Steve Blazino

The Eligible Dependant Credit and Shared Parenting

Friday, March 18, 2011 by Steve Blazino


In general terms, an individual is eligible to claim a “wholly dependent person” tax credit for a child under 18 years of age, or at any age if the child is mentally or physically impaired, if, at any time during the year, the individual:

  • Did not have a spouse or common law partner, or was separated from their spouse and did not support nor was supported by their spouse;
  • Supported the child in the year; and
  • Lived with the child in a home maintained by the individual.

For example, in Ontario, the combined Federal and Provincial tax savings on claiming the wholly dependent tax credit is $2,155 which is a substantial tax-savings for single parent families.

The maximum wholly dependent tax credit is not available when any of the following conditions are met:

  • The individual is claiming a spouse or common-law partner amount (tax credit);
  • Someone else in the household is claiming a “wholly dependent person” tax credit; or
  • The claim is for a child for whom the individual was required to make support payments for in the year (see exception below).

In many marital break-down scenarios, parents share custody and also share in support payments based on the level of custody each parent enjoys. Prior to 2007, neither parent in these shared custody and support arrangements was able to claim the wholly dependent person tax credit as they were constrained under the support payment restriction, no matter the quantum of support paid in a year.

This has been verified in at least three separate court cases; Slade [2005] 5 C.T.C. 2285 (TCC), Leclerc [2007] 2 C.T.C 2448 (TCC) and de Moissac [2007] 1 C.T.C 2001 (TCC).

As a result, subsection 118(5.1) of the Income Tax Act was enacted for 2007 and subsequent taxation years to allow for one person to claim the credit for a child when both parents share custody and pay support for the child while in the other parent’s custody. This should allow for both parents to claim the wholly dependent person credit in situations where more than one child is involved and both parents have custody and pay support for the child to the other parent during some time duration in the year.

As a result, properly written separation agreements could result in over $4,300 of combined tax savings per year for separated or divorced individuals with more than one child when both parents share custody and pay support for the same children.

If you have any questions, please consult your local MNP Tax advisor or contact myself, Steve Blazino, CA, CBV, and we would be happy to assist you.

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Monday, November 18, 2013 - 09:51PM GMT | demnati jamal
Hi Can i claim dependent credit on my daughter who is living back home with her mom , and I pay for her child support . Regards
Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 09:35PM GMT | jiten
Can I claim dependent credit on my 78years old widow mother. Who is living home with us.we are look after her all the time, thanks
Saturday, March 01, 2014 - 04:26PM GMT | lisa
For 2013 taxes. I claim for my daughter who reside in my home from jan 1 2013 and moved out dec 20th 2013????? Or no???
Saturday, October 04, 2014 - 10:58AM GMT | Donald Portz
I have a nephew that I did 2013 Taxes for and claimed an eligible dependant for a son that he has shared custody with his separated spouse. He provides some support payments. CRA denied this claim which appears correct based on the above comments. However could the spouse make the claim as she does not provide support to him? I used to do a number of taxes yrs. ago and never had a problem claiming
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 10:28PM GMT |
My husband & I have been seperated for a couple years, we share a 16 yr old son with type 1 diabetes, I claim him for the CTB and his disability, I was unable to maintain a second residence financially so we have been living seperately in the same home. We split expenses, we are both on our own disabilities and on his income taxes he claimed the disability tax credit for my son as I have no taxable income. He has received a letter from revenue canada asking for information. Did we do something incorrect as we are sharing custody and financial responsibikty for him 50/? Please help, I really need some assistence with this situation! Thank you kindly
Friday, March 13, 2015 - 10:24AM GMT | Justin P
My ex wife and I share custody of our children. I kept them 2013 and 2014, they went back to live with there mom for 2015. I still have them for around 4 months this year. My ex wife is first nations and works on a first nation and does not pay income tax, wondering if I can claim them on my tax return for the 4 months I had them for this past year.
Monday, July 13, 2015 - 01:22PM GMT | e
My ex and I have been separated for 4 yrs. we have 2 boys 13 & 11. He was able to convince my older child to go live with him. My son sleeps there but I'm the person who collects him after school and he stays with me until 9 pm school nights and sleeps over Friday nights. However I seem to have him most of the time and I pay for his dentist, orthodontist, extra curricular activities, etc. Can he claim the CCTB? I am willing to give him the equivalent to spouse (CRA has denied it and I am willing to write a letter) He refuses to pay the agreed child support and states I should not get it (makes cash money to show he`s low income). can he get the equivalent as well as cctb

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