Student WorkBook:Learn about Tax
Tax is the elephant in the literacy room


Tax stories bring real life relevance to your classroom.

With the student workbook, create up to 20 sample tax returns anonymously online, in the computer lab; save the cases to edit or play with again.

Tax literacy is an essential skill we love to ignore but require for life. 

The student workbook is designed to introduce students to taxation with five case studies:

  1. Simple employee
  2. Self-employed student
  3. Student moves away for school, and back for summer job, then back to school
  4. Server with tips
  5. First full time job with employment and benefits.


TurboTax® Online is a product of Intuit® Canada. TurboTax Online, is free to use as customers do not pay to input data, it's only necessary to pay at the end to file. With TurboTax Online, no software to install, sign in, use any computer. Save your work and come back to finish it later. 

To protect student's privacy, I show you how to use it anonymously. Follow my instructions for free, safe, redirecting email from the company to an unused email address, use fake names and SIN #. Each student can create as many as 20 sample case studies, saving their work to complete later at home or in the library.

  1. Click to view the instructional video: found under the next heading below, Video Links: "How to register for TurboTax Online (11 minutes)"

  2. Create a free GMail account for the class to use to ensure students privacy is maintained.

  3. Click the  link open the 33 pageStudent WorkBook, 33 page PDF file found under the heading: Get Started

Teachers, not sure if this is right for your class? Here's a testimonial from a teacher in Ontario:

Eileen, Thank you very much for this website. I am an Ontario Teacher teaching Math for Everyday Living, grade 12. The curriculum has a tax component where students are to use online tools to file a tax return. I googled this morning and came across your website, and then used your site today to do Case Study 1, just as an intro to online software. Most students were able to complete this case study and it was an excellent exercise for them.

In the future, if I teach this course again I will most certainly use this site again, and would plan to use it to a much greater extent. Are the videos for case study 3-5 available?? Thanks again for such a wonderful...Canadian...resource.

There are probably many other Ontario teachers charged with teaching this unit in the MEL 4E course on paying income tax, who don’t have the background or the resources to do go a good job with the online component. I have also seen the CRA online site for students and it pales in comparison to the resource you’ve provided. I will certainly spread the word to my coworkers about your website. Keep up the good work. I certainly appreciate it .

Tracey Moffat, OCT Charlottenburgh-Lancaster District High School, Williamstown, Ontario

Note: Find the Video links on my YouTube channel: TaxDetective


Get Started
Student WorkBook: 33 page PDF
Video Links
How to register for TurboTax Online (11 minutes)
Case #1 Video: Student works @ McDonald's (24 Min)
Case #2 Video: Student, paper route (33 Min)
Teacher Resources
Teacher ToolKit
Tax Summaries: first 3 cases
Tax Summaries: other case studies
Case 1 Student, works at McDonald's restaurant
Guidelines for Employment Standards Act in BC
EI premium rates and maximums
CPP premium rates, minimums and maximums
Income Tax Deduction at Source
TD1 federal for 2011
TD1 (BC)
RRSPs and related plans
RRSP Excess Contributions
Case 2 Student, self-employed paper route
TD1 Forms to explain personal tax credits
Employee or Self-employed?
Self-employed information page
How payroll works
CPP/EI explained (plus not at arms length)
Vehicle expense for employees or self-employed
Worksafe BC
Case 3 Server in pizza parlor
Tips & Gratuities
GST/HST Tips & Gratuities
Report tips not included on T4 on Line 104
Elect to contribute to CPP on Tips with Form CPT2
Paying your income tax by instalments
Case 4 Student, away at University of Toronto
T1M's for Jonathan
Students: Guides, forms and publications
Common types of income for students
Moving expenses
Case 5 Young Adult, first full time job
Union Dues
Medical expenses
Private Health Service Plans

 Includes travel health insurance, extended health benefits premiums and dental plan premiums

TurboTax® software
UFile® software
Future Tax (another software to try)
Intuit Education Tools
Tax Literacy home page
Keeping Records
Keeping Records
Keeping Records in depth study
CRA's letter campaign
Security of taxpayer information
Canada's Privacy Commissioner
Canada's Privacy Legislation
BC's Privacy Commissioner
BC's Privacy Act

Note to Teachers: Contact your CGA Provincial Association Office to request a CGA to visit your classroom! Ask for a local CGA public practitioner to mentor you. CGAs volunteer to speak at schools and welcome these opportunities. If there's no room in your curricumlum for tax, and you're concerned about the e lack of tax education, start an after school or noon hour 'Tax Club' and ask for a CGA to mentor the club. 

Tax Literacy is a huge part of Financial Literacy. Finance Minister James Flaherty claims we have a financial literacy crisis in Canada but there is NO mention of tax education in the Harper Gov't recommendations released Nov 30 2011. 

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada educational program doesn't include anything about tax in their materials on financial literacy. FCAC informed me that they don't have any mandate to include tax, and that tax is solely CRA's mandate. CRA's mandate on the other hand seems to be focused on administering the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act. They do have a course online called Learning about Taxes, but I got tired of putting in my name and why I wanted to access the educator section long before I got anything valuable out of the product provided. Teacher feedback is that the materials are out of date and are for Ontario, which isn't helpful, so they end up re-working the material in order to make it useful to their students. Not much of a reference is it?

The BC Securities Commission financial learning team tells me they have included the basics about payroll, a T4 and a single T1 in their curriculum, but you have to be a teacher or a student and must register to get access to their materials. They are only working to the most basic IRP, mentioning a single paycheque, T4 and single, simple T1. They have interesting case studies, but don't carry those to completion by working through the tax cases.  




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