Top things families should know about taxes
Did you know?
There are lots of benefits, credits, and deductions to help families with their expenses throughout the year and reduce the amount they owe at tax time.
The following tips may help you or your family:
- Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) – You may be entitled to a tax-free monthly payment that helps eligible families with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. To receive this benefit, it's important for you (and your spouse, if applicable) to file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if you did not receive income in the year.
- Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – If you have children under the age of 18, you may be eligible for this taxable benefit, which supports child care choices for families. Under proposed changes, this benefit is being increased for children under the age six. Effective January 1, 2015, parents will be eligible for a benefit of $160 per month for each eligible child under the age of six – up from $100 per month. Under proposed changes to expand the UCCB, parents may also receive a benefit of $60 per month for eligible children aged six through 17. Payments of the additional amount and expanded amount will start in July of 2015.
- Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit – The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low and modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay. To receive this credit, you must file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if you did not receive income in the year. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, only one of you can receive the credit. The credit will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. The amount will be the same, regardless of who (in the couple) receives it.
- Working income tax benefit (WITB) – Working individuals and families with low income may be able to claim this refundable tax credit. The WITB includes a supplement for individuals who are eligible for the disability tax credit. Eligible individuals and families may be able to apply for the 2015 advance payments.
- Family Tax Cut – Under proposed changes, a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 is available to eligible couples with children under the age of 18, and is effective starting with the 2014 tax year.
- Children's fitness tax credit – If your children played soccer, took golf lessons, or participated in some other eligible program of physical activity in 2014, you may be able to claim up to $1,000 per child, of the cost of these programs. You can claim an additional $500 for each eligible child who is eligible for the disability tax credit and for whom you have paid at least $100 in registration or membership fees towards an eligible program.
- Children's arts tax credit – If your children participated in a program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity (such as tutoring) in 2014, you may be able to claim up to $500 of the fees paid, per child, on these programs. You can claim an additional $500 for each eligible child who is eligible for the disability tax credit and for whom you have paid at least $100 in registration or membership fees towards an eligible program.
- Child care expenses – Did your children attend daycare or a child care program such as a summer day camp in 2014? You or your spouse or common-law partner may be able to claim what you spent on eligible child care in 2014.
- Disability amount – If you or a family member have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be entitled to claim the disability tax credit (DTC). To determine eligibility, you must complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and have it certified by a qualified practitioner (medical doctor, optometrist, audiologist, etc.). Once complete, send the certified original form to the disability tax credit unit at your tax centre.
- Family caregiver amount (FCA) – If you are caring for a dependant with impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be able to claim up to an additional $2,058 in calculating certain non-refundable tax credits.
- Public transit amount – Did you or your eligible dependant use public transit in 2014? You may be able to claim the cost of certain public transit passes or electronic payment cards for this 15% non-refundable tax credit.
- Home buyers' amount – Did you buy a home in 2014? You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $750 for the purchase of a qualifying home.
- Provincial and territorial programs – Most provinces and territories have child and family benefit and credit programs that are issued with your Canada child tax benefit and the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
- Child disability benefit (CDB) – You may be eligible for this tax-free benefit if you care for a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
- Medical expenses – You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit based on the medical expenses paid for you, your spouse or common-law partner, and your children born in 1997 or later for any 12-month period, ending in 2014.
- Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) – If you saved for your retirement in 2014 by contributing to an RRSP, you may be able to deduct the amount of your contributions to reduce your income.
- Registered education savings plan (RESP) – You can start saving for your child's future now. An RESP is a contract between you (the subscriber) and another individual or organization (the promoter) that allows you to make contributions toward your child's future education. Programs such as the Canada education savings grant (CESG) and the Canada learning bond (CLB) are other great incentives to create an RESP for your child.
- Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) – A RDSP is a savings plan to help families save for the financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit. RDSP contributions are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59.
Canada Revenue Agency online services make filing easier and getting your refund faster
The CRA's online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund, receive your notice of assessment, and more. Did you know that the Government of Canada is switching to direct deposit for payments that it issues? This includes your tax refund and benefits payments. Sign up for direct deposit today! For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.
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