Canada child tax benefit – Before you apply
Are you eligible?
To be eligible for the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), you must meet all of the following conditions:
- You must live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age.
- You must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.
- You must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.
- You or your spouse or common-law partner must be:
- A Canadian citizen
- A permanent resident
- A protected person
- A temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
What benefits or credits could you get?
When you apply, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine if you are eligible for:
- the Canada child tax benefit
- the universal child care benefit
- any related provincial or territorial programs
The CRA will also register your child for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
When should you apply?
Apply for the CCTB as soon as possible after:
- your child is born
- a child starts to live with you
- you or your spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility conditions
You can receive the CCTB for a month if you were eligible at the end of the previous month and continue to be eligible into the beginning of that month. CCTB payments begin the month after you become eligible.
You should apply even if:
- you share custody of your child
- your child is living with you for a determined temporary period of time
- your current family net income is too high to get the CCTB
- you may be eligible for other benefits
- we recalculate your benefits every July based on your return from the previous year
Who should apply?
The individual who is primarily in charge of the care and upbringing of the child should apply for the CCTB.
You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child if you:
- supervise the child’s daily activities and needs
- make sure the child’s medical needs are met
- arrange for child care when necessary
For CCTB purposes, when a male and a female parent live together in the same household as the child, the female parent is usually considered to be primarily responsible for the child. In this situation, the female parent should apply. If the male parent is primarily responsible, he must attach a note to his application from the female parent. The note must state that he is primarily responsible for all of the children in the household.
If two parents of the same sex live together in the same household as the child, one parent should apply for the CCTB for all of the children in the household.
Do you share custody?
You share custody if the child lives with you and another individual in separate residences on a more or less equal basis.
The child may regularly alternate between residences in the following cycles:
- four days with one person and three days with the other
- one week with one person and the next week with the other
- any other regular alternating cycle
Both individuals must be primarily responsible for the child’s care and upbringing when the child lives with them. Each eligible individual will get 50% of the payment he or she would have received if the child lived with him or her all of the time. If you have just entered into a shared custody situation you have to apply for benefits.
Although a court order might state which individual should receive the CCTB, the CRA is bound by the Income Tax Act, which is the legal authority the CRA uses to determine who eligible individuals are.