If you are a student you should file a tax return whether you had income in the year or not. You and your family can benefit from several student specific tax credits and deductions that are available to Canadians. Depending on your situation, you may be able to claim the following tax credits:
- Tuition, education, and textbook amounts
- Interest paid on your student loans
- Public transit costs
- Moving expenses
- Childcare expenses
- Child and family benefits
- Canada employment amount
To claim your tuition, education, and textbook amounts you must have received a T2202A, TL11A, TL11B, TL11C, or TL11D, or an RL-8 if you are a resident of Québec, from your educational institution. These forms show the number of months you were enrolled in an educational program and the amount of eligible tuition you paid.
You can claim the tuition amount for eligible fees paid that were over $100. Your education tax credit depends on the number of months you were enrolled in an educational program. If you were enrolled in a full-time program, you can claim $400 for each month indicated on your tax form. If you were in a part-time program, you can claim $120 for each month indicated on your tax form. You can only claim a textbook amount if you are eligible for the education amount. You can claim $65 for each month you qualify for the full-time education amount and $20 for each month you qualify for the part-time education amount.
If you don’t need all or a portion of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts to reduce your income tax payable to zero, you can either carry forward the amounts to a future year or transfer them to a spouse/common-law partner, parent, or grandparent.
If, during the year, you paid interest on a student loan under the Canada Student Loans Act, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, or similar provincial or territorial government laws for post-secondary education, only you can claim the interest that you, or a person related to you, paid on that loan. The interest you can claim must only be from a student loan and not on any other type of loan.
Note: You can only claim this amount if you have not claimed it before.
You cannot transfer this amount to another person.
You or your spouse/common-law partner can claim the cost of public transit, provided that these have not been claimed by someone else. You can claim this amount for transit passes for yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and your children.
You may be eligible to claim the following moving expenses if you were enrolled in a full-time program and your educational institution issued a T2202A or TL11A/B/C/D, or an RL-8, to you:
- If you moved to attend a post-secondary educational institution
- If you moved for employment (including summer employment)
Note: Your moving expenses can only be deducted from the taxable part of scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and grants.
You can carry forward any unused moving expenses to reduce your income tax payable in a future year.
If you have a child under the age of 16 (or have a child with a mental or physical impairment), you or your spouse or common-law partner can claim the cost of childcare that you paid in order to go to school or earn income. Generally, only the person with the lower net income (even if it is zero) can claim these expenses. However, the individual with the higher net income may still be able to claim the child care expenses if their spouse or common-law partner was enrolled in an educational program or if another specific situation applied.
Students often overlook these benefits that they may be entitled to:
- Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit and related provincial credits;
- Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) and related provincial and territorial credits; or
- The universal child care benefit (UCCB).
If you earned employment income in the year, you can claim the lesser of $1, 146 and the total employment income you reported on your return. For example, if you reported $20,000 in employment income on your return, you will be able to claim the maximum amount of $1, 146 for your Canada employment amount.
Additionally, if you have a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), you or your spouse or common-law partner can withdraw money tax-free from your RRSP to pay for your education under the Lifelong Learning Plan. The amount you withdraw must be repaid in 10 years.
- Students and income tax (CRA website)
- T778: Childcare expenses deduction (H&R Block Help Centre article)
- Canada employment amount (CRA website)
- Lifelong Learning Plan (CRA website)