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Incentives for students to file tax returns

Incentives for students to file tax returns

April 10, 2014

The government is prepared to give young adults thousands of dollars.

If you know of someone age 18 and over who doesn’t have significant earnings, please send them and their parents this article. The most obvious target for this generous offer is college or university students with low or no income.

Students are encouraged to share this information with fellow students. Teachers can distribute this to their students. If you know a young adult student or a teacher of young adults, forward this article to them.

The payment to a young adult is from two sources: the federal GST/HST Tax Credit and the Government of Ontario’s Trillium Benefit. The GST/HST Tax Credit starts when you turn age 19. To qualify you must file an income tax return so this should be done if you are 18 to be eligible to collect when you reach the age of 19. If you turn 19 before April 1st you should file a return the year you turn 17.

Apart from the minimum age qualification, the credit is adjusted to your income. The base credit is $268 per year, so you will receive $67 every three months. The Ontario Sales Tax Credit is a part of the Trillium Benefit that starts at age 19. The Trillium Benefit pays up to $281 per year. Add the two government payments of $268 and $281 and the total annual payment is $549.

Assume it took a 19 year old until age 24 to complete their education and receive meaningful employment. They would be eligible for both federal and provincial payments for five years.

After five years of collecting $549 per year the total payment would be $2,745. Not bad if the only requirement is to complete and file your annual income tax return.

We can extend the benefit further if you consider a family with three children each of whom are receiving the benefit of the full payment for five years. The total payment to those three children would be $8,235.

In addition to receiving these two payments, there is another advantage to filing an annual income tax return. Any income earned, however small, can be used to calculate Registered Retirement Savings Plan contributions. You can contribute 18 percent of your earned income to this plan and use the contribution as an income tax deduction which reduces the income tax you pay.

From a period of summer employment or part-time work during the school year, you will earn an income but likely not enough to pay income taxes. You can defer contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan until you have full-time employment and taxable income that you could reduce with a tax-deductible contribution.

The benefit offered by the federal GST/HST Tax Credit and the provincial Trillium Benefit can provide thousands of dollars of payments to young adults. These programs should be used.

Spread the word about this opportunity. Forward this article electronically on to those that can benefit and ask them to forward it on to those who they know who may also benefit.