Adoption and your taxes


Canada Revenue Agency
Focus on Adoption magazine

Are you planning to adopt a child?

Financial help for adoptive families

One of the most obvious challenges adoptive parents face is the significant cost associated with the adoption process. But no matter what stage of the process you are in—whether you’re just thinking about adoption, you’re already working with an adoption agency, or you’ve recently celebrated the arrival of your child—it’s important to know the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has credits and benefits designed to help adoptive parents shoulder the financial burden.

If you adopt a child under 18 years of age, you may be able to claim up to $15,000 in eligible adoption expenses on your income tax and benefit return. You need to make a claim in the tax year when the adoption order is issued or when the child starts living with you, whichever is later. These eligible expenses can include fees paid to an adoption agency licensed by a provincial or territorial government, document translation fees, and mandatory expenses for the child’s immigration. To find out more about the adoption expense tax credit, visit

Benefits that grow with your family

The tax savings and benefits continue while you adjust to adoptive parenthood and settle into your new life. These include the monthly universal child care benefit ($160 for children under six and $60 for children between six and 17, under proposed changes), and the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), a tax-free benefit available to eligible families that helps with the costs of raising children under 18. To make sure you receive your benefits and credits, you should file your return every year, even if you have not received income in that year. 

Giving your children the opportunity to grow and explore life is the fun part of parenting! Whether your child scores touchdowns at amateur football games or dives into swimming lessons like a future Olympian, the fees for these types of recreational activities can add up. Save your receipts so that you can claim up to $1,000 per child under the children’s fitness tax credit. If your child attends programs that contribute to his or her artistic development, like tickling the ivories at a piano recital or going to computer camp, you also may be eligible to claim up to $500 per child under the children’s arts tax credit.

Did you know there's also a new credit called the Family Tax Cut? It's a proposed non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 available to eligible couples with children under the age of 18. The Family Tax Cut will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket.

Save time - file online

Everyone knows that having a child means increased demands on your time. Millions of Canadians are already taking advantage of the CRA’s fast and convenient online services, from accessing information on the website to filing taxes, making payments, and receiving refunds. In fact, last tax-filing season, 80% of Canadians filed their income tax and benefit return online. This means less time spent doing your taxes and more time for the joys of parenthood.

You can use My Account to receive your notices of assessment and reassessment online by registering through the CRA’s My Account secure online service at You can also use this service to apply for your Canada child and family benefits.

Making payments to the CRA has also never been faster or more convenient than with pre-authorized debit (PAD). Using PAD, taxpayers registered in My Account can authorize the CRA to make withdrawals of pre-determined amounts from their Canadian financial institution on pre-determined dates. It’s a great way to make your payments in instalments, without having to come up with a lump sum on April 30th. For other payment options, go to

Don't miss the deadline!

The deadline to file your income tax and benefit return is April 30, 2015. However, if you or your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, the deadline is June 15, 2015. If you have a balance owing for 2014, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2015. It’s worth the wait for your new son or daughter, but it’s not worth waiting to file your taxes!

Don’t miss the latest CRA news or tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency.