Can I Claim a Family Member on My Taxes if They Don’t Live Here?


So, you’re living and working in Canada, but you might have a child or family member that you’re supporting who’s still living back home, outside of Canada. We know the distance must be tough, and you might be wondering whether or not you’re able to claim them as dependants, even if they’re not in Canada with you. You might have moved here recently, and are waiting for your spouse and children to join you here, or maybe, you’re only in Canada temporarily but are sending money to your family back home.

Whatever the case, when it comes to your taxes, the rule is that you must be a resident of Canada in order to claim personal amounts for your dependants. The only exception is if the Canadian income on your return represents 90% or more of your total world income. So, let’s clarify a few things:

Can I claim my spouse if they’re not living here?

In general, claiming a non-resident spouse is more or less the same as claiming a resident spouse, as long as you have supported them during the year. Here’s a few things to know to make sure your claims go smoothly:

I’m supporting my children back home. Can I claim them as dependants?

Not usually. One of the criteria for claiming the amount for a dependant is that you need to have lived with the dependant in a home that you maintained. This wouldn’t be the case if you’re living in one place and your child is living in another. Here are a few other things to know about claiming your children on your taxes if they’re living elsewhere:

Though your family members might not be eligible as dependants in Canada, there might be other tax credits or deductions you could claim to reduce your tax bill.


Ready to file? Visit a tax expert at an H&R Block office near you, or do it yourself with our online tax software.