Children's Special Allowances (CSA) fact sheet
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers the Children's special allowances Act (CSA Act). The following information is for government departments, provincial and territorial agencies and other organizations or individuals who receive child special allowances (CSA) payments or who otherwise deal with or are subject to the CSA Act. The information explains some of the legislative and administrative requirements to help ensure timely and accurate payments of the CSA.
1. The CSA is a tax-free monthly payment for a child who:
- is under the age of 18;
- physically resides in Canada; and
- is maintained by an agency.
The CSA replaces the Canada child benefit when a child is in the care of an agency.
2. By "agency", the CRA means the child:
- resides in an institution, a group foster home, the private home of foster parents or the private home of a guardian, tutor or other individual occupying a similar role for the month, under a decree, order or judgment of a competent tribunal and is maintained by
- a department or agency of the government of Canada, a province or a territory,
- an agency appointed by a province or territory, including an authority established under the laws of that province or territory, or by an agency appointed by such an authority, for the purpose of administering any law of the province or territory for the protection and care of children;
- is maintained by an institution licensed or otherwise authorized under the law of the province or territory to have the custody or care of children; or
- resides in an institution, a group foster home, the private home of foster parents or the private home of a guardian, tutor or other individual occupying a similar role for the month, under the laws of an Indigenous governing body and is maintained by
- the Indigenous governing body,
- a department or agency of the Indigenous governing body, or
- an agency appointed by the Indigenous governing body, including an authority established under the laws of the Indigenous governing body, or by an agency appointed by such an authority, for the purpose of administering any law of the Indigenous governing body for the protection and care of children.
3. By "maintained by an agency", we mean that the child is dependent on the agency for care, maintenance, education, training and advancement to a greater extent than on any other agency.
A child is considered to be "maintained by an agency" if that agency continues to financially support a child who has been placed in the permanent or temporary custody of a guardian, tutor (in Quebec) or other individual who has been conferred all rights, duties and responsibilities of a parent pursuant to a decree, order, judgment of a competent tribunal or the laws of an Indigenous governing body.
4. Unless the CRA has already assigned a Business Number (BN) to an agency specifically for CSA purposes, the agency has to request one. The 15-digit BN is a means for the CRA to identify businesses and their different accounts with the CRA. The CSA-BN will appear as 123456789 RA0001. The first nine digits identify the recipient and the last six (2 alpha/4 numeric) identify the CSA program. A request for a CSA-BN can be mailed to the tax centre that serves your area, or dropped off at the nearest tax services office.
Unless the agency is a government department, the agency has to include with their BN application, a copy of its provincial or territorial licence or authorization regarding the protection, custody and care of children.
If the agency is or has been authorized by an Indigenous governing body, proof that it has legislative authority regarding the protection, custody and care of children will need to be provided. Under the CSA Act, this involves:
- providing a notice of intent to exercise legislative authority; or
- requesting to enter into a coordination agreement; and
- having Indigenous Laws relating to child and family services.
If approved, the CRA will provide the agency with its BN for CSA purposes.
5. An agency is required to complete and submit Form RC64, Children's Special Allowances, for each child for whom they want to receive the CSA and for each child for whom the CSA should be cancelled. Care should be taken to provide complete information as much of it is required by legislation. If information is missing, the CRA will return the form to the agency to complete, which results in delays in processing. (Note the limit on retroactive payments in item 9.)
6. An agency can request that CSA payments for a child be made directly to a foster parent. If the child is later moved to another foster family, the agency has to submit a new form to redirect the CSA payments to the new foster parent or back to the agency.
In the case where an agency instructs the CRA to pay the foster parents directly, monthly payments can only be made for periods that follow the month in which the CRA finishes processing the children's special allowances form. Payments for earlier months are made to the agency. Therefore, no retroactive payments can be made to a foster parent.
7. If more than one party qualifies as an agency in respect of a child, it is up to the parties to decide on which one should apply for the CSA. For example, if a provincial government department licenses and funds a private agency to care for children, the parties would likely decide that the provincial government department is the appropriate party to apply and receive the CSA.
8. CSA payments are to be used exclusively for the care and maintenance of the child to whom they apply. This means the child is dependent on the agency for food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance, education, training and advancement to a greater extent than on any other agency or person.
9. The first CSA payment is made for the month after the child starts to be maintained by the agency. When the filing of an application is delayed, retroactive payments to the agency are possible, but only to a maximum of 11 months prior to the month an application is received containing all the required information.
10. The last CSA payment is made for the month in which the child ceases to be maintained by the agency or turns 18 years of age. A child is no longer considered to be maintained by the agency if, for example, the child starts to be maintained by a new agency, returns to live with a parent, is adopted, is missing, has died, is kidnapped, or no longer resides in Canada.
If a child is ordered into the custody of a financially-assisted guardian, tutor (in Quebec) or another individual with similar rights and obligations with respect to the child, that child is still considered to be "maintained by an agency" and CSA payments will continue.
11. Generally, CSA payments are made on the 20th day of each month. The monthly amount for the payment period from July 2022 to June 2023 for a child under the age of six is $583.08 and for a child of age six to seventeen is $491.91. For qualified children, the monthly CSA payment may also include an additional amount of $248.75 for the child disability benefit (CDB).
CSA payments may be issued by cheque or deposited directly into an account at a financial institution. To start direct deposit or change the banking information, send us a completed Form RC113, Direct Deposit Request for Children's Special Allowances (CSA).
12. Payments of the Canada child benefit (CCB), the CDB, and/or the child component of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit for a child automatically cease on receipt of a CSA application for a child. To help ensure timely and accurate payments of the CSA, the agency should apply for or cancel the CSA on a timely basis after the child starts or ceases to be maintained by the agency. In addition to creating administrative problems, failure to do so could cause financial hardship to the CCB recipient as a result of:
- the CRA having to recoup benefit payments made prior to receiving the CSA application if the CCB recipient did not notify the CRA that the child no longer resides with them; or
- a delay in the resumption of benefit payments after a child returns to live with the CCB eligible individual.
Copies of the Children's Special Allowances Act and Regulations are available at:
If you have any questions about the CSA, please call our children’s special allowances enquiries line at 1-833-378-8272 or go to canada.ca/cra-csa.
You can also send a letter to the appropriate address from the tax centres list.
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