Ryerson students call for more tax filing preparation

Isaiah Campbell, a computer science student at Ryerson, doesn’t do his own taxes.

His parents do them for him.

Campbell says there should be more resources for students so they can learn how to do their taxes themselves.  

 

“I think it should be part of the curriculum that is mandatory [in high schools] because it is an important life skill that I think people should be able to do. When I have to become independent, it will become more of a thing I am stressed about.”

 

Ryerson student Isaiah Campbell says schools should teach students about taxes. Photo by: Ryan Tuchow

“I think it should be part of the curriculum that is mandatory [in high schools] because it is an important life skill that I think people should be able to do. When I have to become independent, it will become more of a thing I am stressed about.”

First-year business management student Shaeth Tirulokan also doesn’t do his taxes. While he isn’t currently working, Tirulokan said that he will start once he gets a job.

“Obviously, I’ll be doing my own taxes. I’ll try to learn how to do my own taxes when I start getting income. I kind of do wish our program teaches us how to do your taxes so we can be more knowledgeable … I remember something about when you receive your bursaries you can include that in your taxes, but some people don’t know how to do that.”

Ryerson student Megan Devoe says she has other people who file her taxes for her.

“I leave it up to my parents basically and they pay someone to do it for them … It’s easier to let them do everyone in the same household. Right now, I’m pretty happy I don’t need to deal with it myself.”

Like Campbell and Tirulokan, Devoe also believes there should be more education on taxes available to students.

“When you’re in high school, there should be this course maybe that teaches you your options when it comes to taxes and what you can do. Because I’m definitely guilty of still definitely not knowing what happens. I just give my mom my T4 and that’s it.”

Stephanie Ciani, a first-year fashion design student said that she’s a bit different than the average Ryerson student, when it comes to taxes.

Ryerson student Stephanie Ciani says everyone should know how to do their taxes. Photo by: Ryan Tuchow

“I’m older than the typical university student, so I have been doing it for about 10 years now. In high school we had a class that I took, but also my mom [worked] in payroll. It’s just something I’ve always been comfortable with,” she said.

“Elementary and high school should be preparing you for the actual real world applications. So I feel like focusing more so on those kinds of things instead of things that you’re not actually using in the real world would be more useful.”

Tax season doesn’t really stress Ciani out because, as a student, she doesn’t have a lot of income to worry about, and as she said, “I like the tax rebates, so I’m down.”

Kamal Khera, the MP for Brampton West and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of National Revenue explained why it’s important for students to file their taxes.

“I was a student back in 2013. We all work hard. It is difficult and it is stressful, but students need to understand why it is important to file taxes. You can get so many credits that many people don’t know about. Moving expenses, child care benefits if you’re a parent, cost of monthly transit passes, tuition, textbooks, GST rebates are all things you can get credits for.”

Khera said the CRA is investing nearly a billion dollars to improve services like their call centres, as well as to tackle tax evasion.  

“There are a lot of places students can go to if they need help filing their taxes. There is the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This is a long running program that sees community organizations help eligible community members with a modest income file their taxes, free of charge.”

Anyone can visit the CRA website to find a tax preparation clinic near them.

The deadline to file taxes, for most people, is April 30.

The Continuing Education Students’ Association at Ryerson (CESAR) is running a tax clinic where eligible students can get assistance filing their taxes.

More information is available on the CESAR website. The last day to use this clinic is April 7.

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