CCTB: application and eligibility

  1. What is the Canada child tax benefit?
  2. What is the national child benefit?
  3. What is meant by "adjusted family income"?
  4. Can I get the Canada child tax benefit?
  5. What is meant by "primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child"?
  6. Should I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
  7. When should I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
  8. How do I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
  9. Where do I send my Canada child tax benefits application?
  10. Do I have to file an income tax return if I have no income to report?
  11. When am I entitled to receive CCTB payments?
  12. Has my application been processed?
  13. How do I apply for the provincial/territorial benefits?
  14. I am the legal guardian or tutor (Québec) of a child for whom I receive financial assistance for the child’s maintenance. Am I entitled to get the CCTB or any other child related benefits and credits?

1. What is the Canada child tax benefit?
The Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) is a non-taxable amount paid monthly to help eligible families with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.

The CCTB may include the child disability benefit (CDB), a monthly benefit providing financial assistance for qualified families caring for children with severe and prolonged mental or physical impairments.

Also included with the CCTB is the national child benefit supplement (NCBS), a monthly benefit for low-income families with children. The NCBS is the Government of Canada's contribution to the national child benefit, a joint initiative of federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and First Nations.

2. What is the national child benefit?
The national child benefit (NCB) is a joint initiative of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and First Nations. This initiative:

  • helps prevent and reduce the depth of child poverty;
  • ensures that families will always be better off as a result of parents working; and
  • reduces overlap and duplication of government programs and services.

3. What is meant by "adjusted family net income"?
Family net income is one of the factors used in the calculation of your CCTB entitlement. Family net income is your net income at Line 236 of the tax return. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, their net income from their tax return is added to your net income to determine your family net income.

In order to maximize the benefits payable to low and modest income earners, the family net income is "adjusted" to exclude the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and registered disability savings plan (RDSP) you receive. However, any UCCB and RDSP amounts you have to repay will be included as part of your adjusted family net income.

4. Can I get the Canada child tax benefit?
To be eligible, you must meet all the following conditions:

  • you must live with the child, and the child must be under the age of 18;
  • you must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child;
  • you must be a resident of Canada; and
  • you or your spouse or common-law partner must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a protected person, or a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month.

NOTE:
If the child does not live with you all the time, see, shared custody

5. What is meant by "primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child"?
Primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child means that you are responsible for such things as supervising the child’s daily activities and needs, making sure the child’s medical needs are met, and arranging for child care when necessary. If there is a female parent who lives with the child, we usually consider her to be this person. However, if the male parent is primarily responsible, he must attach to Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application, a signed note from the female parent that states he is primarily responsible for all of the children in the household.

NOTE: You may not be considered primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of a child if the child is legally, physically or financially maintained by a child welfare agency. For more information, go to the children's special allowances (CSA) fact sheet or call 1-800-387-1193.

6. Should I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
The person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child should apply for the CCTB.

You should apply even if:

  • Your child only lives with you part of the time, see shared custody.
  • Your child is living with you for a temporary period of time, for example over the summer holidays.
  • Your current adjusted family net income is too high. We recalculate your entitlement every July based on your adjusted family net income for the previous year.

NOTE:

A temporary change in care must be for more than 14 days and has to include the first day of any month and the last day of the previous month.

A temporary shared custody situation must be for a period of at least two months and the child lives with each individual on a more or less equal basis.

7. When should I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
Generally, you should apply for the CCTB as soon aspossible after

  • your child is born
  • a child starts to live with you; or
  • you and your spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility conditions, see question #4.

You should not delay applying as your application is considered late if it includes a period that started more than 11 months ago. If your application is late, you must attach clear photocopies (including both sides of all pages) of the following documents for the entire period:

  • proof of citizenship status (for example, a Canadian birth certificate) or immigration status in Canada for you and your spouse or common-law partner, if you have one;
  • proof that you resided in Canada, such as a lease agreement, rent receipts, utility bills or bank statements;
  • proof of birth for each child; and
  • proof that you were the person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child(ren).

8. How do I apply for the Canada child tax benefit?
If you are the parent of a newborn, living in a participating province, you may now apply for the CCTB using the Automated Benefits Application (ABA) service. You will find all the information you need to use the ABA service in the provincial/territorial birth registration package provided by your province or territory.

If you do not live in a participating province, complete Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application or apply online on My Account by using the Apply for child benefits service.

If you have provided your consent to use the ABA service on the provincial/territorial birth registration form, you must not re-apply online or complete an RC66 for the child. Re-applying may result in a delay in processing your ABA application and issuing payments.

If you and your spouse or common-law partner were residents of Canada for any part of 2011, you must both file a 2011 return before we can calculate your benefit. To continue getting the CCTB, you both have to file a return every year, even if you have no income to report.

There are certain situations where you may be required to complete additional forms or provide extra documentation with your application.

a) If any of the following applies to you, you will also have to complete the schedule RC66SCH, Status in Canada/Statement of Income.

  • You and/or your spouse or common-law partner are not Canadian citizens.
  • You and/or your spouse or common-law partner have become new Canadian citizens within the last 12 months.
  • You and/or your spouse or common-law partner have become residents of Canada within the last two years.
  • You and/or your spouse or common-law partner have moved back to Canada and re-established residential ties.

b) If your spouse or common-law partner is a non-resident of Canada during any part of the year, you must complete Form CTB9, Canada Child Tax Benefit - Statement of Income for each year or part of a year he or she is a non-resident of Canada.

c) In cases of separation or divorce, both parents may share more or less equally in the care and upbringing of a child. If each parent wants to receive the CCTB, attach a note to the application that clearly states your shared parenting arrangement. If you have questions, call 1-800-387-1193.

d) You will have to provide proof of birth with your application if we have not previously paid benefits for this child and:

  • Your child is born outside of Canada.
  • Your child is born in Canada but is more than a year old.

Once we receive your application, we may ask you to provide supporting documents to prove that you are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child, such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • a signed statement from a nursery or school authority confirming the child's home address and guardian on record;
  • a signed statement from a person in a position of authority (such as a doctor, lawyer or social worker);
  • a registration form or a receipt from an activity or club the child was enrolled in for the period you indicated; or
  • a court order, decree or separation agreement.

You do not have to provide these documents with your application. However, if you choose to do so, we may contact you only if we need more information or when the review is complete.

NOTE: We will calculate your GST/HST credit using the number of children you have registered for the credit. If you have applied for the CCTB for your child, he or she is already registered for the GST/HST credit. For more information, see the GST/HST credit pamphlet.

9. Where do I send my Canada child tax benefit application?
Your application must be mailed to the tax centre that serves your area. Please refer to the Tax Centres page to find out the mailing address of the tax centre that serves your area. You can also choose to apply electronically at the Apply for child benefits online service on My Account.

10. Do I have to file an income tax return if I have no income to report?
Yes. You and your spouse or common-law partner have to file income tax returns reporting that you have no income, so that we can correctly calculate your entitlement to the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB). You have to do this each year to ensure that your CCTB payments continue.

11. When am I entitled to receive CCTB payments?
You are entitled to receive the CCTB for a particular month if you are an eligible individual at the end of the preceding month and continue to be so into the beginning of that particular month. CCTB payments begin the month after a person becomes an eligible individual.

12. Has my application been processed?
You can expect to hear from us within 80 calendar days after we receive your application. If your application is not complete, we will ask for the missing information. This will delay the processing of your application.

After we process your application, we will send you a Canada child tax benefit notice. It will tell how much you will get, if any, and what information we used to calculate the amount.

We may review your application at a later date to confirm that the information you gave us has not changed.

13. How do I apply for the provincial/terriorial benefits?
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers the Alberta family employment tax credit, the BC family bonus, the New Brunswick child tax benefit, the Newfoundland and Labrador child benefit, the Northwest Territories child benefit, the Nova Scotia child benefit, the Nunavut child benefit, the Ontario child benefit, and the Yukon child benefit.

There is no need to apply separately to qualify under these programs. The CRA will use the information from your Canada child benefits application to determine your eligibility for these programs. If you are eligible, the amount of any payments will be calculated automatically based on information from the income tax returns you and your spouse or common-law partner file.

14. I am the legal guardian or tutor (Québec) of a child for whom I receive financial assistance for the child’s maintenance.  Am I entitled to get the CCTB or any other child‑related benefits and credits?
Effective January 2012, guardians or tutors of children are no longer entitled to the CCTB or any other child‑related benefits and credits the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers if they are paid by a government department, an agency, or a similar institution to maintain a child who has been placed in their permanent or temporary custody under a decree, order, or judgment. For more information, read the Children's special allowances (CSA) fact sheet or call
1-800-387-1193.