Photo By: Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Filing your taxes can be scary, even for accounting students like myself. But there are a lot of tricks out there to help you save time and money this tax season, and I’ve compiled a few here:

1. You don’t have to be a professional to file a tax return

As a student, your tax return likely won’t be very complicated. Though it might be easier to pay someone to do your taxes, there are plenty of resources available online to help you navigate filing yourself and put that money towards something more exciting. Some popular platforms are TurboTax and WealthSimple Tax, both of which offer tutorials and the option to file for free. If you aren’t sure where to start, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) also offers an online course to understand the Canadian tax system as a whole.

2. Keep all of your tax documents in one place

Some of the most important documents you’ll need in order to file your taxes include your T4 slips for any employment income earned, the T2202A for tuition fees paid, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution receipts and receipts for moving expenses if you moved for school or work during the year. These documents contain key information that you’ll need to include on your return, so it’s a good idea to keep them all together. If you choose to file yourself, you’ll likely use an online software, so it might be helpful to store them in your email inbox or in a folder on your desktop.

3. Don’t skip through the tax credits 

Once you input your income and eligible deductions for the year, you’ll notice there are many tax credits that show up on the following page. While this may be tedious, there are lots of credits in there that you may qualify for based on your expenditures during the year. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Tuition
  • Student loan interest
  • Eligible moving expenses
  • Childcare expenses
  • Medical expenses

While tax deductions lower your taxable income, tax credits directly reduce your taxes owing or boost your refund. Scanning through the list of available credits could save you quite a bit and even put more money in your pocket.

4. Sign up for CRA direct deposit

Now that you’ve filed your return, you can expect a Notice of Assessment within two weeks. If you qualify for a refund, you’d typically have to wait for a cheque in the mail, but now have the option to enroll in CRA direct deposit. This means that your refund will be processed almost immediately after your return is assessed, along with any other annual/quarterly credits that you may qualify for.

5. File on time

Filing your tax return isn’t glamorous by any means, but it likely won’t take as long as you think. Filing early not only helps you avoid late fees, but also means a quicker turnaround. This is especially beneficial if you qualify for a refund because it means that you can expect that money in your bank account even sooner. However, be sure to carefully review your return before submitting to avoid data errors or missing amounts.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Readers are encouraged to reach out to a licensed accounting professional with any specific questions regarding their tax return.