Whether it’s piano lessons after school, ballet in the evening or an early morning hockey practice on the weekend, raising a family is never boring. And when you start adding everything up, it is also quite expensive. Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst at H&R Block Canada, offers the following tax tips for families who wish to reduce their 2012 tax bill.

Kids are a credit: Parents can claim the $2,191 Child Tax Credit for each child under the age of 18. This will result in a federal tax saving of $328 per child. If one parent cannot use the entire amount to lower their tax payable, the unused amount can be transferred to a spouse or common-law partner.

Get artistic: The Children’s Arts Tax Credit allows parents to claim up to $500 in registration fees for programs such as language lessons, tutoring, Girl Guides and art classes. The organization should provide you with the appropriate receipt.

Use public transit: Taxpayers who use public transit can claim a non-refundable tax credit for their passes. This includes passes purchased for dependent children under the age of 19. The passes have to be for a period of at least one month or weekly passes purchased over a period of four consecutive weeks. Electronic payment cards also qualify.

Signed up for kinder gym? The Children’s Fitness Amount is a non-refundable credit that is worth up to $500 for children under the age of 16 enrolled in an eligible program of physical activity. Not every program meets the eligibility guidelines so you need to ensure you know the requirements. Make sure you keep your receipts. Children with disabilities will qualify for an advanced credit if
they are under 18.

Claim childcare: Keep all your receipts for childcare expenses. From daycare to nannies, childcare expenses can be claimed by the lower-income spouse. Unfortunately, any unused amount cannot be claimed by the higher-income earner unless there was a period of separation of 90 days or more or the other spouse was in school, prison or the hospital.

Medical expenses: The lower income spouse should claim all the medical expenses for a family to maximize the tax savings. Remember that premiums paid for your company healthcare plan, deductibles and medical travel insurance are all considered medical expenses for tax purposes.

Do your homework and avoid missing out on any money-saving credits by using tax preparation software, like H&R Block At Home (, which guides Canadians through step-by-step tips to identify every possible deduction or credit, calculates your return as you go, and ensures you get your maximum refund. If you aren’t comfortable doing your own taxes, bring it into an

H&R Block office and a tax professional will review your return for free.


Information provided by H&R Block (


  1. mommyoutside says

    There is also the equivalent to spouse amount (I think it's now called eligible dependent) if you are a single parent. And don't forget about education amounts, even if you don't go to school, if your kid is enrolled in any kind of post secondary and doesn't need the deduction you can use them yourself.

    Keep receipts for everything! Even if you aren't sure it can be used. Your tax professional will know!

  2. Taxes always boggle my mind. Thanks for sharing this. I definitely learned some great tips here! I'll share it with my husband.
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  3. Lee Pearson says

    Uggg….I hate tax time. We always end up owing money 🙁

  4. Those are some great tax tips Kim. Good to keep your receipts for everything as well. There is also a gas tax credit for those who can claim an amount on disability and spent money on gas.
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  5. torviewtoronto says

    useful information thank you for sharing the tips
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  6. I never knew you could claim deductibles. How would you go about getting the totals of the deductibles you've paid throughout the year?
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  7. great tips! I love we can claim the kids activities, putting three kids into anything is so expensive!
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