Information for organizations providing prescribed programs of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity

Although the Canada Revenue Agency administers the children's arts amount, organizations are in the best position to determine if the programs they offer qualify as prescribed programs of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity for the purposes of the children's arts amount. This page has information that will help you determine whether the programs you offer meet the requirements for the children's arts amount, and will also help you calculate the amount of eligible expenses.

Note

A receipt does not guarantee the eligibility of a program.

Prescribed programs of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity

An eligible arts expense must be for the cost of registration or membership of an eligible child in a prescribed program of artistic activity. Generally, such a program must:

  • be ongoing (last at least eight consecutive weeks or, in the case of children's camps, five consecutive days);
  • be supervised;
  • be suitable for children; and
  • must meet at least one of the following:
    • it contributes to the development of creative skills or expertise in an artistic or cultural activity including:
      • literary arts
      • visual arts
      • performing arts
      • music
      • media
      • languages
      • customs
      • heritage;
    • it provides a substantial focus on wilderness and the natural environment;
    • it helps children develop and use particular intellectual skills;
    • it includes structured interaction among children where supervisors teach or help children develop interpersonal skills; or
    • it provides enrichment or tutoring in academic subjects.

Program duration of at least eight consecutive weeks
If the program operates weekly with one or more sessions per week, 90% or more of the activities in the program must include a significant amount of artistic activity.

Program duration of five or more consecutive days
If the program operates over a period of at least five consecutive days, more than 50% of the daily activities must include a significant amount of artistic activity.

Note

Programs that are part of a school curriculum are not eligible.

Calculating the amount of eligible arts expenses

To be eligible for the children's arts amount, expenses must be for a child who, at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid, is under 16 years of age, or is under 18 years of age and is eligible for the disability tax credit. The expenses must be for the cost of the child's registration or membership in a prescribed program of artistic activity.

Note

It is not an organization's responsibility to determine whether a child is eligible for the disability amount. If a parent tells an organization that a child is eligible for the disability amount, this should be accepted.

Registration and membership fees include the costs of administration, instruction, and the rental of facilities. If part of the fees paid by parents is for accommodation, travel, food, or beverages (for example, room and board at a music camp), this part must be subtracted from the total registration and membership fee paid to the organization.

Prorating of eligible amounts

Membership may be provided in an organization (including a club, association, or similar organization) offering activities to children. Providing all other requirements are met (that is, the program is ongoing, supervised, and suitable for children as described under Prescribed programs of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity), the full cost of a child's membership will be eligible for the children's arts amount if more than 50% of the activities offered to children by the organization include a significant amount of artistic activity.

Alternatively, the child may be registered in a program offered by a club, association, or similar organization that allows the participant to select from among various activities. The full cost of a child's registration will be eligible for the children's arts amount if (in addition to being ongoing, supervised, and suitable for children):

  • more than 50% of the activities offered to children include a significant amount of artistic activity; or
  • more than 50% of the available program time is devoted to activities that include a significant amount of artistic activity.

If the 50% tests are not met, a receipt can be issued for a prorated amount, which will represent the percentage of activities offered to children by the organization that include a significant amount of artistic activity, or the percentage of program time that is devoted to such activities.

Is the cost of uniforms eligible for the children's arts amount?

Part of a registration or membership fee may be for the cost of equipment or uniforms (for example, hats, shirts, or shoes) that are provided for participants to use in the program. At the end of the program, the equipment or the uniforms normally have little or no resale value, in which case the part of the registration or membership fee for their cost is included in the eligible fees for children's arts amount.

In other situations, in addition to paying registration or membership fees, parents will buy uniforms or equipment from third-party suppliers or through the organization offering the program. In these situations, the purchase price for the uniforms or equipment is not an eligible arts expense.

Issuing receipts

You should issue a receipt for income tax purposes representing the amount of eligible arts expenses paid in the calendar year. A receipt for amounts paid in 2015 should be issued for 2015 even if the activity takes place in 2016. A receipt should contain the following information:

  • organization's name and address
  • name of the eligible program or activity
  • amount received, date received, amount that is eligible for the children's arts amount (eligible fees)
  • full name of the payer
  • full name of the child, and the child's year of birth
  • authorized signature

Note

An authorized signature is not required for electronically generated receipts.

If the activity includes two distinct prescribed programs and one program is eligible for the children's arts amount and the other program is eligible for the children's fitness tax credit (lines 458 and 459), two receipts, or only one that clearly shows the amounts paid to the organization in respect of each distinct programs, should be issued.

Example

You operate a dance studio that also offers singing lessons. The dance program is eligible for the children's fitness tax credit and the singing program is eligible for the children's arts amount. Two receipts should be issued, one for each distinct program, or one receipt can be issued clearly showing the amount paid for each separate program.

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