Filing Your Return -> Disabilities -> Eligible Dependant / Equivalent to Spouse
Income Tax Act s. 118(1)B(b), s. 118(1)(e) s. 118(4), s. 251(2) s. 251(6)
Note: Before tax year 2019, line 30400 was line 305.
An equivalent to spouse tax credit may be claimed for a dependent relative
An individual may claim, under certain circumstances, the "amount for an eligible dependant" (equivalent to spouse) tax credit for a dependent child, or other dependent relatives, on line 30400 of the tax return. The amount of this federal non-refundable tax credit is $13,229 for 2020 (see revision below) ($12,069 for 2019), the same as the spousal amount tax credit. See the tables of non-refundable tax credits for the provincial amounts and tax rates of this tax credit. See Nova Scotia Eligible Dependant Amount for an additional tax credit for 2018 and later years.
If the eligible dependant is dependent on the individual by reason of mental or physical infirmity, the Canada caregiver amount will increase the eligible dependant amount by $2,273 for 2020 ($2,230 for 2019). When the family caregiver amount is claimed, the income threshold for the dependant is increased to a maximum of up to $15,502 for 2020 (see revision) ($14,299 for 2019).
Revision to eligible dependant amount for the 2020 and subsequent taxation years
On December 9, 2019, the federal government presented legislative proposals that would provide an additional amount for the basic personal amount (BPA), and the spousal and eligible dependant amounts for 2020 and subsequent taxation years. See the article on the BPA for the new amounts for each year. The 2020 and subsequent years spousal amount calculation will depend on the taxpayer's basic personal amount as well as the eligible dependant's net income. Yukon tabled legislation to mirror the federal amounts.
The equivalent to spouse tax credit can be claimed by only one person. For 2020 and later years, it is equal to:
- the taxpayer's basic personal amount (based on the taxpayer's income), less
- income earned by the dependant.
For 2019 and earlier years, it is equal to:
- the spousal amount, less
- income earned by the dependant.
This tax credit cannot be claimed if
Note that the credit cannot be claimed if someone else in your household is claiming this tax credit. Each household is allowed only one claim for this amount. This is from s. 118(4)(b) of the Income Tax Act, where it states that not more than one individual is entitled to the equivalent to spouse tax credit "in respect of the same person or the same domestic establishment and where two or more individuals otherwise entitled to such a deduction fail to agree as to the individual by whom the deduction may be made, no such deduction for the year shall be allowed to either or any of them".
There is a Tax Court Case in support of the above, Cheung v. The Queen, 2010 TCC 297. Two brothers (the appellants) lived together in a single family home with their spouses, children, parents and sister. Each of the brothers and their sister claimed a credit for their own children. This was when the child tax credit was available, but the rules are the same for the eligible dependant credit. Had they agreed on who could claim the tax credit, one of them could have claimed it. However, since they failed to agree on which one of them could claim the tax credit, the decision was that none of them was allowed to claim it. The fact that the taxpayers were related had no bearing on the case. The outcome would have been the same for two or more unrelated parents sharing a home. However, if each of the taxpayers and their children had separate suites or apartments in the home, they each would have been able to claim the tax credit for their children.
You may claim this credit if, at any time in the year:
and if, at that time (when the above conditions are true), the dependant is
Note: The situation of your child not being resident in Canada but qualifying for the equivalent to spouse tax credit may occur, for instance, if you are a deemed resident living in another country with your child.
In the case of shared custody, if both parents are required to make support payments for a child, then one parent can claim the amount for an eligible dependant for the child, as long as both parents paying support agree that this person will make the claim.
If your spouse has died during the year and you are not claiming a spousal tax credit, the equivalent to spouse credit can be claimed for a dependent relative if all the above conditions are met. For a dependent child who turns 18 during the year and is not mentally or physically impaired, to meet the conditions, the child would have to be 17 at the time of the death of the spouse.
If the dependant is dependent on the individual by reason of mental or physical infirmity, the family caregiver amount (now Canada Caregiver Credit) will increase the federal eligible dependant amount by $2,273 for 2020 ($2,230 for 2019).
The Canadian Tax Calculator includes the ability to claim the equivalent to spouse tax credit for a dependent child or other eligible dependant.
Income Tax Act s. 118(1)(e), s. 118(4)(c), s. 118(1)(c.1), s. 118(1)(d)
When a taxpayer is entitled to claim the eligible dependant amount, any claim for either the line 30425 Canada Caregiver Amount tax credit for an infirm spouse or infirm eligible dependant or the line 304500 amount for infirm dependant over age 18 for that dependant is reduced by the amount claimed for line 30400 (line 305 prior to 2019) eligible dependant.
Example for 2019:
A 2013 Tax Court of Canada case allowed a taxpayer to claim the eligible dependant tax credit for her mother. Her mother and father both resided with her, and her father had claimed a spousal tax credit for the mother for the years in question. However, a request had been made to reverse the claiming of the spousal credit, although the reversal (which was not done by CRA) had no effect on taxes payable for the father. The judge indicated that because the spousal credit did not reduce taxes payable, it was not actually "deducted" by the father, and the claim by the taxpayer was allowed. See Ullah v. The Queen 2013 TCC 387.
Other Tax Credits When Someone Lives With You
Other tax credits that may be available for someone living with you:Canada caregiver amount tax credit - federal, BC, ON, YT - replaces old caregiver credits for 2017 and later years.
Caregiver amount tax credit (provincial/territorial except BC, ON, YT) - this tax credit may be available if a parent or grandparent lives with you, even if they are not infirm, and not your dependant, or if another dependent relative lives with you. This was the federal/provincial/territorial credit prior to 2017.
Disability tax credit (Line 31600)
TaxTips.ca resourcesTables of non-refundable tax credits for the amount of this tax credit federally and provincially.
Persons with disabilities - Links to all information on TaxTips.caLine 30400 - Amount for an eligible dependant - has questions & answers to determine your eligibility
P102 Support Payments - includes form T1158, registration of family support payments
Revised: August 22, 2021
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