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HomePersonal FinanceFree money for college students: Tax suggestions for fogeys and college students

Free money for college students: Tax suggestions for fogeys and college students


Jamie Golombek: Each post-secondary pupil ought to file a tax return, even when they do not owe any cash

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In the event you’re a pupil in post-secondary faculty — or a guardian of 1 — it pays to know a number of issues to assist maximize the advantages and cut back the taxes payable come subsequent April … and past.

First, file a tax return. Most post-secondary college students can have annual earnings beneath the federal primary private quantity (BPA) of $15,000 and gained’t owe any taxes, nevertheless it’s strongly advisable to file a return for a number of causes, the first one being free money.

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There are an a variety of benefits which are solely accessible to taxpayers who file returns. First, there’s the GST/HST credit score, which is offered to lower-income people who’re 19 years of age or older. The credit score is paid quarterly, with the following credit score scheduled for Oct. 5. The quantity you get relies on your loved ones earnings and may very well be as excessive as $496 for a single individual.

College students in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador who’re not less than 19 years of age can declare the local weather motion incentive fee. That is additionally a tax-free profit paid in quarterly instalments. The quantity you obtain will not be income-tested, and varies by province. For instance, eligible single Ontarians will obtain $488, whereas the Alberta program pays $772.

However past gathering authorities advantages, submitting a tax return from an early age will assist set up registered retirement financial savings plan (RRSP) contribution room if a pupil has earnings from a full- or part-time job or a summer time job. RRSP room is usually equal to 18 per cent of the prior yr’s earned earnings. Primarily based on reported earned earnings, the Canada Income Company will routinely hold observe of your RRSP contribution room, which can be utilized till age 71. A tax deduction could be claimed for contributions made within the yr that don’t exceed your accessible contribution room. Alternatively, the tax deduction could be claimed in a future yr.

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For instance, let’s say Sarah is a pupil who works half time and earns $10,000 of employment earnings in 2023. That is nicely beneath the 2023 primary private quantity of $15,000, so she gained’t owe any tax on this earnings. By submitting a 2023 tax return, she’s going to generate RRSP contribution room of $1,800 for 2024. Sarah may select to make an RRSP contribution in 2024, however defer claiming the tax deduction till she’s in a better tax bracket, maybe when she begins working full time after commencement.

Registered training financial savings plan withdrawals

If mother and father or different members of the family arrange a registered training financial savings plan (RESP) to assist fund a pupil’s post-secondary training, it’s necessary to be strategic about your withdrawals to scale back or, in lots of circumstances, even eradicate any tax invoice related to receiving the funds.

An RESP is a tax-deferred financial savings plan that permits mother and father (or others) to contribute as much as $50,000 per little one to avoid wasting for post-secondary training. The addition of presidency cash within the type of matching Canada Schooling Financial savings Grants (CESGs) can add one other $7,200 per beneficiary.

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Contributions, which weren’t tax-deductible when made to an RESP, can typically be withdrawn tax free when the scholar attends post-secondary training. These are referred to as “refund of contributions,” or ROCs. Every other funds popping out of the plan for post-secondary training are known as “instructional help funds,” or EAPs. This consists of the earnings, good points and CESGs within the RESP.

An RESP is a tax-deferred savings plan that allows parents (or others) to contribute up to $50,000 per child to save for post-secondary education.
An RESP is a tax-deferred financial savings plan that permits mother and father (or others) to contribute as much as $50,000 per little one to avoid wasting for post-secondary training. Photograph by Getty Photos/iStockphoto

At first look, it may appear enticing to solely withdraw ROCs, since they’re merely non-taxable, but when the aim is to scale back the household’s taxes all through the whole course of the youngsters’ research, it’s in all probability higher to take some EAPs annually to completely use the scholar’s primary private quantity and different accessible credit, such because the federal tuition credit score.

Take Isaac, a post-secondary pupil who earned no earnings in 2023. He may obtain roughly $22,000 in EAPs with no federal tax by claiming the 2023 federal BPA of $15,000, and, assuming undergrad Canadian tuition charges of about $7,000, the federal tuition credit score. (There could also be a little bit of provincial tax, relying on the scholar’s province of residence.)

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For 2023, a pupil might obtain as much as $26,860 in EAPs with out having to display to the RESP supplier that such a withdrawal request is affordable. New for 2023, the federal government elevated the greenback quantity of EAPs that may be withdrawn within the first 13 weeks of training to $8,000, from $5,000, for full-time research.

Extra financial savings

It’s unlikely that many college students can have a lot left over after paying for their very own training, however any remaining funds could be contributed to a wide range of registered plans, every of which provides its personal advantages. Historically, many college students have socked away extra summer time earnings in a tax-free financial savings account (TFSA), however a brand new possibility for 2023 is the first dwelling financial savings account (FHSA).

The FHSA is a registered plan that offers first-time homebuyers the power to contribute $8,000 per yr, as much as a $40,000 lifetime restrict, to avoid wasting on a tax-free foundation in direction of the acquisition of a qualifying dwelling in Canada. The FHSA combines the very best characteristic of an RRSP, a tax-deductible contribution, with probably the most enticing characteristic of a TFSA, the tax-free withdrawal of all contributions, funding earnings or progress earned within the account, when funds are used to purchase a primary dwelling.

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For college kids, identical to with RRSP contributions, the FHSA deduction needn’t be taken within the yr it’s made, however could be indefinitely carried ahead and deducted in a later tax yr when the scholar could also be in a better tax bracket.

Take into account Jake, who’s in his remaining yr of post-secondary research. Whereas in class, he labored half time and summers, and, after paying for the price of his research and dwelling bills, he has $8,000 remaining. He may contribute that to an FHSA in 2023, and save that deduction for a later yr when he’s in a better tax bracket. This may give him a head begin towards saving for a down fee ought to he in the end purchase a house inside the subsequent 15 years.

Jamie Golombek, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP, is the managing director, Tax & Property Planning with CIBC Non-public Wealth in Toronto. Jamie.Golombek@cibc.com.


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