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New UCCB and Taxes

So the Harper Government introduced the much vaunted New and Improved UCCB  (universal child care benefit) this month so parents (with eligible children)  have been receiving payments, and from what I can tell of the parents I know it has been viewed as a positive thing. Mrs. C8j received the new payment and the back payments as well (conveniently paid just at the start of an election campaign (sorry that just slipped out)) for Young C8j, which was nice to see in the bank account.

Before you go blow all your new money on “penny whistles and moon pies”, remember this is a taxable benefit. The UCCB is taxable income, but, in the hands of the lower-income earner in the family. For the C8j family (which I think is the Tories target audience, surprisingly) it is not a bad thing, because Mrs. C8j’s income is less than mine, so the UCCB cheque will be a less taxed benefit, but those dual income families where both spouses have high paying jobs, are going to be paying the tax-man (more (depending on their income levels)) for their UCCB cheques.

UCCB and Taxes

Not Quite As Portrayed

I claim to be part of the Tory target audience since I also was able to take advantage of the Family Tax Cut as well (this one only works if your spouse makes much less than you do). It is kind of weird to think that I am one of their target audience, but bring on the tax breaks!!

Welcome back the Family Allowance Cheque, we have missed you so (yes this is how baby bonus cheques were handed out and clawed back).



CRA Child Disability Tax Credit (How To)

As a way of paying it forward for all the help the Blunt Bean Counter (BBC) gave me for setting up my son’s Disability Tax Credit for School Fees. I think the best place to start is a quick How To (or more of a How I, not sure your situation will work exactly like mine) setting up a CRA Child Disability Benefit (Disability Tax Credit ( DTC )) . This is the first important financial thing you must do if you have a disabled child. I will attempt to point to all the relevant parts of the CRA web site. You can call the CRA. February is a bad time to call, however. You can ask for clarification or help on how to do this.

Step One Does Your Child have a Recognized Disability ?

First thing is, if you have a child with a recognized disability. You must take advantage of all the help you can from the Government (at all levels).  We were quite lucky when our son was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum that the Psychologist at OCTC (Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre)  at CHEO (The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) filled out all our CRA forms for us (they even provided them).  We also worked with a social worker. There was a list of things for us to do, given we had a diagnosis.

At the time I was having a very hard time coming to grips with the diagnosis, so giving my brain something tangible to do, helped me, help our son. One day Mrs. C8j may write her perspectives on this. For me just having a list of things to do made it easier to cope (in some ways).

So to sum up, the first thing for this Disability Benefits. You must get a diagnosis from an accredited medical professional (for that disability).

What Does the CRA Say?

I will quote the CRA website on this just for clarity sake the CRA Child Disability benefit states:

Not all children with disabilities are eligible for the disability amount. To be eligible a child must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. An impairment is prolonged if it has lasted, or is assumed to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months

In a great many cases, a child’s disability is obvious, and there should be no issue with getting this disability benefit, however, in the case of the Autism Spectrum and other developmental disabilities, whether you get this benefit relies heavily on the documentation supplied by the diagnosing professional. The CRA can refuse your request for the Child Disability Benefit (Child Disability Tax Credit ( DTC )) if your documentation is not to their liking, so make sure the diagnosing professional has filled in the forms before (and knows what needs to be said in the documentation).

Next Step Time to Find a Medical Professional

Second you need to get the professional to fill in a T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate  for your child. If your Doctor or other professional says, “I have never done this before” or “I don’t have very good luck with these”, I would strongly suggest you find a Doctor or Hospital that does have experience with child disability benefit forms (CHEO in Ottawa, Sick Kids in Toronto, The Children’s Hospital in Montreal as a few examples). These folks know the correct phraseology needed to help you out. Nothing can be more frustrating than not getting benefits you deserve because of the writing shortcomings on a form.

You cannot claim the Child Disability Tax Credit (DTC) without a T2201. The Psychologist at OCTC knew the correct terms to use for our form, so our claim was accepted, for 10 years. When Rhys turned 15 we had to reapply for the Disability Benefit, to stay Disabled (in the eyes of the CRA). (Update: OK, so it was actually at age 10 that we had to reapply).

After you have the T2201 (disability tax credit form for child), you can now start applying for the Child Disability Benefits, by filling out RC66 – Canada Child Benefits Application Form. The form is relatively straight forward to fill in, and wasn’t hard for my wife and myself, but there was an added wrinkle suggested by the OCTC Social Worker.

Can I Get Back Credit for my Child Disability Tax Credit (DTC) ?

Can the disability tax credit be backdated? Since our son was diagnosed at age 3, we also applied to have the diagnosis and thus the benefit retroactive to my son’s birth. This means we actually applied to get the benefit ongoing, but also for the earlier 3 years of my son’s life. OCTC gave us a template letter to fill in asking for this, to be included with the T2201, and RC66 application forms (remember to send ORIGINALS, the CRA will ignore photocopied T2201 forms, as they state on their site, this is important).

The letter we included was quite simple. It was a simple statement of my son’s birth date, the fact that his diagnosis of Autism is a neurological disorder and that it was present at birth.

Time To Mail it Into the CRA

Once you have finally compiled all of this information, you then can mail it into the CRA for their approval. I usually sent these letters registered so if anything got lost, I would be able to trace it. You can also submit the forms using your My CRA account.

As I stated, there are no guarantees here, but as long as you have followed all of the steps and have a well written set of documents you should be OK (in our case the diagnosis was accepted, but I have heard of other cases where the diagnosis was not accepted).

Hope this helps those parents with disabled kids. While this may not be a complete list, it is what we went through with our son.

If your diagnosis is approved by the CRA the next step is to start looking for Medical and Disability related Tax implications, and asking the CRA for refunds. You can read about that in Child Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Application Letter (Template).

If your child is diagnosed, and they are in need of special schooling, you can also apply for the Education Costs to be treated as a Medical Expense. Here is a Template Letter to apply for that as well. All of this is also needed for when you apply for an RDSP.


Remember that if you get turned down, that does not mean NO, that means try again. Find out from the CRA what the problems were, and try to remedy those before you re-apply.


Here Comes the Summer (Big Spending List)

Summer of our Discontented Spending

Yes, Mrs. C8j suggested that I do a post about the upcoming summer and ask, “Are you ready for the summer?”, and when I ask it of course is asking, “Have you figured out how not to bankrupt yourself this coming summer?” ( Yes I realize it is supposed to be the Winter of our Discontent, I am taking poetic license)

What could be so expensive for the summer? If you don’t have kids, not as much, but some of this list still might fit into things that you might want to start thinking about now:

  1. How are you going to pay for camp this summer? If your kids are in Daycare then you are already half way there, but what if your kid wants to go to a sleepover camp? We are talking some large amounts of cash, for your kid to have an all expenses paid trip to the woods. I checked and one camp my kids went to, it’s about $700 per week at the camp. Not cheap, is it?
  2. What about around the house? Does your deck look like it’s about to fall over, or you are about to fall through that? How is that going to get paid for? How about the roof? If it’s older than 10 years old, better go check it, because you don’t want to wait too long for that. A roof could cost between $3000 and $12000 depending on your house size and who you hire (and whether you want it to last more than 2 years). Those windows that are allowing snow to blow into rooms might need replacing too.
  3. Hey, don’t just send the kids on vacation, let’s do a family vacation. How much is that all going to cost? Depends, but given that gas is now $1.20 a liter in Ottawa, don’t think driving somewhere is going to be that cheap. I have no guess on this one, any commenters wishing to chime in, feel free.
  4. How about the family car? Does it need new tires? How about a new transmission? Maybe a head gasket job? Maybe it’s time to retire the money pit and get a new one? Yes, that one is not going to be cheap.
  5. Maybe your kids are returning from University, and will descend upon you like a swarm of locusts, treating your house like a bed and breakfast (and complaining there is not enough food in it) (pure conjecture on my part). That is going to start costing you in food, electricity, Internet Fees, water and gas in your car.
  6. Planning on running your Air Conditioning this summer? Can you afford it now, especially in Ontario where rates vary by time of day (so running a power hog like your a/c during the day might be even more expensive than last year).
  7. You will need some more summer clothing for the kids (because most municipalities frown on your kids walking around in the nude), and maybe after packing on 15 pounds this winter, you might need some new clothes too?
  8. You know a good place to get out of the heat in the summer is the mall, whoops, impulse shopping trips sound expen$ive!
  9. You know there is nothing better than a bunch of cold beverages on the deck (hopefully after I fix it), but that stuff isn’t cheap either. Adding more beverages to your grocery bill can kick up your spending a surprising amount.

As you can see by no means is this an exhaustive list of the expenses that may come up this summer, however, if you don’t plan for them now, it could make for a nasty fall (paying off your summer).

Are there any Summer Expenses I have missed? This list is by no means any kind of reflection of where I might be spending money this summer (yeh… right!).


Pensions and Disabled Children


The Government announced a clarification in their last budget. The update explained how it would be possible for the estate of a deceased parent to transfer the contents of their RRSP to their disabled child’s RDSP tax-free. This strikes me as an eminently sensible idea. It helps families with disabled children save for the day when Mum and Dad aren’t around anymore. It can give the parents a little more peace of mind about the future of their disabled child.

I read about an exciting change to the pension system offered to employees at the University of Waterloo. The change outlines a New cash-out rule in the pension plan. The University was stopping employees from being able to withdraw their funds if they took early retirement. They must then leave the funds in the pension plan. The exciting idea, anybody wishes to comment on that, please go ahead.

The more interesting point was the exception that they added:

….However, this option will continued to be available after January 1, 2014 to members who retire between ages 55 and 65 and at the time of retirement have a child who is eligible for the impairment credit under the Income Tax Act. …

So if you have a disabled child and wish to take out the commuted part of your pension money and plan on putting it into a LIRA or RRSP with the idea of then being able to take that money and leave it to your disabled child (tax-free), this exception remains.

A fascinating idea, I am open to anyone who wishes to comment yea or nay about this specific idea or about the Government’s changes to the ability of parents to pass money tax-free to their disabled children.

I am also curious to see whether this kind of idea for private pension plans may come into play more, or even more interestingly, an ability to transfer some part of a pension from a deceased parent to a disabled child, the same way it is done for the spouse of a deceased Pension member. I don’t think that is likely, but it would be an interesting scenario to see, in my opinion.

My pension does have in its survivor a benefit for children. I believe if the child is disabled, this benefit may continue on, it is 25% of the monthly Pension Payout. Something I must look into further.

A Disabled child Haiku

Much worrying now
Will there be enough for them?
When I am not there?

  • The RDSP Page is the Overview of all articles I have written about the RDSP (including DTC and other areas).
    • RDSP : Laying the Ground Work (first things first)
      What needs to be done BEFORE you can apply for a Registered Disability Savings Plan? A major aspect of this is the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), make sure you click on this page to get started.
    • RDSP : Working with The Account
      Now that you have succeeded in getting your Disability Tax Credit (DTC) you need to open an RDSP account with a bank or such, but how is that done? It is not as easy as you might think. This page outlines many of the issues that have arisen for my family working with an RDSP account.
    • Disability Tax Related Topics
      Thanks for my RDSP and DTC work I then had to learn a great deal about the tax implications of having a disabled child.
    • Autism Specific Articles
      Being the proud Father of a child on the Autism Spectrum I also ended up writing a great deal about Autism specific things as well.


More tax reminders

I have struck through the no longer valid tips, just so you can see what used to be tax deductible.

Transit Pass Credit

Remember if you take the bus (or your kids do), you can use the Public Transit Tax Credit. Remember if your kids use a bus pass the following as well:

Yes, you can claim the tax credit for public transit passes on behalf of your spouse, common law partner, and your children under the age of 19, to the extent that these amounts have not already been claimed.

So the expense is transferable as well, useful to know that one.


Having a child in University means I can claim her tuition on my taxes, which is not a bad thing. Since this is the first year for me with this, it is important to get all the forms done right, so please read over the web page and such and make sure the student involved fills in all the forms to allow for the transfer of these credits to you. I am still muddling through this one and will keep you posted on my progress. 

The maximum tuition, education, and textbook amount transferred from a child (or fromeach child), is $5,000 minus the amounts that he or she uses, even if there is still an unclaimed part. Tuition, education, and textbook amounts that the student carried forward from a previous year cannot be transferred.

So $5000 max per child is another important point to remember. This is where the High Price of University comes back to help you a little.

Charitable Donations

Now is the time to rummage through your papers to find ALL the receipts that you so carefully stored away when they arrived (yes I am being sarcastic, about myself, I may one day take a picture of my home “work space” to show you just how cluttered and disorganized it is). Each one of these receipts is money back in your pocket, so make sure you find them all. 

I have a cross-reference method, since I use Quicken, I check in Quicken for my Charitable expenses and then go and hunt down the receipt (or send the charity a note asking for a duplicate).

Also make sure this is a valid charity, you can go on the CRA site to see which charities have had their Charity designations revoked.

Manual or Computer?

This is an interesting question I ask folks and sometimes get an interesting answer. I have been using various computer software to do my taxes ever since it was possible (I have a Math degree, not an Arithmetic degree), but I do know that Michael James on Money enjoys doing his taxes manually using forms and pencil.

Does anybody else use pencil and paper still? Do you use a service to make up  your taxes, and if so why? My taxes this year are going to be confusing, but still not complicated enough that I would pay to have someone else do it, but that may change in the future.


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