Claiming the Amount for an Eligible Dependant credit on your tax return is not as straightforward as many of the other credits parents and caretakers can claim for their dependants. Formerly referred to as the Equivalent-to-Spouse amount, the Amount for an Eligible Dependant Credit is a Non-Refundable Tax Credit designed for single adults who are not claiming the spouse/common-law partner credit and who are responsible for the financial care of a relative.
Single parents and separated parents who are not supported by or living with the other parent of their children may claim this credit in certain cases. In some cases, you may be able to claim this credit for a dependent who is not a minor.
To claim the credit, the dependent must live with you in a home you maintain. For example, if you take care of a dependant, but you live in a home maintained by your parents or someone else, you may not claim this credit. You also cannot make an eligible dependent claim for someone who was only visiting you.
For the purposes of the eligible dependant credit, the dependant may be your parent or grandparent, or a child under the age of 18 who is your child, grandchild, brother/sister through birth, adoption, marriage or common-law partnership.
For you to claim the eligible dependant credit, the dependant’s earnings must be less than the current year’s Basic Personal Amount (these change yearly, see this CRA link for current year amounts). Your claim will be reduced by the dependant’s earnings so it’s important that if your dependant has any earnings, you complete their tax return first and enter the amount from Line 23600 – Net Income of their tax return on your own return.
Exceptions to Eligibility
In some cases, even if you meet the criteria for claiming the eligible dependant claim, you are still not allowed to make the claim. In particular,
- If you or someone else is declaring an amount on Line 30300 as their spouse/common-law partner on their tax return, you cannot claim that person as your dependant. For example, if your grandmother is dependent on you but your grandfather claims the spouse credit for her, you cannot claim her as a dependant, regardless of how involved you are in her care.
- Only “one person per household” is allowed to make this claim, regardless of the number of dependants in the house.
- If someone else (usually the other parent) is claiming an amount on Line 30400 of their return for this dependent, you cannot make a claim for that same dependant. For example, you and the other parent have shared custody and can both claim the amount for the same dependant, you must agree on who will claim the amount. If you cannot agree, neither of you can claim the Amount for an Eligible Dependent for that child.
- If you are “required” to make child support payments for a child and the other parent is not required to, you cannot claim the Amount for an Eligible Dependant for that child. Only the parent who does not pay child support can claim the amount.
- There are special rules in place in cases where “both” parents are required to pay child support. Again, in this case, you must decide who will be making the claim or CRA will disallow the claim for both parents if they cannot reach a mutual decision.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can only make the claim for one dependant.
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