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Marriage Breakdown? Who Claims the Tax Credits?

Posted: August 08, 2017 VIA: Knowledge Bureau
Posted in: Strategic Thinking

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and Goods and Services/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit (GSTC) are both calculated based on net family income from the prior tax year.

When a family breakdown occurs, CRA should be immediately notified so that the calculation of the credits for the next CCB or GSTC payment may be made without including the estranged spouse or common-law partner’s net income. Do so no later than the month following your change in marital status if you become divorced. (However, if you become separated, the separation is not recognized if you reconcile within 90 days, so do not notify CRA until the 90 days have elapsed.)

In the case of joint custody, each parent has the right to receive half the amounts due for these benefits; otherwise, the government assumes that the eligible CCB recipient is the female parent.

If after the breakdown of a conjugal relationship the single parent and child return to live with the child’s grandparents, the single parent will still be presumed to be the supporting individual unless he or she is under 18 years old. In that case, the grandparents may claim the Canada Child Benefit for both their child and grandchild. For more information about these credits, visit the CCB and the GSTC pages.

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