My kids are growing up. Are they still dependants?

My kids are growing up. Are they still dependants?

Taking care of yourself and your kids is a tall order! Days are busy with work, drop-offs & pick-ups, getting groceries, banking, that whole showering thing… there’s barely time for Netflix! We get that adulting is hard, and if you’re taking care of yourself plus a few others in your family, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognizes that it can be a big job. When tax time rolls around, they try to make that job just a bit easier by allowing you to claim those you care for as dependants.

Who is a dependant?

A dependant is someone in your life who relies on you for support. For income tax purposes, a dependant will usually be a relative either by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption. Depending on your situation, a dependant might be your spouse or common-law partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. Most of the time, your relative also has to be a resident in Canada to qualify as a dependant.

How does claiming a dependant work?

Claiming a dependant on your tax return will give you access to a tax credit, and reduce what you owe to the CRA. It’s important to understand how these credits work before you claim them. Some are based on age or relationship, or on the person’s health. Some credits also adjust for your dependants’ income level.

My children are over 18. Can I still claim them as dependants?

Lots of parents continue to financially support their children after they turn 18. Here is a quick rundown on whether or not they can still be claimed:

So, if you have someone or a few people in your life that rely on you for support, make sure you’re in the know about their status as a dependant. Even if they’re growing up or out the door, you could still save some money on your tax bill.


Have more questions about who in your life could be a dependant? Visit a tax expert at an H&R Block office near you. Ready to file now? Do it yourself with our free online software.