Student tax tips

Pro tip: when to delay using student tax credits

So you’ve worked out your taxes and you don’t owe anything (yay!), but you still have unused tax credits. What to do? Strategically, you could carry over some of your tax credits to gain future  rewards. Here are five ways you can benefit for your student tax credits:

First-Time Donor’s Super Tax Credit (FDSC)

As a cash-strapped student, your charitable donations may be limited. However, saving your donation receipts can pay off down the road. You can save them for up to five years and claim them when you have substantial earnings.

Since your tax credit increases to 29% from 15% on total donation amounts over $200, it may be worthwhile to save them so more of your donation dollars receive the larger credit. But there’s more! If you haven’t claimed any donations in the prior five years, the FDSC will provide an additional 25% tax credit for a first-time donor on up to $1,000 worth of donations.

Medical receipts

These can be carried over for up to 12 months. You can decide which of the two tax years is most advantageous to claim (usually in the lower income year).

Education and textbook credits

“Nothing lasts forever” is especially true with tax credits. Both the education and textbook credits, which are based on your months enrolled, end after 2016. This means you can use them for 2016 or carry them forward to future years. You must start claiming these in the first year you have to pay tax.

The great news is that your tuition is tax deductible. Although you may not need it now, it too can be carried over for when you do. You can also transfer credits to your spouse, parents, or grandparents. However, if you want to transfer you should do it now. Otherwise, by carrying it forward, the credits can only be claimed by you in future years.

Interest paid on government student loans

This credit may seem trivial during the time that you are in school, but it’s a very welcome tax break once you’re actually bringing in income. You can carry the interest forward and apply it for up to five years after it was paid.

If you’re underemployed during the first few years after graduating, it’s likely worth carrying over to a year(s) when you really need it.

A moving experience

If you’re moving to a job at least 40 kilometres away, you can claim moving expenses.  If you move for a new job after graduation (say starting in June), it may be better to carry your moving expenses over to the following year when you’ll have a full year’s earnings.

Bonus tip: You can also claim moving expenses if you move from your place of study to take a summer job during summer break.

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