Here is a rundown of the many tax breaks families can take advantage of and their basic requirements.
Canada Child Tax Benefit—benefit of up to $120.50 per month, per child under 18
Universal Child Care Benefit—$1,920 per year, per child under the age of 6 and in 2015 adding a benefit of up to $720 per year for children between 7 and 17
Goods and Services (GST) credit—quarterly payments to help offset the GST paid for low income families based on a family net income amount (line 236) of your tax return. Base amount is $272 for each spouse and $143 per child. Family income must be below $35,465
Working Income Tax Benefit—intended to supplement those who are already working. Single people are eligible for a maximum benefit of $998 if their income is between $6,992 and $17,986. Family incomes need to be between $10,252 and $27,736 to receive up to the maximum benefit of $1.813. The provinces have companion programs.
Family Tax Cut—to reduce the tax burden on families by equalizing the income between the spouses if there are children under 18 in the family. The transfer could be up to $50,000 resulting in a tax savings of up to $10,000 per family.
Children’s fitness tax credit and Children’s arts tax credit—a credit of up to $500 for fees paid for a membership or attendance in an approved program for a child under 16 years of age. The limits increase if the child is disabled.
Child care expenses—a credit for child care paid for children under 16 years of age. The basic credit is $7,000 per child unless the child is disabled which increases the credit up to $10,000. The credit is calculated based on net income (line 236 of the tax return).
Disability amount—is an additional credit of $7,766 (adult) $4,530 (child) that requires Form T2201 to be filled out by your doctor and sent into the CRA. The provinces also have a similar credit. Several of the other credits also have a disability component that is also supported by the form T2201.
Family Caregiver amount—is an additional $2,000 credit for those persons who are taking care of others in their home. This credit can cover such items as taking the dependant person to doctors and other appointments.
Public transit amount—is a credit for monthly public transit passes purchased for students and seniors. You must submit the actual monthly pass, the debit slip is not accepted.
Home buyers’ amount—is a method of borrowing funds against your RRSP for the first time purchase of a home, that can be paid back over several years by contributing back into your RRSP or by taking the payment as income.
There are also provincial and territorial programs as well as medical expense credit, RRSP, RESP (education) and RDSP (disability).