of part-time studies, the student receives $120 education credit and $20 for the textbook credit. Full-time students receive $400 per month education credit and $65 for the textbook credit.
- Residence or Off-Campus Housing
If the student is in residence, there is an Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit available of $25. There is up to $900 available as a tax credit if the student lives in off-campus housing, whether they pay rent or own the property.
If the student needs to move more than 40 Kms to study courses full-time at a recognized institution, moving expenses can be deducted. The expenses need to be applied to the income received from scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes and research grants that are required to be included in income. If the expenses are greater than the above funds received, then the unused portion can be carried forward and reported in subsequent years. Expenses can also be deducted if moving to work, including summer employment, or to run a business. These expenses can only be deducted from employment or self-employment income earned at the new location. Moving expenses can also be claimed at the beginning of each academic period when moving to the educational institute. The 40 Km limitation applies in all circumstances. This can also apply to students moving to Canada for studies or leaving Canada for studies.
- Public Transit Passes
This credit is available to everyone but not always considered for students that travel regularly. There are a number of passes that qualify for the credit but the main one is a monthly (or longer duration) pass for commuting on buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains and local ferries.
- Student Loan Interest
Students may be eligible to claim most of the interest paid on their loan in 2010 and/or the preceding five years if it was received under:
a) the Canada Student Loans Act;
b) the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act;
c) or a similar provincial or territorial government laws for post-secondary education.
Only the student can claim most of the interest paid on the student loans even though someone related may have paid it. Amounts that are not claimed this year can be carried forward to any of the next five years.
- Textbook and Technology Grant
This is a grant available to full-time students registered at an Ontario public college or university. For the academic year 2010 – 2011 $150 is available. Deadline for application is May 2011. Application for this is through the 2010 – 2011 OSAP Application for Full-Time Students.
- First Generation Students (FGS)
First generation students are those who parents or guardians did not participate in post-secondary studies, and can demonstrate a financial need. Funds are available as a Grant. Grants typically do not have to be paid back. For more information the student should contact their school’s Financial Aid Office and complete an application form for the 2010 – 2011 academic year. Please note that when researching this information, I came across conflicting deadlines. I advise you to contact the school as quickly as possible to determine your eligibility and filing requirements.
There are additional credits and considerations when filing student tax returns. If you have any specific question or would like clarification do not hesitate to contact me.
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Until next time,