Your Answer
print

Who can I claim as a dependant?

The age-old question, “Who can I claim as my dependent?” has remained a confusing topic for many taxpayers and an area where tax deductions are often missed or mis-entered on tax returns.

A dependant may be any of the following relatives of you or your spouse or common-law partner:

  • child (either biological or adopted)
  • parent
  • grandchild
  • grandparent
  • brother or sister
  • nephew or niece
  • brother-in-law or sister-in-law
  • aunt or uncle

Most claims for a dependant require that the dependant reside with you and depend on you due to a low income or a disability.

What credits can I claim for dependants?

There are a variety of claims that can be made for a dependant.  Here is a list of possible claims you can make for your dependants, along with the CRA definitions:

NEW FOR 2012 - Family Caregiver Amount (FCA)

If you have a dependant with impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be able to claim an additional $2,000 (non-refundable credit) when claiming that individual as:

  • Spouse or common-law partner amount (line 303)
  • Amount for an eligible dependant (line 305)
  • Amount for children born in 1996 or later (line 367)
  • Amount for infirm dependants age 18 or older (line 306). 2,000 credit is included in total for infirm (not added separately)
  • Caregiver amount (line 315)

The individual can be any age, but if they are under 18, they must require more assistance than other children their age.  The impairment must be prolonged and the dependant must depend on others for assistance.  You must have a signed statement from a medical doctor.
 

Child Care Expenses

If you or your spouse paid amounts to have someone look after your child/children so that you or your spouse could earn income, go to school or carry on research or similar work, those expenses are eligible to be claimed as a child care expense on line 214 of your income tax return. The individual with the lower net income (including zero income) must claim  the child care expenses.


Amount for an eligible dependant

You may be able to claim this amount if, at any time in the year, you met all of the following conditions at once:

  • You did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person.
  • You supported a dependant in the Tax Year.
  • You lived with the dependant in a home you maintained. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.

    In addition, at the time you met the above conditions, the dependant must also have been either:
     
  • your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption; or
  • your child, grandchild, brother, or sister, by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption and under 18 years of age, or physically or mentally impaired.


Amount for a children under 18 (Line 367)

Either you or your spouse or common-law partner can claim $2,131 for each of your or your spouse's or common-law partner's children who are under 18 years of age at the end of the year if the child resided with both of you throughout the year.

  • The full amount can be claimed in the year of the child's birth, death, or adoption.


Tuition and Education Amounts (transferred from a dependant)

You may be the parent or grandparent of a student or his or her spouse or common-law partner. If so, the student may be able to transfer to you all or part of his or her tuition, education, and textbook amounts for the Tax Year. The maximum tuition, education, and textbook amounts transferred from a child (or from each child) is $5,000 minus the amounts he or she uses, even if there is still an unclaimed part.

  • Note: The student cannot transfer to you any tuition, education, or textbook amounts carried forward from a previous year.

Children’s Fitness Amount

You can claim to a maximum of $500 per child, the fees paid in the Tax Year relating to the cost of registering your or your spouse's or common-law partner's child in a prescribed program (see below).  The child must have been under 16 years of age or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability amount at the beginning of the year in which an eligible fitness expense was paid.

  • You can claim this amount as long as another person has not already claimed the same fees and that the total claimed is not more than the maximum amount that would be allowed if only one of you were claiming the amount.


Children’s Arts Amount

You can claim to a maximum of $500 per child the fees paid in the Tax Year relating to the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse's or common-law partner's child in a prescribed program (see the next section)  of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity. The child must have been under 16 years of age or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability amount at the beginning of the year in which an eligible arts expense was paid.

  • You can claim this amount as long as another person has not already claimed the same fees and that the total claimed is not more than the maximum amount that would be allowed if only one of you were claiming the amount.

Disability Amount Transferred from a Dependant

You may be able to claim all or part of your dependant's (other than your spouse or common-law partner) disability amount (line 316) if he or she was resident in Canada at any time in the Tax Year and was dependent on you for all or some of the basic necessities of life (food, shelter, or clothing).

In addition, one of the following situations has to apply:

  • You claimed an amount on line 305 for that dependant, or you could have if you did not have a spouse or common-law partner and if the dependant did not have any income (see Line 305 for conditions)
  • The dependant was your or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, and you claimed an amount on line 306 or line 315 for that dependant, or you could have if he or she had no income and had been 18 years of age or older in the Tax Year.


Amount for an Infirm Dependant

You can claim an amount up to a maximum of $4,282 for each of your or your spouse's or common-law partner's dependent children or grandchildren only if that person had an impairment in physical or mental functions and was born in 1995 or earlier.

You can also claim an amount for more than one person as long as each one meets all of the following conditions. The person must have been:

  • your or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew;
  • born in 1995 or earlier and had an impairment in physical or mental functions;
  • dependent on you, or on you and others, for support; and
  • a resident of Canada at any time in the year. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.


Caregiver Amount

If, at any time in the Tax Year, you (either alone or with another person) maintained a dwelling where you and one or more of your dependants lived, you may be able to claim a maximum amount of $4,282 for each dependant. Each dependant must have been one of the following individuals:

  • your or your spouse's or common-law partner's child or grandchild; or
  • your or your spouse's or common-law partner's brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent who was resident in Canada. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.

    In addition, each dependant must meet all of the following conditions. The person must have:
     
  • been 18 years of age or older at the time he or she lived with you;
  • had a net income in the Tax Year (line 236 of his or her return, or the amount it would be if he or she filed a return) of less than $18,906; and
  • been dependent on you due to a physical or mental impairment or, if he or she is your or your spouse's or common-law partner's parent or grandparent, born in 1948 or earlier.

Adoption Expenses

You can claim an amount for eligible adoption expenses related to the adoption of a child who is under 18 years of age. The maximum claim for each child is $11,128.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dependants


Question:
  My 26 year old is living with me but doesn’t have any disability.  He works but doesn’t pay rent.  Can I claim him as a dependent?

  • Answer:  No. He qualifies as an adult and must file his own income tax return.


Question:  I started work in September of this year and had my baby in March.  Can I claim my baby as a dependent on my taxes?

  • Answer:  Yes, even if you have a baby on December 31, you can claim them as a dependent on your taxes.


Question:  My boyfriend fully supports me.  We live with his mother, but we pay for everything including rent.  His mother wants to claim us as dependents.  Can she do that?

  • Answer:  This again would depend on if your boyfriend has a disability.  If your boyfriend lives with his mother because he has a disability, and his income is less than $10,215, than his mother can claim your boyfriend as an infirm dependant. If your boyfriend does not have a disability, than his mother cannot claim him as a dependant. Your boyfriend’s mother cannot claim you as a dependant, unless you have become the common-law spouse of your boyfriend and also qualify for the disability claim.


Question:  My spouse has not worked all year except for a month; can I claim him as a dependent?

  • Answer:  Unless your spouse has a physical or mental impairment, you would not claim your spouse as a dependant. However, when you enter your spouse’s income into TurboTax, if his income is less than $10,527, than you will be eligible for spousal amount that is reported on line 303 on Schedule 1 of your income tax return.


Question: My mother is elderly but lives on her own. Can I claim her as a dependant?

  • Answer: Maybe. If your mother had a net income of $18,906 and was either 65 or older OR under 65 but is dependant on you due to a physical or mental impairment, than you can claim the caregiver amount for your mother. If your mother did not have a mental or physical impairment, than you cannot claim her as a dependant.


Question:
My parents live out of the country and I send them money. Can I claim them as a dependant?

  • Answer: No – your parents do not qualify as dependants. In order to claim the caregiver amount, your parents should have resided with you. In order to claim the infirm dependant amount, your parents must have been residents of Canada.



Bookmark and Share

 

April 13 - CRA has reopened NETFILE
Learn how to complete filing

TurboTax will not Install
Click here for an updated Backup Installer

NETFILE Error – Entries in Financial Statement require correction
Click here for a solution

NETFILE Error code 90308
Click here for more details.

TurboTax 2013 requires .NET Framework
You might be asked to install version 4.0. Please allow

What is new in TurboTax 2013
List of important tax changes for 2013 returns

Video Guides
TurboTax Canada answers your questions 

Product updates
Manually download updates to TurboTax

NETFILE demo
Step by Step guide and video

Did this article help you?
Your Feedback
Cancel Submit