Children’s Fitness and Arts Tax Credits

Notice to the reader

This measure has received Royal Assent.

Budget 2016 proposes to phase out the children’s fitness and arts tax credits:

  • Effective for the 2016 taxation year, the maximum eligible amount per child will be reduced to $500 from $1,000 for the children’s fitness tax credit (which will remain refundable for 2016) and to $250 from $500 for the children’s arts tax credit. The supplemental amounts for children eligible for the disability tax credit will remain at $500 for both credits for 2016.
  • Effective for the 2017 and subsequent taxation years, both credits will be eliminated.
1. What is the children’s fitness tax credit?

The children’s fitness tax credit allows you to claim eligible fees paid in the year for registration or membership for your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of physical activity, up to a maximum of $1,000 per child. An additional amount of $500 is available if the child is eligible for the disability tax credit and a minimum of $100 has been paid in eligible fees in the year. This is a refundable tax credit for 2015 and 2016, although it was a non-refundable tax credit for 2014 and prior years. The maximum tax credit per child of $150 ($225 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit) is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate (15% in 2016) by the eligible amount for each child.

2. How is the children’s fitness tax credit changing?

Budget 2016 proposes to phase out the children’s fitness tax credit:

  • For 2016, the maximum eligible fees in the year will be reduced to $500, but the additional amount of $500 for children eligible for the disability tax credit will not change. Therefore the maximum credit is reduced to $75 ($150 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit).
  • For 2017 and subsequent taxation years, the children’s fitness tax credit and the additional amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit will no longer be available.
3. For 2016, is the children’s fitness tax credit still a refundable credit?

Yes, if the total of your refundable tax credits is more than your federal tax, you could receive a refund for the difference.

4. What is the children’s arts tax credit?

The children’s arts tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that allows you to claim eligible fees paid in the year up to a maximum of $500 for the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity. An additional amount of $500 is available if the child is eligible for the disability tax credit and a minimum of $100 has been paid in eligible fees in the year.

The maximum tax credit of $75 ($150 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit) is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate (15% in 2016) by the eligible amount for each child.

5. Is the children’s arts tax credit refundable like the children’s fitness tax credit?

No, the children’s arts tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit. Non-refundable tax credits reduce your federal tax. However if the total of your non-refundable credits is more than your federal tax, you will not get a refund for the difference.

6. How is the children’s arts tax credit changing?

Budget 2016 proposes to phase out the non-refundable children’s arts tax credit:

  • For 2016, the maximum eligible fees in the year will be reduced to $250, but the additional amount of $500 for children eligible for the disability tax credit will not change. Therefore the maximum credit is reduced to $37.50 ($112.50 for a child eligible for the disability tax credit).
  • For 2017 and subsequent taxation years, the children’s arts tax credit and the additional amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit will no longer be available.
7. Will I be able to claim the children’s fitness tax credit and the children’s arts tax credit on my 2015 income tax and benefit return?

Yes, these tax credits are still available fully for the 2015 taxation year.

8. Will I be able to claim the cost of some children’s programs, such as sports camps for young children, as childcare expenses?

The rules for claiming child care expenses have not changed.

9. Where can I get more information on the proposed changes to the children’s fitness and arts tax credits?

The CRA is committed to providing taxpayers with up-to-date information. The CRA encourages taxpayers to check its webpages often. All new forms, policies, and guidelines will be posted as they become available.

In the meantime, please consult the Department of Finance Canada's Budget 2016 documents for details.

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