It’s coming up to be tax season, which for many people is a HUGE source of stress. This doesn’t need to be the case! There are endless free resources both online and in-person that can help you get your finances in order this fiscal year.
While you’re balancing the books, why not consider opening a registered education savings plan (RESP) for your little ones? Read on for more details…
FREE TAX CLINICS
Organizations across the country (and even on campus) offer free income tax clinics. Here are a few that are close-by:
- The U of T Undergraduate Student Union (UTSU) offers appointments to help you file your taxes from the end of March-April. You must register to save a space.
- The Centre for International Experience is hosting income tax info sessions specifically for those new to filing in Canada. You can register for these evening sessions happening March 2nd, March 30th, and April 6th.
- Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario’s volunteers are available to prepare the personal tax returns of low-income households (below $40,000 with dependants) from mid-February until the end of April. Find the locations nearest you here.
- Tax Preparation Clinics offered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are available across the City of Toronto. They offer year-round and multi-lingual services.
- The Toronto Public Library’s branches host tax clinics at a variety of branches across the city for those with low-income.
Many folks file on their own. The Centre for International Experience has a great breakdown on how to do this. UFile also offers an online tax filing system that is completely free for post-secondary students and links directly to the Canada Revenue Agency’s Netfile system for easy online filing. Before getting started, you may also want to check out TurboTax. They have an income tax calculator that estimates your 2016 return based on annual income, taxes paid, RRSP contributions, and location.
OPENING AN RESP
School debt is no joke, which is why setting up a registered education savings plan (RESP) for your child is a great idea. RESPs include funds that are dedicated solely to your kids’ post-secondary schooling. With these plans, you can add up to $50,000 per child. As long as the money remains in the account it can grow without taxation. Also, the federal government’s Canadian Education Savings Grant will add up to $500/year/child to your RESP until your little one turns seventeen. While the grant caps at $7,200 per child, folks with lower income may qualify for additional provincially-regulated top-ups. For details on how to open an RESP for your child, check out this Today’s Parent article.