Being a student can mean beating the taxman.

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Hilary Hagerman

After paying your tuition, buying books and picking up your Metropass, your wallet may be feeling awfully empty.

But cheer up and save those receipts as all these expenses can make a huge difference on your tax returns. One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to put some cash back in your hands is to maximize your non-refundable federal tax credits for full-time students.

But what is a non-refundable tax credit? “It’s a credit that can only be used to reduce federal or provincial and territorial taxes payable to zero,” said student income tax specialist Maureen Hartnett. And although it may sound like common sense you have to have actually paid taxes in order to reduce them.

“Many students don’t know that there are these credits out there for them to utilize,” added Mustaq Ahmed from Omnibus Tax & Accounting Services Inc.

You only start having payable taxes if you’re making $10,320 per year and this alone can give you a return of $1,548 on your federal taxes.

Ahmed suggests filing a return every year, whether you have income or not.

Also available are non-refundable tax credits for your tuition, employment, interest on your student loans, textbooks and monthly public transit expenses.

You can also get a return just for being in school. An education amount tax credit gives you a refund for each whole or part month in which you were enrolled in school.

The government will also shell out if you have relocated 40 kilometres or more to come to Ryerson. Even travel costs like food and on-the-road accommodation can be claimed as well as costs associated with breaking an old lease.

It might not be tax season yet, but now is the time to start collecting all those slips and papers you may have been throwing out.

Ahmed encourages students to gather all T4 and T5 slips, tuition fee slips (T2202 or T2202A), rent receipts, public transit passes, donation receipts and receipts for any medical expenses, including dental, glasses and prescriptions.

Have a look to the right to see how much you could save.

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