The federal government introduced the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit in 2006. The program aims to promote physical fitness among children. The CFTC allows parents to claim eligible expenses paid for their children’s enrolment in prescribed programs of physical activities. For the 2016 tax year, parents can claim up to $500 in sports and fitness activity fees per child under the age of 16. Families with a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit can claim an additional $500 provided a minimum of $100 is paid for eligible fees.
The Canada Revenue Agency accepts a variety of sports and activities as being eligible for the CFTC. Hockey, golf lessons, horseback riding, sailing, swimming, dance lessons, bowling are just a small sampling of what is recognised as approved physical activity.
To qualify for the credit, programs are required to meet the following criteria:
- they must be ongoing for at least 8 weeks with a minimum of one session per week (5 consecutive days in the case of children’s camps);
- they must be supervised;
- they must be suited for children; and
- they must involve a significant amount of physical activity that contributes not only to cardio-respiratory fitness, but also muscular strength, flexibility, muscular endurance and balance.
Any activities or sports involving motorised vehicles, like dirt biking, are not accepted. Neither are programs that are self-directed or are classified as sports-academic programs. Activities that are part of a school’s regular program also do not qualify. However, if you are charged a fee for your child’s extra-curricular programs which take place in school, they may qualify.
Effective 2017, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and its sister program the Children’s Arts Tax Credit will no longer be available. The 2016 Federal Budget eliminated this $500 credit, along with the $250 Children’s Arts Tax Credit. If you paid any expenses that qualify for the CFTC or the CATC in 2016, be sure to take the necessary steps to claim them.
To learn more about the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, or other related programs like the Child Care Expenses that can help you and your family, contact GB Pilley & Associates Ltd., Chartered Professional Accountants at 604 926 3522.