The ‘job’ of being a parent comes with many benefits. From re-experiencing the world through the curious eyes of your little one, to always having an excuse if you want to skip a night out with friends (sorry, staying in—couldn’t find a babysitter!), you see the positive aspects of parenting. However, most parents will also agree that daily expenses, such as groceries, clothing, and even diapers can really add up and cut into the fun(ds). That’s why the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers benefit and credit payments to support your family at tax time and throughout the year.
The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a tax-free, monthly payment to help eligible families with the costs of raising children under the age of 18. The most expensive years are also the years you will miss the most, so make the most of it while they are still young! You can apply for the CCB and related provincial and territorial programs by using the Automated Benefits Application (when registering the birth of your newborn), by choosing the “Apply for child benefits” option in My Account at canada.ca/my-cra-account or by filling out Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application.
The child disability benefit (CDB) is available for families who are eligible to receive the CCB and who care for a child under the age of 18 that is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). This tax-free, monthly benefit can help take some pressure off your finances, and make sure you have cash not only for expenses, but to spend on some quality time with family, too. To find out if you’re eligible for the DTC, complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate (fill out the sections of Part A that apply to you, and ask a medical practitioner to fill out and certify Part B), and send it to the CRA.
You may also be eligible to receive the GST/HST credit, a tax-free, quarterly payment which helps cover the GST or HST that you pay. For more information, go to canada.ca/gst-hst-credit.
The working income tax benefit (WITB) is available for low-income families who are in the workforce to receive further tax relief, because let’s face it, making ends meet isn’t always easy. To determine if you’re eligible for the WITB, go to canada.ca/working-income-tax-benefit.
Since you can’t always be home with your child (no one can do it all!), you’ve done the next best thing and found a caregiver you trust. You may be able to claim childcare costs if you paid for someone to look after your child so you could earn income, carry on a business, go to school, or do research. This may also include payments you made to a day nursery school, daycare centre, boarding school, sports school, day camp, or another camp where lodging is involved. To be eligible, your child must have been under 16 years of age at some time in 2017. However, there is no age limit if the child is dependent on you or your spouse or common-law partner and has a physical or mental impairment. For more information, see Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction, which you can find online at canada.ca/cra-forms-publications.
Whether by choice or circumstance, there’s no debating that raising a child on your own, as a single parent, is hard work. While you cherish every hug, kiss, and “I love you,” the added expenses put stress on your budget. To help with this, you may be able to claim the amount for an eligible dependant. You may also be able to claim a provincial or territorial tax credit for additional funds for you and your family. For more information, go to canada.ca and enter the amount for an eligible dependant in the search function.
Mark your calendar (as if it isn’t jam-packed already with playdates, appointments, and recitals)—the deadline to file your taxes is April 30! If you, or your spouse/common-law partner, are self-employed, you have until June 15. To ensure you continue receiving benefit and credit payments without interruption, file your taxes on time every year and keep your personal information up-to-date with the CRA.
For more information on these and other benefits and credits that may be available to you, go to canada.ca/child-family-benefits.