Taking taxes into your own hands

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By Jill Koskitalo

Don’t panic.

If Revenue Canada had any heart at all, those two words would be printed in large, friendly letters on the cover of every tax form.

Unfortunately, they aren’t, and as April 30 looms near, the confusion surrounding how to file your taxes increases.

Most students never bother to file a return. People who don’t have a full-time source of income may not even need to.

Unless you owe taxes, there’s no need to file. However, filing a return is a good idea for several reasons.

Number one on everyone’s list, of course, the money. Even if you didn’t work at all, and therefore paid no taxes, the Ontario Sales Tax Credit could potentially get you $100 just for filling out a return.

Also, if you worked part-time but earned less than $6,456, you may be eligible for a refund for any taxes taken off your paycheque.

Even if you aren’t eligible for a refund, it’s still worthwhile to file because it can provide for future RRSP contributions, which are tax-deductible. The tuition you pay is also deductible.

Here are a few other tips to help you get started:

  • Don’t pay a cent. Most students’ tax returns are fairly easy to prepare, so why pay the $20 that most preparation services charge?
  • Read the guide. True, the Revenue Canada Tax Guide (available wherever you pick up tax returns) is not an exciting read, but it does explain a few things.
  • If you’re at the end of your rope there is help available. Revenue Canada’s tax information services may be able to help answer your questions. The service can also direct you to clinics where the tax help is free.

 

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