Children's Activity Tax Credit
How much money could I receive?
For 2015 you can claim up to $551 in eligible expenses and get up to $55.10 back for each child under 16. You can get up to $110.20 back for a child with a disability who is under 18.
For 2016 you can claim up to $560 in eligible expenses and get up to $56 back for each child under 16. You can get up to $112 back for a child with a disability who is under 18.
These amounts are adjusted each year for inflation.
Do I qualify?
You may qualify for the credit for a taxation year if:
- you were a resident of Ontario on the last day of that year, and
- you or your spouse or common-law partner paid fees in that year to register your child, or your spouse or common-law partner's child, in an eligible activity.
How do I get the credit?
You apply for the credit by completing form ON479, which is part of your personal income tax and benefit return (return).
Save your receipts for the activities in which your child enrolled. You do not need to submit them with your return, but you need to keep them, in case the Canada Revenue Agency asks for them.
When will I receive my money?
The credit helps reduce or eliminate the amount of tax you owe. If you have an excess credit, it may be paid as a refund after your return is assessed — even if you pay no income tax. In that case, you should receive your money within 6 to 8 weeks after the Canada Revenue Agency has assessed your return.
What kinds of activities qualify for the children's activity tax credit?
The tax credit covers fitness and non-fitness activities. Eligible activities need to be supervised and be suitable for children.
The criteria for fitness activities are the same as for the federal Children's Fitness Tax Credit.
Eligible fitness activities require a significant amount of physical activity that contributes to cardio-respiratory endurance, plus one or more of muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and/or balance.
Non-fitness activities need to fall under at least one of the following categories to be eligible:
- instruction in music, dramatic arts, dance, and visual arts
- language instruction
- activities with substantial focus on wilderness and the natural environment
- activities with a substantial focus on helping children develop and use intellectual skills
- structured interaction among children where supervisors teach or help children develop interpersonal skills
- enrichment or tutoring in academic subjects.
Also, to qualify for this credit, the activity needs to be:
- a program that is not part of a school's curriculum and that is a weekly program with a minimum duration of eight consecutive weeks, or a daily program with a minimum duration of five consecutive days, or
- a membership in an organization that lasts at least eight consecutive weeks and that allows children to choose from a variety of activities.
What are eligible expenses?
Eligible expenses are the same as those defined under the federal Children's Fitness Tax Credit and include:
- registration and membership fees, including the portion of the registration that covers the cost of uniforms and other equipment related to the activity.
What expenses are not eligible?
Eligible expenses do not include fees paid to cover the cost of:
- travel, food and beverages
- purchase or rental of equipment for exclusive personal use
- fees charged for programs that are part of a school's curriculum
- equipment purchased from a third party
- any amounts paid to the individual's spouse or common-law partner, or to anyone under 18 years of age.
Do summer camps qualify?
Summer camps may qualify for the children's activity tax credit if they meet all requirements. In most cases, expenses for a camp are eligible if:
- it lasts at least five consecutive days
- more than half of the activities in the program include a significant amount of eligible activities, and
- it is supervised and suitable for children
Camp expenses such as food, beverages, accommodations or travel are not eligible for the tax credit.
Are child care expenses eligible?
Expenses that could be claimed for the federal child care expenses deduction and the children's activity tax credit must first be claimed as a federal child care expenses deduction. Any unused portion can be claimed for the tax credit.
Can I get the credit if I share custody of my child(ren) with my ex-spouse/common-law partner?
You can claim this amount provided another person has not already claimed the same fees and the total claimed is not more than the maximum amount that would be allowed if only one of you were claiming the amount.