Parents and tax

If you have children, there are various tax credits and deductions you can claim on your tax return.

Canada Child Benefit

In 2016, the federal government introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), replacing three existing child benefits: the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the Family Tax Cut.

The first CCB payment was made in July 2016, with monthly payments following. The tax-free payment amount is based on the previous year’s total family income, and you (and, if applicable, your spouse or common-law partner) must file a tax return to receive the CCB. The payment amount is recalculated each year based on the previous year’s income.

Learn more about the Canada Child Benefit from the CRA, and estimate your payment amount with the Canada Child Benefit Calculator.

To apply for the CCB, complete Form RC66 Canada Child Benefits Application.

You don’t pay tax on money you receive from the Canada Child Benefit.

Deductions for child care expenses

You can deduct the costs of having someone look after your children (under age 16) while you work or go to school. You must have “earned income” to claim deductions for child care expenses.

What you can claim

Payments to:

  • an eligible child care provider who is not the child’s mother or father, or not under 18 and related to you;
  • a day nursery school or daycare centre;
  • an educational institution for the purpose of providing child care services;
  • day camps or boarding schools (including a sports school where lodging is involved).

How much you can claim

You can claim the lower of:

  • 2/3 of your earned income, and
  • the actual amount you paid for child care.

The maximum you can claim per child each year is:

  • $8,000 for children under age 7
  • $5,000 for other eligible children
  • $11,000 for children who qualify for the disability tax creditTax credit The amount you can deduct from your income when you file your taxes. This lowers the tax that you owe.+ read full definition.

How to claim

The spouse or common-law partner with the lower income must claim the deduction. File Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction. You don’t need to include your receipts but keep them as proof of your claim.

Adoption Expense Tax Credit

You can claim an amount for adoption expenses related to adopting a child under the age of 18. The maximum claim for each child is $15,670 in 2017. The amount is indexed to inflation.

Learn more about claiming adoption expenses.

Saving for your child’s education in an RESPRESP See Registered Education Savings Plan.+ read full definition

Contributions to your child’s RESP are not tax deductible, but you won’t be taxed on any income earned while the funds remain in the plan. If you save for a child age 17 and under, the federal government and some provincial governments will also put money into the RESP as a grant or bondBond A kind of loan you make to the government or a company. They use the money to run their operations. In turn, you get back a set amount of interest once or twice a year. If you hold bonds until the maturity date, you will get all your money back as well. If you sell…+ read full definition. Accumulated earningsEarnings For companies, it’s the money they make and share with their shareholders. For investors, it’s the money they make from their investments.+ read full definition and government grants are taxable incomeTaxable income The amount of income you have to pay tax on, after tax credits and deductions.+ read full definition to the student in the year they are paid out. Contributions can be withdrawn taxTax A fee the government charges on income, property, and sales. The money goes to finance government programs and other costs.+ read full definition free.

Take action

Find out if you qualify for:

  • Monthly CCB payments
  • Child care expenses deduction
  • Adoption Tax Credit
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