Filing taxes can be daunting for many people, especially if you’re a student doing it on your own for the first time. With a few of the tips below provided by ACCSA Staff, you will be filing your taxes in no time with confidence before the deadline of April 30th 2021.
What You Need to File Taxes
Nobody teaches you how to do taxes, but everybody’s financial situation is a little bit different. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), has a number or useful websites to help you make sure your taxes are done properly. For an overview of the process, click here to see the Steps to filing a tax return.
Filing for the first time? Here are some things that you will probably need to complete your tax return:
- Most students should already have a 9-digit Social Insurance Number (SIN), but if you don’t you will need to get one you can use to file your taxes. Click here for more information.
- Tax Slips (CRA Website here) are documents provided to you by employers and other organizations like the College that you need to complete your tax return. Here are a few examples:
- T4 is a form for employees. If you were paid wages at a job over the 2020 year, you should be receiving a T4 from your employer. Contact your employer directly if you haven’t received one yet.
- T4A is a similar form to the T4, but for students, this is usually only provided by the College if you received a scholarship or bursary in 2020. You can check your MyACC account for these forms.
- T2202 is a form that is used when you pay for College tuition. All students should receive a T2202 from the College, and you can check your MyACC account for these forms.
- There are other Tax Slips, but these ones are the most common. If you have any other Tax Slips, you MUST include them in your tax return.
- Deductions, Credits, and Expenses (CRA Website here) are all part of your tax return. Some examples of these are out-of-pocket medical expenses (charges not covered by your Health Insurance), book and supplies for your education, and several government programs. You can find a full list of possible deductions, credits, and expenses here. Generally, the more you are able to claim, the more likely you are to receive a return.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS – Even if this is your first year in Canada, you may be required to file a tax return. For example, if you worked at a job in 2020, or have been in the Country for at least 183 days in 2020, you will need to file taxes in Canada. Click here for more information and to confirm if you are required to file a tax return.
How Can I File My Taxes On My Own?
There are several available softwares and programs that can help students file their taxes in Canada. The one that is free to the most students is UFile, which is what the ACCSA recommends in most cases for simple returns, but there are others.
UFILE - File Taxes for FREE as a Student
The Canadian Federation of Students and UFile ONLINE have joined together to provide FREE online tax preparation and filing for all Canadian Post-Secondary students.
To be eligible for this program, you must be a resident of Canada, have tuition fees and have attended school for at least one month during the tax year being prepared. You must also be designated as the Family Head (the primary member of the family) for purposes of your tax file in UFile.
Steps to access UFile
- Sign in to a new or existing UFile account for the current tax year.
- Enter your tuition fees and months at school and click NEXT.
- Locate the “Special offer” form in UFile’s left hand navigation. (You may need to scroll down the screen.)
- Enter the following Canadian Federation of Students “Free for Students” special offer code: CFS1981
- Click NEXT.
- Enter the rest of your tax information and then you can print or NETFILE your return whenever you are ready — free of charge!
Turbo Tax - Free and Paid Options
TurboTax is a popular software that can be used to file your taxes. For simple tax returns, you can use the Free Version. For more complicated tax returns, TurboTax has a number of paid options that provide more in-depth solutions. These options start at around $19.99 per return for a Standard Version, which should cover the majority of tax return cases for students. If you own investment or rental properties, or have complicated business earnings, you may need to use the Premier Version, which starts at $34.99 per return.
There are also full-service options on TurboTax, and they cost around $130 per return. This is only recommended if you have complicated returns, most students will not require this level of service, and the cost is prohibitive.
Who Can Help Me File My Taxes?
There are a number of organizations and programs that can assist students with filing their taxes, either for free or at an affordable price. See below for some options specific to your area.
20 – 7th Street
The 7th Street Access Health Centre has a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which means anybody with an income of less than $35,000 in 2020 can get their taxes filed for free. To learn more about this service, please contact 7th Street Access directly at 204-578-4800.
210 1 Ave NE
The Dauphin Friendship Centre has a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). Any DFC Member with an income of less than $35,000 in 2020 can get their taxes filed for free. To learn more about this service, please contact the Dauphin Friendship Centre directly at 204-638-5707.
555 Spence Street
The Thrive Community Support Circle has a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which means anybody with an income of less than $35,000 in 2020 can get their taxes filed for free. To learn more about this service, please contact them directly at 204-772-9091.
YPN Winnipeg has a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which means anybody with an income of less than $35,000 in 2020 can get their taxes filed for free. To learn more about this service, please contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
110 Saskatchewan Ave. West
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada
The Portage Learning & Literacy Centre (PLLC) has a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which means anybody with an income of less than $35,000 in 2020 can get their taxes filed for free. To learn more about this service, please contact them directly at 204-857-6304 or email@example.com.
For a full list of Community Volunteer Income Tax Programs in Manitoba, click here for a searchable database.
In addition, there are many businesses and organizations out there that provide tax filing services for individuals. Some examples are H&R Block, BDO, Liberty Tax Service, etc.
While students are encouraged to do their own research and find a solution that works for them to file their taxes, the ACCSA wants to make sure that students aren’t being overcharged. Typically, a standard tax return should not cost you over $30-40 per return.
If you are quoted a price higher than that, you should review the price and possibly get a second quote from another business before moving forward. Remember, you can usually file your taxes for free when you do it online, and most online services don’t cost more than $40.