First of all, let’s talk about the changes to current taxes for families.
For 2015, the child tax credit and the child tax benefit have been removed and as a measure to offset some of th e tax impact, the federal government has increased the Universal Child Care Benefit, to be renamed the Canada Child Benefit in July 2016 and will include the child disability benefit, national child benefit supplement and other provincial programs) but that payment is still taxable to you.
For 2014 and prior years, the child tax credit was a non-refundable tax credit of $2,255 for each child under the age of 18 for whom you would have received a credit of 15 per cent towards your federal tax.
That would have worked out to $338.25 for each child and looking at that credit in monthly terms, it would have been about $28 per month.
The Universal Child Care Benefit was a payment of $100 per month for each child under 6, or $1,200 per year and was taxable.
There was also a non taxable benefit paid to families with children between the ages of seven and 18 and calculated based on a family net income threshold that needed to be less than $44,701.
The basic non-taxable benefit was approx $123 per month.
For 2015 and future years, the non-taxable child tax benefit and the non-refundable child tax credit have been removed and the UCCB for children under six increased to $160 per month ($1,920 per year to a maximum of $6,400 per child) and a benefit of $60 per month ($720 per year to a maximum $5,400 per child) was added for children between the ages of seven to 18.
The benefits will be phased out when the adjusted net family income exceeds $30,000.
These amounts will be taxable, so, as a family, you will need to work that into your tax planning for future years.
The family tax cut stays in place for the 2015 tax year and allows tax splitting where one spouse’s income is greater than another spouse.
In our unequal tax system, spouses with children will pay less tax if they each have the same taxable income than when spouses’ incomes are different.
To attach some numbers to that statement, if both spouses make $40,000 a year ($80,000 combined) they will pay less tax overall than where one spouse makes $50,000 and the other spouse makes $30,000—even though combined their income is still $80,000.
The tax credit reduces the tax payable by the higher earning spouse and is limited to an amount of $2,000.
For 2016 and future years, the federal government has eliminated this family tax cut so there is no more income splitting for families with children.
It has also eliminated the children’s fitness and arts tax credits.
For 2015, the children’s fitness tax credit was changed from being a non-refundable tax credit to being refundable.