Tax season is here. As you pull together your papers and search for old receipts, the Ontario Ministry of Finance wants you to know that you may be eligible for some tax benefits. If you’re unsure of whether you’re going to owe the government money or get a refund when you file your taxes, these benefits can help swing the odds in your favour. Today we’re sharing information on two benefits you may want to know more about before filing your taxes. For more information on tax benefits for families, visit www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/index.html.
Before You File Your Taxes
Children’s Activity Tax Credit
For each child under 16, you can claim up to $535 in eligible expenses and get up to $53.50 for 2013. ‘Eligible expenses’ include supervised fitness and non-fitness activities for children. The rules for fitness activities are the same as for the federal Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. That is they must require a significant amount of physical activity contributing to fitness. Eligible non-fitness activities include music, dramatic arts, visual arts and dance, language instruction, wilderness and nature activities and tutoring, among others. The activities must not be part of a school program, they must last at least eight weeks if they’re weekly programs or five consecutive days if they’re daily programs, or involve membership in an organization for at least eight weeks. Summer camps qualify as long as they last at least five days. To apply for the credit complete the form ON479, which is part of your personal income tax return.
More info: www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/catc/index.html
Ontario Child Benefit
The Ontario Child Benefit offers financial support to low and moderate income families, regardless of their employment status, to help provide for their children. About one million Ontario children under the age of 18 receive this benefit each month. You don’t have to apply for this benefit – as long as you have registered your child for the federal Canada Child Tax Benefit and you and your partner have filed your taxes, you may be eligible. Your family’s income will be assessed, and the Ontario Child Benefit will be included with the Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefit Supplement monthly payments. This benefit consolidates several provincial child benefits into one benefit, including the Ontario Child Care Supplement for Working Families (OCCS). Accordingly, the OCCS will end in July, 2014.