Tax Tips – Claim Children’s Fitness and Arts Amount

Tax Tips – Claim Children’s Fitness and Arts Amount

(By Brightstar Accounting Firm 416-498-1988)

Tax season is upon us again and people are starting to ask questions again.  One of the most common questions that people have is ‘What kind of benefits and deductions am I entitled to when it comes to caring for my children?’

The two most common deductions that you can claim on your taxes are the Children’s fitness amount and the Children’s arts amount.  Today, we are going to take a closer look at these two and what you may be entitled to claim.

The maximum of $500 per child the fees paid in 2011 for Children’s fitness can be used as tax credits for your T1 return. The child must have been under 16 years of age or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability amount at the beginning of the year in which an eligible fitness expense was paid.

Prescribed program

To qualify for this amount, a program must

■ be ongoing (a minimum of eight consecutive weeks duration or, in the case of children’s camps, five consecutive days);

■ be supervised;

■ be suitable for children; and

■ require significant physical activity (generally, most of the activities must include a significant amount of physical activity contributing to cardio-respiratory endurance plus muscular strength, and/or balance).

Under proposed changes, you can claim to a maximum of $500 per child the fees paid in 2011 relating to the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program (see the next section) of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity. The child must have been under 16 years of age or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability amount at the beginning of the year in which an eligible arts expense was paid.

Prescribed program

To qualify for this amount, a program must meet the first three requirements listed under the section called “Prescribed program” at Line 365. The program also has to meet at least one of the following criteria:

■ it contributes to the development of creative skills or expertise in an artistic or cultural activity;

■ it provides a substantial focus on wilderness and the natural environment;

■ it helps children develop and use particular intellectual skills;

■ it includes structured interaction among children where supervisors teach or help children develop interpersonal skills; or

■ it provides enrichment or tutoring in academic subjects.

Other details to consider. If the child qualifies for the disability amount and is under 18 years of age at the beginning of the year, an additional amount of $500 can be claimed as long as a minimum of $100 is paid on registration or membership fees for the prescribed programs

One of the most important things to remember is that you cannot make a double claim for these programs.  If an expense is eligible for the children’s fitness amount, it is not eligible for the children’s arts amount.

We hope that you have found this information helpful when preparing your taxes for this year.  These two deductions can help you to save money while ensuring that your children stay active and stimulated outside of school.

For any more information about your personal tax needs, please contact Brightstar Finance and Accounting Associates at 416-498-1988 or email us at info@brightstargroup.ca .

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