IGNITE

How to use tax season to your advantage

by Norma Zminkowska

Own this tax season!

Tax season can be scary because there is just so much that we have to keep track of. What are tax payables anyway? As if we need more stress on top of exams.

There are many benefits to filing your taxes. You can use your tuition credit to reduce the amount you owe, and you can claim the interest you paid on your student loans. Plus, doing a tax return will make you feel like more of an adult.

IGNITE is hosting a month-long Tax Clinic to make your life a little easier. We’re offering free sessions with trained accounting students to file your taxes so you have more time to study for exams (and see friends). The Tax Clinic is open for all Humber and Guelph-Humber students, and runs from March 26th to April 26th, Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, at KX205 at North, and K Building at Lakeshore. Book your appointment today!

Want to try doing your own taxes? Check out our four reasons why you should learn to do them.

Here, we give you just a few of the many ways you can take advantage of your taxes:

Tuition and textbooks

Animation of someone handing over a bill and the other person taking the whole wallet

Students spend tons of money on tuition expenses, and a lot of us are struggling with debt. Sometimes it feels like our money is just disappearing from our bank accounts. There’s one small upside to all of that: full-time and part-time students are eligible for a non-refundable tuition tax credit. This means you can claim the credit to reduce the amount you owe in taxes, or carry it forward for future years. You’re also able to transfer it to your parents, spouses, or dependents.

You can’t claim individual textbook amounts anymore, but you can carry forward unused textbook amounts from 2016 or earlier.

What you’ll need: A T2202A Tuition and Enrolment Certificate, which proves that you’re taking courses at a college or university level, and shows how much credit you’re entitled to. It can be found on MyHumber, or Webadvisor for Guelph-Humber students.

Student loans

Cat in a box sticks its paw out through a hole and grabs a coin

If student loans are getting you down, join the club. The loan application process at the beginning of school is so hectic, and although we get that shiny new degree or certificate, we face massive amounts of debt once we graduate. However, the federal government lets you claim the interest you pay on your student loans

What you’ll need: The loan service you applied to will usually mail you an income tax receipt that lists how much you have to pay back, and how much you already paid in taxes.

Claim your rent fees

Humber College Lakeshore student housing

A big part of the college or university experience is living on your own for the first time. The tax season may be added stress, but it makes rent fees a little easier to handle. If you’re a full-time student, and have moved for school, you can deduct expenses from any scholarships, grants, or bursaries.

Doesn’t apply to you? You can still claim the rent you pay in Ontario.

What you’ll need: Apply for the Ontario Trillium Benefit when you’re doing your taxes. This allows you to claim upwards to $1,008.

Transit passes

Animation of people riding a bus and getting of the bus

Do you feel like you’re spending a lot of money on transit passes? Now’s your chance to get more out of them. Although the federal government got rid of the public transit tax credit last year that allowed you to claim passes for the entire year, you can still claim the taxes you paid on passes from January 1st, 2017 to June 30th, 2017. You might be able to get a bit of the money you spent back.

What you’ll need: You’ll need a copy of all your unlimited travel passes from that six month period, along with the name of the transit system and the total amount you paid. That means monthly passes, weekly passes, and statements from any PRESTO cards as long as they were used for unlimited travel. You won’t have to send the CRA a copy of all your passes, but just keep back-up records on hand in case they do ask for it.

Time to get your finances in order

Character in TV's Breaking Bad lying on a spread of U.S. bills

Tax season doesn’t sound thrilling, but it does give you the opportunity to get your finances in check. Think of it as a wake up call. All of those statements, receipts, and invoices show you how much you made in a year and how much you’ve spent. What you’re claiming on your tax return are essentials, like rent and transportation, but you’ll see how much money you have left over to spend on the things you want.

As for the money you get back, it’ll be tempting to spend your refund and tax credits on a huge shopping spree – after all, you survived tax season. Instead, put that money in a bank account, or use it to pay off bills.

What you’ll need: A budget app. Your bank should have its own app that can help you manage your money. You can also try other apps like Mint, which tracks your bills and your budget, and gives you tips on how to save more money.


Between exam season and tax season, we know April can be tough. Take advantage of the IGNITE Tax Clinic to make your life a little easier.

Want a way to unwind? Comedian, actor and Daily Show Correspondent Hasan Minhaj is coming to IGNITE Real Talks on April 12th at North campus!