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How to Claim Child Care Expenses?

How to Claim Child Care Expenses

Many Canadian families find it hard to figure out how to pay for child care and their taxes simultaneously. As child care expenses keep increasing, it’s more important than ever to know the pros and cons of deducting these costs from your taxes. In 2024, Canadian taxpayers face unique problems and chances when they try to get the best tax returns and get help paying for child care. 

This article aims to simplify the process by explaining who can claim child care expenses, what kinds of expenses are allowed, and the possible tax benefits. This will help families make smart financial choices and get the most out of their tax refunds.

What is the Child Care Expenses Deduction?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Deduction as a tax benefit to help taxpayers pay for child care while they work. The IRS sets certain requirements that filers must meet to be able to take this deduction. These are –

Person Eligible: The child or dependent who was cared for must meet certain requirements, such as being younger than 13 or unable to take care of themselves.

Work Related Purpose: The care must be needed so that the taxpayer (and partner, if filing jointly) can work, look for work, or go to school full-time.

Earned Income Requirement: The taxpayer (and partner, if filing jointly) must have earned income, like salary, wages, or income from self-employment.

Who Can Claim Child Care Expenses on Taxes in Canada?

The Child Care Expenses deduction is offered to taxpayers in Canada who have to pay for child care while working, going to school, or running a business. Most of the time, the discount can be claimed by:

Parents: Biological, adoptive, or foster parents who pay for child care for kids younger than 16 (or younger than 18 if the kid has a physical or mental disability).

Legal Guardians: People who are legally responsible for a child and pay for child care.

Primary caregivers: These are the people primarily responsible for caring and raising the child and paying for child care.

Rules and Requirements for Claiming Child Care Expenses Canada

To claim childcare costs on your Canadian taxes, you must follow certain rules and standards set by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Most important things are listed below:

Eligible Childcare Providers

You can only deduct childcare costs paid to eligible providers. These are approved daycare centers, day nurseries, boarding schools, summer camps, and caregivers working in or outside the home to care for children.

Eligible Childcare Expenses

For childcare costs to be tax-deductible, the taxpayer must have to pay them to work, run a business, go to school, or do study. Fees for day camps, private schools, child care, and related transportation costs may be eligible.

Eligible Child

The child you are claiming the costs for must be younger than 16 at the start of the tax year, or younger than 18 if they have a physical or mental disability.

Documentation Requirements

Taxpayers must keep records and other proof to back up their claim for childcare costs. In these papers, you should write down the name of the caretaker, their business or social insurance number, and the total amount paid for child care.

Income Requirements

To be able to claim childcare costs, both parents (if there are more than one) must have made money, been receiving the Universal Child Care Benefit, or been enrolled in school.

Types of Expenses 

There are three kinds of expenses for childcare costs. These are narrated below – 

Daycare Expenses

One of the most popular types of childcare costs that taxpayers claim is daycare costs. This group includes payments made to approved preschools, daycares, and other places that watch and care for kids while their parents are at work. Usually, the fees that the daycare or facility charges for caring for, supervising, and teaching the child are eligible costs.

Babysitting Expenses

Babysitting costs are paid to individual babysitters working in or around the taxpayer’s home to watch their children. This group includes payments made to babysitters, maids, or family members who are not claimed as dependents on the taxpayer’s tax return. To be eligible, the babysitter can’t be the taxpayer’s partner or a dependent of the taxpayer, and the care must allow the taxpayer to work or go to school.

After-School Program Expenses

There are costs associated with after-school programs that pay for events and care for kids after school. Tutoring, sports, arts and crafts, and other planned activities are sometimes part of these programs so kids can have fun while their parents work. 

How Much Can You Claim?

There are different amounts that people in Canada can claim for child care costs, depending on their income, the type of care their child got, and their child’s age. In general, taxpayers can claim a certain amount for each qualified child.

As of 2022, the most you can claim for childcare costs is $8,000 for each child under 7 years old, $5,000 for each child 7 to 16 years old, and $11,000 for each child who is qualified for the Disability Tax Credit. These limits could change, so it’s important to get the most up-to-date information from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or a tax expert.

Claiming Child Care Expenses When Separated or Divorced

When parents in Canada are separated or divorced, it can be harder to get their child care costs reimbursed because they may not agree on who should have custody of the kid. Usually, only one parent can claim child care costs on their tax return. This is usually the parent who lives with the child the most and pays the most for babysitting.

However, the CRA lets parents switch who claims childcare costs if they share or have shared custody. In this case, the parents can agree to take turns claiming the benefit each year or divide the costs evenly based on how much time the child spends with each parent. Talking to a family lawyer or tax expert can help you figure out how to handle these complicated situations. 

What are the Benefits of Claiming Child Care Expenses on Taxes 2024

In 2024, qualified Canadian taxpayers can get many benefits from deducting child care costs.

For starters, claiming these costs can lower your taxable income, which could mean a lower total tax bill. This could help families who are having a hard time paying for child care.

Second, taxpayers who claim childcare costs may be eligible for tax credits or deductions, such as the Child Care Tax Credit or the Child Care Expenses Deduction, which can even lower their tax bill.

Taxpayers can also better control their household budgets by claiming childcare costs. This is because they may get refunds or credits from the government to help pay for some of the childcare costs.


In conclusion, Canadian families can get much money back on their taxes by deducting child care costs. Since childcare costs are still a big issue for many families, people need to take advantage of all available tax deductions and credits. It helps families better handle their money and use their resources, which protects the health and stability of their homes.


Can I Claim Child Care Expenses Without Claiming the Child?

No, in Canada you can’t claim child care costs on your taxes unless you can claim the child as a dependent. You can’t write off the cost of child care for a child who isn’t your dependent on your taxes.

What Happens if I Don’t Claim Child Care Expenses?

If you are eligible to claim child care costs but choose not to, you could lose out on tax credits or benefits that could lower your tax bill. If you don’t claim these costs, you might pay more in taxes than you need to.

When are Child Care Expenses Paid?

Usually, child care costs are spread out over the year and paid for as they come up. Some of these costs could be paying daycares, babysitters, or other providers. To back up your claim when you file your taxes, it’s important to keep thorough records of these payments, such as receipts and bills. 

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