Children’s Activity Tax Credit
This tax credit helped parents and guardians with the cost of registering their children in organized activities. Your 2016 income tax return was the last year this credit could be claimed.
The Children’s Activity Tax Credit ended on December 31, 2016. You can still claim this credit if you are completing or amending your tax returns for the years 2010 through 2016.
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About the credit
The Ontario Children’s Activity Tax Credit helps parents with the cost of registering their children in organized activities.
You are eligible for the credit if you:
- are a resident of Ontario on the last day of the year you’re claiming for
- or your spouse or common-law partner paid fees in that year to register your children or their children in an eligible activity
Which activities qualify?
The tax credit covers fitness and non-fitness activities that are supervised and suitable for children. The activity also needs to be a:
- program that is not part of a school’s curriculum
- weekly program that lasts at least eight weeks in a row, or a daily program that lasts at least five days in row, or
- membership in an organization that lasts at least eight weeks in a row and allows children to choose from a variety of activities
Fitness programs can qualify for the credit if they had a lot of physical activity.
Examples of eligible activities include:
- horseback riding
- figure or ice skating
- running / track and field
- skiing or snowboarding
- swimming / water polo
Eligible non-fitness activities include:
- music, dramatic arts, dance and visual arts instruction
- language instruction
- wilderness and natural environment instruction (e.g. Cadets, Scouts, Girl Guides)
- intellectual skills development (e.g. chess, leadership development)
- interpersonal skills development (e.g. public speaking)
- tutoring in academic subjects (e.g. math, science, geography)
Summer camps can qualify for the credit if:
- they last at least five days in a row
- more than half of the program includes a significant amount of eligible activities
- activities are supervised and suitable for children
What expenses can be claimed?
Registration and membership fees are eligible expenses, including the portion of the fee that covers the cost of uniforms and other equipment related to the activity.
Expenses such as food, beverages, accommodations and travel are not eligible for the credit.
How do I get the credit?
To apply for the credit you have to file your 2010 through 2016 tax returns, even if you didn’t have income to report, and complete the Ontario Credits Form ON479.
Any children’s activity expenses relating to child care should be claimed as a child care expense deduction first. Any unused portion can then be claimed for the children’s activity tax credit.
Save your receipts from your child’s activities. You don’t need to submit them with your return, but keep them in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asks to see them.
For 2016, you can claim up to $560 in eligible expenses and receive $56 back for each child under 16. For each child with a disability who was under 18, you can receive up to $112.
If you’re claiming for a tax year prior to 2016, the maximum expenses you can claim are:
- $500 (2010)
- $509 (2011)
- $526 (2012)
- $535 (2013)
- $541 (2014)
- $551 (2015)
For more information, see Form ON479 and the Information Sheet – Residents of Ontario, found in the personal income tax and benefit return under the tax year you are filing.
When will I get the credit?
The credit is first used to reduce any income tax you may owe. If there is an amount left over, it will be included as part of your tax refund. Tax refunds are generally received within six to eight weeks after the CRA assesses a return.
Other tax credits and benefits
While you can’t receive the children’s activity tax credit after the 2016 tax year, you and your family might be eligible for other Ontario tax credits.
Use the tax credit calculator to learn more.