Back to School Tax Tips for Parents in Canada

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Posted on December 17, 2018

Back to school season is always a time of year where parents take a big hit in expenses. Having to purchase school supplies, invest in daycare, and pay for expenses related to schooling or tutoring, costs add up rather quickly.

Thankfully, there are ways to recoup some of those costs come tax time. Canadians may be able to claim childcare expenses, claim tutoring costs and additional school accommodations for children with a learning disability, and claim amounts put towards select benefit programs for a child’s post-secondary education.

If you pay for childcare which allows you, as a parent, to work or go to school, you may be allowed to claim a percentage of this expense on your tax return. Note that these back to school tax deductions include any services procured from caregivers providing child care services, daycare centres, any child care services offered through an educational institution, any day sports school or day camps with a primary focus on care for children, and any boarding schools or camps where lodging is involved.

For the aforementioned services, parents are allowed to claim up to $8,000 for children under 7 years of age, $5,000 for eligible children between ages 7 and 16, and up to $11,000 for children who qualify for the disability tax credit. Use ‘Form T778, Child Care Expenses Deduction’ to calculate your allowable amount and enter it onto line 214 of your return. Also, be sure to keep any and all receipts and supporting documentation relating to said expenses in the event the Canada Revenue Agency wants to see them.

Keep in mind, if your child has a learning disability and requires cost of education or cost of tutoring services, these are can be used as tax deductions as well. Do note that to deduct cost of schooling for a child, a medical practitioner must certify in writing that your expenses are needed in relation to the child’s physical or mental impairment. To deduct costs of tutoring, you will need a similar letter from a medical practitioner justifying the expense in the same manner.

If you’re interested in further lowering your taxable income, considering investing in your child’s post-secondary future by taking advantage of any of the available benefit programs. Start a registered education savings plan (RESP), use the Canada education savings grant, or consider the Canada learning bond. These are all incentives to contribute money towards your child’s post-secondary education and will have positive tax benefits for you.