Angella Dykstra: She Makes Cents


How To Use Your Kids As Tax Deductions

Must-Know Tax Credits For Canadian Parents

Must-Know Tax Credits For Canadian Parents

I've been a bit of a numbers geek for as long as I remember. I not only did math problems for fun in workbooks my parents bought me, but I loved to earn money and put it into my bank account. I bought what I needed, and sometimes what I wanted, donated some, and the rest went into my savings account.

Nowadays, as not only a mom, but as a Chartered Accountant, I've been pretty diligent about teaching my kids what I've learned in my life to help them be financially literate. My kids attend "Money and Me" sessions at our church where they learn that you need to work in order to get paid, and that not all jobs pay the same amount.

There are two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. We're not dead yet (yay!) so we have to deal with taxes. The great thing is, though, that as much as your kids may cost you one BILLION dollars over the course of their lives, there are also a whole lot of ways that you can turn those little bank account drainers into tax write-offs.

I am no longer in public practice, so I have to buy a tax program every year and I use TurboTax. While I know all of the T1 schedules by heart from over a decade in public practice, it's kind of nice to let the program walk you through all the right questions to ensure you receive every tax deduction and credit my family deserves. Then at the end there's a final review to make sure everything is completed properly. Easy, peasy.

TurboTax is something I use personally, and professionally, and it's what I recommend to friends and family when doing their own taxes. I may know my tax stuff, but TurboTax offers people access to tax support and advice via phone, online chat, email, Facebook and Twitter, on their own terms and time. The longer I'm out of public practice, the more I'll probably reach out to them with questions myself.

We still have a few weeks before the May 5, 2014 filing deadline. So, let's do this. Here are my tips on how to turn your kids into tax write-offs—you guys need to know this stuff.

The Canada Child Tax Benefit

A new parent could qualify for the Child Tax Benefit, which is a tax free payment. The amount depends on where you live and your marital status.

The Children's Fitness Tax Credit

The Children's Fitness Tax Credit lets parents claim up to $500 per year for eligible fitness expenses paid for each child who is under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid.

Here's a stat for you:10 per cent of Canadians who have filed their taxes using TurboTax have claimed the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

The Children’s Arts Tax Credit

The Children's Arts Tax Credit is for programs in fine arts, music, performing arts, outdoor wilderness training, learning a language, studying a culture, and tutoring.

Parents can claim up to $500 in eligible fees (you get 15 per cent or $75).

Caveat: You may not claim associated travel, meals, and accommodation. You may not claim fees paid for a program if the instructor or leader is either someone under 18 or the spouse or partner of the parent making the claim.

Here's another stat for you:4 per cent of Canadians who have filed their taxes using TurboTax have claimed the Children’s Art Tax credit.

Adoption Expense Tax Credit

The Adoption Expense Tax Credit is new!

Canadians who adopt a child take on an enormous responsibility — not only in caring for their new child, but the financial responsibility as well. According to the Adoption Council of Canada, the cost of adopting a child can cost as much as $30,000.

This new credit allows an individual to claim a non-refundable credit on eligible adoption expenses (up to a maximum of $11,669 per child for 2013) in the taxation year in which the adoption period ends.

The credit is determined by multiplying the amount claimed by the lowest income tax rate (15 per cent for 2013).

We haven't adopted any kids, but we use the fitness tax credit (soccer and swimming) and the Arts credit (piano) and we get the Child Tax Benefit as well.

If you have any questions from the C.A. in the house, I'm all ears. Taxes aren't as scary as they're made out to be.

This mom puts TurboTax to the test. Find out if she credits this program for making this year’s tax return the easiest ever.

TurboTax by Intuit is Canada’s best-selling tax software for a reason. It guides you through a personalized experience to help you find every tax deduction and credit you deserve.

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