A Perfect Storm

I find it particularly worrisome that tax time and exam time mesh so intimately; the period from the end of March to mid-April transforms into a perfect storm of anticipatory stress. The time of year to give or, more rarely, receive money from the tax man is fast approaching. It’s a deadline most dread, for many reasons. Personally, I find the process of preparing my income tax return to be the most arduous task of the entire year. I would rather write nine 5,000-word essays than sort through receipts trying to squeeze every last dime into available deductions. Yet, as the old adage goes, only taxes and death are inevitable. So one way or another income tax returns must be completed and filed, preferably on time so as not to incur late interest on money owing to the government. Before you start to have a severe stress episode, you should know that there is a surprising amount of free help available to students on campus to ease the sting of tax time (sorry, there's not much you can do about exam time other than study). The University of Toronto students Union (UTSU) offers tax preparation clinics and free filing to students. Students can download Ufile, the online tax preparation software, and file electronically at no cost. The dates and times of the tax clinics will be released soon on UTSU's Tax page . You can email terri@utsu.ca for more info. Using a service such as Ufile’s usually costs $15.95, so there’s significant savings! And filing electronically makes for a speedier return, if you are lucky enough to get some of the money back that you so graciously “donated” to the government. If you are an international student, tax time might be particularly daunting. Attempting to locate a service that not only can help to make sense of our Canada’s tax law, but can also provide information about your home country’s tax law may seem a chore. The CIE (Centre for international Experience) (formerly the International Student Centre) offers information on how to prepare your returns. More detailed information, including how to arrange for a private session, is available on the CIE's tax page. Although no one will offer to write your finals for you, it's nice to know that someone is offering to help you file your taxes. Here’s to a hefty tax return for all! -Lori Photo by wikipedia user grandpafootsoldier, used under creative commons licence.

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