Do I Qualify for the Canada Child Benefit?

 

Diapers, sleepless nights and miniature everything became part of your life recently. Or, maybe your family is expecting a new addition and you’re getting all your soon-to-be rubber ducks in a row. Either way, you’re probably wondering if you qualify for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). This is a new benefit that was created in 2016, and it’s a non-taxable monthly payment from the federal government. It’s the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) way of recognizing that raising kids means a few more expenses, and it’s paid to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children, depending on your household income.

Will I receive CCB payments?

In order to be eligible to receive the CCB, parents need to meet these conditions:

I had a baby but didn’t file my return this year. Will I receive CCB payments?

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) calculates eligibility in July, and it’s based on the adjusted family net income for the previous year. So, in order to qualify for CCB payments, parents must file their income tax returns annually to start or continue receiving benefits. If an eligible parent fails to file a return, even if they have no income to report, the CRA can’t calculate the correct CCB amount so payments will stop coming in August.

I filed my return late in the year. Will I still receive payments?

Once both parents file a return, CCB payments will not only start again, they’ll also be retroactive, so you should receive any amounts for months that were missed. If you start or end sharing custody of your child with their other parent, be sure to tell the CRA as soon as possible as it will affect your payments.

What can I use CCB payments for?

The CCB is meant for your child, but since they are minors, the CRA is trusting you as their parent to spend it where your child needs it most. Most families use their payments as part of their budget for things like clothing, school supplies and food.

Can I save CCB payments for my child? Will they pay taxes on it?

If you receive the CCB payment by direct deposit, you can then direct it to an account in your child’s name, and any interest or dividends earned would be reported by them when they’re old enough to start filing tax returns. Most of the time, the money earned by the CCB payments will be less than the basic personal amount and will be tax-free (unless your child is employed).

If you receive CCB payments in your account first and then transfer it to your child’s, it would still be considered your income and your child won’t be taxed on it.

I have an outstanding tax bill. Will my CCB payments be automatically deducted?

If you happen to owe the CRA some money, your CCB payments won’t be deducted or used towards your bill. This payment is in place to help you with the immediate costs of raising your child, and won’t automatically be used to pay down your debt. You’ll continue to receive payments as long as you file your return by the deadline, even if you have an outstanding tax bill.

I’m not receiving CCB payments, but I think I should be. What should I do?

Get on it! You can apply for the CCB by using the Automated Benefits Application [link?] or visit the CRA website for more information about the Canada Child Benefit.

Life with a little one means expecting the unexpected, but making sure your paperwork is up-to-date with CRA will help make sure you’re getting the tax credits and deductions you’re eligible for.

 

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