Maximizing Tax Deductions as a Parent

As a parent in modern society, it can be difficult to make ends meet given how low the Canadian dollar is and the multitude of expenses related to raising a child. However, there are several ways to minimize tax deductions and make life easier for yourself, your spouse, and your children. Here’s how to do it.

Apply for Benefits

When tax time rolls around, fill out the RC66 Canada Child Benefits Application. This used to enable parents to apply for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which was worth a maximum of $6,400 annually per child 6 years old or under, and $5,400 per year for each child between 6 and 17 (note that these amounts reduced when family net income exceeds $30,000). However, the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS), and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) replaced the CCB in 2016. This means that CCB does not to be applied nor is taxable, but adjustments can be requested. You may also apply for the Child Disability Benefit (CDB) if applicable. Parents have the option of registering online as well, or even upon registering a birth. The biological mother is considered the primary caregiver, so all social benefits are directed to her, but the lower-income parent must report the income on their return regardless. Same-sex parents are permitted to designate a primary caregiver in their application to ensure that they are eligible for benefits, also.

Claim Expenses

Fees and expenses paid for by parents for child care while at work, school, or during research need to be claimed to help create comprehensive and accurate tax-deductible figures so long as the child is under 16 years old sometime during the year (this rule doesn’t apply to children with disabilities, however). The more that you include, the likelier it will be that these deductions will decrease in size. Then, attach Form T778 Child Care Expenses Deduction to your return, bearing in mind that the lower-income partner is required to claim expenses unless if enrolled in studies, suffering a long-term illness, imprisoned, or separated.

Claim Credits

While adding expenses to your forms, be sure to include those that could be credited upon your return. Children’s Fitness, Disability, and Family Caregiver amounts are examples of creditable expenditures. For sports (refundable) and arts (non-refundable) program fees, up to $500 and $250 per child under 16 (18 if disabled) can be claimed, respectively. To transfer a child’s Disability Amount to your return, use line 316 of the federal worksheet to ensure accurate calculation, followed by line 318 to calculate how much can be transferred to you, followed by entering the total on line 318 of Schedule 1. To claim the Family Caregiver Amount if your child has a long-term illness or is infirm but not necessarily disabled, include a signed doctor’s statement that details when the illness or impairment began, its expected duration, and that it makes the child depend more on personal assistance than children of their age group. Enter the number of children you are claiming for in box 352 and multiply by $2,121, then claim the calculated result on line 367.

With these adjustments applied to yours and your spouse’s return (if applicable), you can expect a decrease in tax payments and a higher payout than usual from the CRA. If you require detailed information or guidance or would like to discuss further tax planning strategies, The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. is ready to lend a helping hand.