Top things families should know about taxes
Did you know?
There are many benefits, credits, and deductions to help your family with expenses throughout the year and reduce the amount you owe at tax time.
The following tips may help you or your family:
Child and family benefits
- 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. You need to apply to determine if you are eligible for the CCTB. In addition you (and your spouse or common-law partner, if applicable) must file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if you did not receive income in the year.
- 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.
- Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – If you have children under the age of 18, you may be entitled to this taxable benefit, which supports child care choices for families. For the 2015 tax year, under the UCCB, families will receive $160 per month for each child under 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17. Payments are issued monthly.
- 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 2016 advance payments.
- MyCRA mobile app – Get your tax information on-the-go! Use this mobile application to securely access some of your tax and benefit information, anywhere, anytime. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/mobileapps and select “MyCRA”.
Child care, arts, and fitness
- Child care expenses – Did your children attend daycare or a child care program such as a summer day camp in 2015? You or your spouse or common-law partner may be able to claim what you spent on eligible child care in 2015.
- Children’s arts tax credit – If your children participated in a program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity (such as tutoring) in 2015, 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.
- Children’s fitness tax credit – If your children played hockey, took horse-back riding lessons, or participated in some other eligible program of physical activity in 2015, you may be able to claim up to $1,000 per child, for the cost of registration or membership in these programs. You can claim an additional $500 for each 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. As of January 1, 2015, this is now a refundable tax credit. For tax years prior to 2015, this credit was non‑refundable.
Persons with disabilities
- 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.
- Disability amount – If you or your dependant have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions and meet certain conditions, you or your dependant may be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). To determine eligibility, you must complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and have it certified by a medical practitioner. New this year, Canadians claiming the credit will be able to file online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201 has been submitted yet to the CRA for that tax year. Once their return has been filed, they will have 30 days to submit the form.
- 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 $2,093 when calculating certain non-refundable tax credits.
- Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) – An 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.
- Tax-free savings account (TFSA) – For the 2015 tax year, the annual TFSA contribution limit rose from $5,500 to $10,000. All Canadian residents, aged 18 or older, can contribute to a TFSA.
- Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) – If you saved for your retirement in 2015 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.
Other amounts and programs
- Public transit amount – Did you, your spouse or common-law partner or your children use public transit in 2015? 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 2015? You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $750 for the purchase of a qualifying home.
- 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 or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 1998 or later for any 12-month period, ending in 2015.
- Provincial and territorial programs – Most provinces and territories have child and family benefit and credit programs that are issued with your CCTB and the Goods and services tax/Harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
- Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) – The CRA works with local community organizations and their volunteers work together to help eligible individuals with modest incomes and simple tax situations. These organizations host free clinics, and their volunteers can help prepare and submit your return for you. These clinics are usually held from February to April every year.
The CRA’s online services make filing and managing your taxes easier
The CRA's online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to help file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track the status of your return, register for online mail, apply for child benefits and more. Access the CRA’s full suite of self-service options—register for My Account at www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount today, and start managing your tax matters online!
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