Although every family tree may grow in a different direction, one thing is for certain: money sadly doesn’t sprout from it! And yet, like leaves in the wind, it seems to blow away on everyday expenses, from groceries, to clothing, to rent. To find out more about Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) services, benefits and credits to help support families at tax time, read on:
Benefits for families
Filing your tax return each year helps ensure that you get the benefits and credits to which you may be entitled. This includes the Canada child benefit (CCB), a tax-free, monthly payment that helps with the costs of raising children under the age of 18. The CCB may include any related provincial and territorial programs. When every little bit helps, these can make all the difference to those who need it most.
You may also be eligible for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, a tax-free, quarterly payment, which may include benefit payments from provincial or territorial programs. With the GST/HST credit, you could get up to $155 for each child under 19 years old in your household. Individuals could also receive up to $443, and those with a spouse or common-law partner could receive up to $580 combined.
Do you feel like even with a paycheque, you struggle to pay your bills and put a nutritious meal on the table? If your yearly working income is over $3,000, you may get tax relief with the Canada workers benefit (CWB). Eligible individuals could receive up to $1,355 per year and families up to $2,335. If you are eligible for the CWB and disability tax credit, you can apply for the CWB disability supplement.
For information on these and other benefits and credits available, go to canada.ca/child-family-benefits. After you apply for child and family benefits, you must file your tax return every year to continue receiving payments, even if you have no income to report or you’re tax exempt. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to file a tax return every year.
You can manage your benefits with the MyBenefits CRA mobile app. The app provides you with personalized benefit information such as a list of your benefits, the next payment date and amount, and the status of your Canada child benefit application.
Claim medical and child care expenses and owe less tax
For some, the journey to parenthood starts long before choosing a name, sending out baby shower invites, or painting the nursery. If you need medical assistance to conceive a child, you may be eligible to claim certain fertility-related expenses even if you don’t have a medical condition that would prevent you from conceiving a child. Also, if you had eligible fertility-related expenses in any of the 10 previous calendar years and you haven’t claimed them, you can ask for a change to your income tax and benefit return(s) to include these expenses. For information on common medical expenses, including those that are fertility-related, go to canada.ca/taxes-medical-expenses.
You may be able to claim eligible child care costs if you paid someone to look after your children so you could work, run a business, go to school, or do research. This may include payments made to a day nursery school, daycare centre, boarding school, sports school, day camp, or other camps where lodging is involved. To be eligible, your child must have been under 16 years of age at some time in 2019. 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 information, see Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction, which you can find online at canada.ca/cra-forms.
Get support for you and your child
Life happens and family dynamics can change as a result of marriage, divorce or separation. Your family net income is used to calculate your benefits and credits (like the Canada child benefit), so you may see an adjustment to these payment amounts if your marital status changes.
There’s no debating that raising a child as a single parent is hard work. The added expenses can put stress on your budget. To help out, you may be able to claim the amount for an eligible dependant. For more information, including how child support payments affect eligibility, go to canada.ca and enter amount for an eligible dependant in the search function.
Take a time out and file your return by the deadline
Add the filing deadline, which has been extended to June 1, to your calendar along with the playdates, appointments, sports, and recitals. If you are self-employed or are the spouse or common-law partner of a self-employed individual, you have until June 15. Any balance owing is due by September 1.
Most Canadians file online because it’s convenient, easy, and secure. Last year, almost 90 per cent of individuals filed electronically. If you file online and use direct deposit, you may get your refund in as little as eight business days. For a list of certified tax software products, including some that are free, go to canada.ca/netfile-software.