Children’s fitness credit

This refundable credit, will be of interest to you if you have children under the age of 16 at the beginning of the year (or under the age of 18 years if the child is disabled).

You may claim a tax credit of up to $500 for eligible fitness expenses paid for each of your eligible children for the 2016 tax years.27 The expenses can be paid by you, your spouse or common-law partner with respect to the children of either of you.

To qualify for the tax credit a program must be

  • ongoing (either a minimum of eight weeks duration with a minimum of one session per week or, in the case of children’s camps, five consecutive days);
  • supervised;
  • suitable for children; and
  • substantially all of the activities must include a significant amount of physical activity that contributes to cardio-respiratory endurance plus one or more of muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility or balance.

Example: In July 2016, you sent your 10-year-old son to an away- from-home hockey camp for children. The all-inclusive registration fee is $1,100 for the two-week camp. This fee includes $400 for accommodation and $250 for meals. The portion of the fee that qualifies for the children’s fitness tax credit is $450 ($1,100 – $400 – $250).

Memberships and mixed-use facilities can also qualify for the credit provided either more than 50% of the programs are eligible or more than 50% of available time is devoted to eligible programs for qualifying children. If neither of these tests is met, a receipt can be issued for a pro-rated amount. The portion of a family membership can also qualify if it’s attributable to a qualifying child’s participation in an eligible program or activity.

Tax tip: You should either receive, or ask for, a receipt from organizations providing eligible programs of physical activity in which your child is enrolled. The organizations are supposed to determine the part of the fee that qualifies for the tax credit. It’s also important to note that the year in which the tax credit can be claimed is determined by the date when the fees are paid, not when the activity takes place.

As noted above, if the child qualifies for the disability tax credit, the fitness credit can be claimed as long as the child is under 18 years of age at the beginning of the year. There is also an additional $500 amount for such children (subject to spending a minimum of $100 on registration fees for an eligible program).

The 2016 federal budget has eliminated this credit for 2017 and subsequent taxation years.

27 Maximum credit was $500 prior to the 2014 taxation year.