Now that taxes can be filed online, the process has become even easier

From the day you turn 18 years old until the day you die, you are engaged in a life-long relationship. Fifty per cent of marriages end in divorce, but your commitment to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is forever.

Charles Janthur is a business professor at the University of Guelph-Humber. He said he has never encountered any issues while filing taxes, which he’s done for more than 20 years.

Janthur gives the CRA credit for making the process of filing taxes fairly easy. Especially now that taxes can be filed online, the process has become even more simplified.

According to Lisa Gittens, senior tax professional at H&R Block, there are four options to file taxes. Students can download software available for free online, set up their account on the CRA’s website, find a tax professional for help or they can mail their returns. Taxes needs to be filed by April 30.

Sieu Moi Ly, service director at IGNITE, said she “highly recommends using the software called U-file,” which can be downloaded through the CRA’s website. If students are having issues with the filing process, Ly said they can book appointments with the IGNITE tax clinic.

April Dela Cruz, third year accounting student at Humber College, has been working at the IGNITE tax clinic this year. She said she has helped students who have come to inquire about filing taxes. She has even filed several students’ taxes for them.

According to Gittens, students who pay tuition are eligible to receive extra cash in the form of tuition credits. Even if they are not earning an income, she said students should file their taxes to ensure that they get their credits, which could result in a possible refund.

Janthur compared tuition credits to an allowance that students get for being in school. He said a lot of students who are not working part-time during school have the mindset that since they’re not taxable, they don’t need to file a tax-return. He said, “that’s the wrong attitude because this is your opportunity to get some of your money back.”

Aside from tuition credits, Gittens said students can also file their T4A forms, which they will receive in the mail if they have any scholarships, bursaries or grants. For full-time students, the entire amount on their T4A forms is exempt – meaning they won’t get taxed on it. However, part-time students are going to be taxed on anything after the first $500.

Gittens said that students who are working part-time will receive a T4 form, which they will need to file. If they file tuition receipts, their tuition credits will be applied, which should hopefully make their employee income non-taxable.

Dela Cruz said students can also file their medical bills such as dental, drug, physiotherapy and massage therapy receipts. Students who use public transit can also file their Metropasses or Presto cards.

Janthur encouraged students to never cheat or lie on their taxes. “You can’t take the CRA out to dinner to repent for your misdeeds and lies,” he said.

When students start making an income, they also have to start paying more taxes. Janthur said, “the idea of having to pay for more than you feel is an appropriate amount then becomes a catalyst to people who are cheating on their taxes.”

Janthur said the CRA is becoming more and more diligent in tracking down those people who lie on their taxes. According to the RCMP, the Canadian government invested $444 million in 2016 to further improve the CRA’s ability to detect tax evasions.

Once the CRA detects that someone is lying, Janthur said they will be charged interest from the year that they started lying. The process can become very expensive. He said being honest while filing your taxes can save students a lot of aggravation down the road because “once you’re flagged, you’re flagged.”