I made an earlier post about a friend who has a young daughter and a stay-at-home spouse who simply assumed that (a) his family is not eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) because he makes a fairly high income and (b) if he were eligible, he would get the checks automatically. Turns out, his case is far from unique. Recently, I was chatting with a co-worker who has two young kids and a stay-at-home spouse and found that he didn’t know he could be eligible for the CCTB either.

The CCTB is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. The benefit is based on the number of children in your household and your family’s net income (Line 236 of your T1 General). You should calculate net income by deducting your RRSP contributions, childcare expenses etc. from your total income. It is important to note that the net income threshold below which families are eligible for the CCTB is very high. For example, in 2006 if your family net income is less than $101,000 and you have two children and a stay-at-home spouse, your family will be eligible for the CCTB. You can estimate the CCTB benefits your family could be eligible for using this calculator, but be sure to enter your net income.

The CCTB benefits are not paid automatically even if your family is eligible and both you and your spouse file your tax returns every year. To receive the payments, you should apply to receive the benefit using Form RC66. If you find that you are eligible, do not delay in applying for the benefit because Canada Revenue Agency says that it will only make retroactive payments for up to 11 months from the month in which they receive your application.

This article has 28 comments

  1. I’ve been selfishly and quietly reaping these educational posts from you and MillionDollarJourney on CCTB and related topics. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to add, but thank you both for putting these together, as I’m oblivious when it comes to raising kids.

  2. Small note, the “baby bonus” now repackaged as CCTB has no tax burden on the receiver. The UCCB ($100 childcare “bonus”) *IS* taxed on the lowest earning parent.

  3. I don’t know why the government introduces these programs and then doesn’t advertise them.

    I think it’s great that you are spreading the word since this is one of the few benefits that middle class families can gain from.

    Mike

  4. On a similar note, For children born in 1990 or later, one of the parents can submit an updated TD1 (2007 Personal Tax Credits Return) to their emplyer claiming $2000 per child (item 2). This just came into effect July 2007. Also review the form, there may be other credits (such as tuition etc) that you may use. Now this is not extra money, however you can have a little of it on each paycheck instead of waiting for your refund in 2008. I’m getting into the specifics here as this comment is getting long enough, however potentially a good subject for a blog post (and what to do with “extra” $).

  5. Great post CC! Just a little note, I believe that childcare expenses must be claimed under the lower income spouse. So basically, they are only beneficial when both spouses are working. I guess it doesn’t really make sense to put your child in day care when one spouse stays home. :)

  6. Canadian Capitalist

    MDJ: You’re right. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to claim child care deduction unless both spouses are working or attending school.

    Gregory: Good point. I didn’t bother with the TD1 because I’ll likely owe taxes this year but it might be useful to others.

    Mike: It would be interesting to find out how many are eligible for the CCTB but don’t claim it. I was surprised that two people I personally know thought that they would get the grant automatically if they were eligible for it.

  7. C anada Child Benefits – a brief history

    1944 – Family Allowance Act; universal Family Allowance for all Canadian families with dependent children – known as the baby bonus

    1973 – FA becomes taxable but indexed to inflation (beginning of the progressive income tax system)

    1978 – FA reduced and introduction of the refundable Child Tax Credit

    1986 – FA de-indexed

    1989 – FA clawback introduced; end of universal child benefits

    1993 – FA and Child Tax Credit replaced with Child Tax Benefit and WIS (Working Income Supplement for working poor)

    1998 – WIS replaced with National Child Benefit

    2003 – Addition of Child Disability Benefit

    2006 – Addition of Universal Child Care Benefit

    2007 – Addition of Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, $2000 Child Tax Credit

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  9. why am I not recieving CCTB for the past 10 years. My four children were under 18 years old now tow remain under 18. One is currently 18 and the next, 27yrs. I am desperate for an answer.

    Desperate claudette

  10. Claudette Bravo: Either you didn’t apply for it or are not eligible.

    You can check how much you would get here:
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/clcltr/menu-eng.html

    You can get more info here:
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/b-eng.html

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  12. I was wondering – is there a maximum amount of children you can have to be eligible for the benefit? I’ve heard from a couple people that you are cut off at 4 dependants. We have 3 now and are expecting multiples – does anyone have information on this?
    Thanks

  13. Darin: Congratulations! I’ve never heard of any cut off. In fact if you try out this calculator:

    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/clcltr/menu-eng.html

    with different number of children, you’ll find that the benefits increase as the number of kids increase. In any case, I’d give CRA a quick call. They are very helpful and should be able to sort out your question.

  14. sorry I know this is a very old post, but I hope you can help me with this: I was been told that if I open up an account to collect only CTB and UCCB, all interest made will be non-taxable. However, if I withdraw any money from this account for personal use, this account will then no longer eligible for ‘non-taxable’ for tax purpose. Is it true??? It really not making any sense for me.
    Thank you CC

  15. Jane, CC blogged about this here:

    http://www.canadiancapitalist.com/2008/06/25/quick-tip-invest-cctb-or-ucb-payments-in-your-childs-name

    It’s not that it is not taxable, just taxed in the child’s name, since they have no other income there would be essentially no tax.

    As always, if you are unsure about a strategy it might be best to talk to a professional about it.

  16. Thank you Traciatim for your reply. I read through the other posting, but I still don’t see answer to my question: am I allow to withdraw $ from the account or not. I will try to call CRA again hopefully they will give me a clear answer.
    Thank you

  17. I am on long term disability and I have two children. I am told that they will only go back 11 months. They say you can apply for them to go back further. does anyone know what they consider good reason? I suffer with depression, anxiety, and did not know how to go about this. Why would they deny anyone that is eligible. what is their reason?

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  20. I was recently told that CCTB is only for resident canadian,but i have a friend who stay outside canada but she is filling income tax as Resident in Canada and she receives CCTB to her account, how far it is correct on her behalf to claim CCTB?

  21. I know this is biased. However, I can’t help but disagree with families using the CCTB as a main source of funds especially when one spouse does not work and has 4-5 children. Taxpayers are essentially paying to raise your child. I strongly feel that if you canno afford to have children or canny afford to have more than say 2 kids, then don’t. I understand and agree that CCTB should help say disabled children or parents and I even agree if families were only claiming/receiving say $100-$300 a month. However, I work in the tax field and I see so many families with one income provider earning $30,000 while the spouse stays home with 4-5 kids. I just simply don’t understand why Hard working taxpayers should pay to raise their 4-5 kids. I express my opinion with the greatest respect. I dont mean to offend anyone. Thoughts??

  22. In regards to the last comment, i feel alot of times people have one spouse stay home not to make money on CCTB because i think thats quite far fetched. I would definitly say it would be the cost of childcare vs what the person could potentionally make in a day. The average daycare cost for an infant is $52.00 per day. I feel the person making $30,000 is also a hard working taxpayer like yourself. Instead of attacking lower income working families maybe look at the fact of newly immigrating people being allowed to collect a CCTB when the child is not born in Canada. They also get daycare subsidy to attend school( which we pay for). I dont begrudge a better life infact i think we are a wonderful country that has social programs and my grandparents immigrated here in the 1940’s. I think you need to look at the big picture in regards to all social programs and see exactly where your taxes are infact going. I would also like to point out in this day you will only be eligible to recieve daycare subsidy to some degree if you can prove both partners work 40 hours per week. I’m very to have a job like this however, my husband does not.. his work like most people varies as companies do not want full time employment and the cost of benefits. This varying degree of daycare subsidy also depends on have no freeze on and if your a priority (ie) single parent etc.. however people on Ontario Works get it no problem if they are going to school etc… so you definitly need to take a bigger look at what is exactly is taking place with social programs and your money.

  23. Hello
    I am going to leave Canada soon for 3 or more years But I have a rental home since long time ago besides the home that I live in , I will keep both homes. If my residence status is a resident for tax purpose and keep applying annual tax regarding to my residential ties and other ties ( bank account, driving license, furniture , RESP and more )and , Am I supposed as a resident applying annual tax even though me and my family don’t live in Canada to keep CCTB Until coming back to Canada ( 3yrs or more ) that I receive long time ago OR NOT
    Thanks

  24. ok Question I have been cut off my CCTB payment for the last 4 years because my spouse refused to do his taxes even though I filed mine. how far back will they back pay once they receive his taxes?

  25. My single parent mother never collected CCTB for any of her 5 kids, she worked seasonally at a fish cannery every summer and hoped to get enough hours for EI while we grew up. She did her taxes every couple of years. Recently someone prepared her taxes for her and applied for her CCTB retroactively. Now she has been told that she wont get anything of it. Any thoughts on how she could get what is owed to her?

  26. My wife and I split in 2004. The CCTB was being collected by her. Up until then. Frankly I did not know anything about it. I thought it was something that was dealt with at income tax time each year and I always thought I was just in eligible. I didn’t know that I had to apply for it when I got custody of my son in 2005. This year I was told by a friend I had to apply to receive it.
    I got the paper work and my ex wife signed off and confirmed that she was receiving it till 2005 and now I had custody and signed the CCTB over to me on the form. I took these forms and had them notarized by a lawyer and also add all the paper work they may require. School records and such. And also got a motorized declaration from my lawyer to show this all to be true. By the way, my ex lives an hour and a Hal away and my son only sees her about one weekend a month. Her choice vive green told by people that they will go back all those years and give me the payments as it was already in the system.
    Does anyone know if this is true or not. I can’t find an answer online and when you call they are not very forth coming with the info.
    It says 11 months if you are late and new to signing up. But this case is different. It was already being received but I did not know I had to send in info. As I said I thought it was geared towards my income tax as to wether I received or not. My income was not all that great, as my priority was to be a father to my son. The split affected him enough where I didn’t want to ditch him after school for hours while I worked. I had a low paying day shift job that allowed me to be there for him. I’m glad I did. He is now a great young adult with goals and aspirations, who has never gave me an ounce of trouble.
    Does anyone know the answer. I’m desperate to know. I want to send him to college with this money.
    He deserves it.
    Thanks very much.

  27. I am very confused about the eligibility requirements for this benefit. The CRA website does not mention income as being a factor at all in the eligibility for this benefit, period full stop. No mention whatsoever of an income threshold.

    So I applied, even though I earn over $150k.

    My wife got the first cheque, but then we got a letter in the mail from the government indicating we weren’t eligible due to my income. But why did they issue the first cheque?

    The CRA needs to get its act together and be clear about who is eligible. If I’m not eligible, then they need to stop wasting my time and just tell me – then I won’t apply.

  28. My ex and I split in 2008, we immediately went with shared custody (week on week off). She is an office manager and does taxes and told me I didn’t qualify for the CCTB, and would I mind if she claimed the kids at 100% instead of shared. I agreed. fast forward to spring 2014, and I find out (I switched tax providers) that i have been eligible all along. I applied and was awarded the last 11 months retroactively. My question is, CRA states that they will only go back 11 months, is there anyway I can recoup the other 49 months of retropay? Is there an appeals process I can’t seem to find, or can I take my ex to court and try to have it awarded? Its a fair amount of money (over 6000) that I feel I am owed.

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