Back to school tax tips for parents

It's that time of the year again: summer is over and your kids have gone back to school or daycare—expenses are adding up! Luckily, there are a few things you can do now to potentially get money back when you file your tax return.

Claim your childcare expenses 

If you pay for childcare so that you can go to work or school, you may be able to claim those expenses on your tax return. You may be able to claim money spent during the year for any of the following services:

  • caregivers providing child care services;
  • day nursery schools and daycare centres;
  • fees for child care services offered through educational institutions;
  • day camps and day sports schools where the primary goal of the camp is to care for children (an institution offering a sports study program is not a sports school); or
  • boarding schools, overnight sports schools, or camps where lodging is involved.

Each year, for each child, you could claim up to:

  • $8,000 for children under age 7
  • $5,000 for other eligible children aged 7 to 16
  • $11,000 for children who qualify for the disability tax credit

When doing your taxes, use Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction, to calculate your allowable amount of child care expenses. Enter on line 214 of your return the amount that you can claim.

Also, remember to keep all your receipts and other supporting documents so you have them in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asks to see them.

Claim school and tutoring costs for children with a learning disability

If you have a child who has a learning disability, you may be able to deduct the costs of primary education and tutoring services as medical expenses on line 330 or line 331 of your Schedule 1.

To deduct the cost of school for your child, a medical practitioner must certify, in writing, that the equipment, facilities or personnel specially provided by that school are needed because of your child's physical or mental impairment.

To deduct the cost of tutoring services for your child, you will need a letter from a medical practitioner stating that the tutoring is necessary because of a mental impairment. Tutoring services must be paid to a person in the business of providing these services to individuals. In addition, this person must not be related to your child.

Remember to keep any receipts or documents related to your child's schooling and tutoring services in case the CRA asks to see them after you file your tax return.

Save for your child's education

It's never too early to start saving for your child's post-secondary education by contributing to a registered education savings plan (RESP). Benefit programs such as the Canada education savings grant and the Canada learning bond are incentives for using an RESP to save for your child's post-secondary education.

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