Who can you claim as a dependent?

Who can you claim as a dependent?

April 14, 2020

Dependents are people who rely on other people, especially family members, for financial support. CRA defines dependent similarly, but this varies for each tax credit. Claiming dependents on your tax return can save you some tax dollars! Read below to see who can qualify as an eligible dependent.

Who can you claim as an Eligible Dependent?

Eligible dependents can claim up to $12,000In single-parent families, the eligible dependent amount doesn’t just apply to children. Eligible dependent credits are up to $12,000 or even more if they qualify for Canada Caregiver amounts.

To claim the eligible dependant credit, you must be single, legally or common-law, or at least not living with or supported by them. Also, you had to support the dependent by maintaining a home where they lived with you. Visiting doesn’t count.


By blood, marriage, adoption, or common-law partnership, the dependent must be your parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister or brother of they are under 18. If they are over 18, they must be physically or mentally impaired.

Canada Caregiver Amount – Filing tax as a dependent

Dependents as caregivers may claim the Canada Caregiver Amount

If you maintained a home for an elderly or disabled relative over 18, you may claim the Canada Caregiver Amount. The definition here for dependent is different.

Filing tax as a dependent means this person must be dependent on you

because of physical or mental impairment. They could be your child, grandchild, sister, brother, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, parent, or grandparent.

A signed statement from a medical practitioner about the impairment may be required. Being dependent for children means they need more assistance and care compared to other children. If you already have an approved Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, you won’t need more documentation.

You can’t split this with anyone else. Once you make the caregiver claim for someone over 18 years of age, no one else can claim it. If you both could make a claim, like in shared child custody, but can’t agree who does, CRA will not allow either of you to claim.

Medical Expenses for Dependents

Dependents may be able to claim certain medical expensesYou claim your own medical expenses, your spouse’s, and your minor children’s, but other dependent’s medical expenses might be eligible, too. Check Line 331 for relatives, including you or your spouse’s adult children, parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, or nieces. If you support them, you claim their medical expenses. They don’t need to be physically or mentally impaired to be filing tax as a dependent on your return.

There are situations when you can’t claim the amount for an eligible dependent. Check the CRA website.

These credits all have additional eligibility requirements, which is automatically checked through CloudTax. You can’t claim some together. Some can’t split between spouses. There are income caps on all of them. CloudTax guides you through to take the guesswork out of who you can claim as a dependent.

Nimalan Balachandran is the Founder & CEO of CloudTax, an income tax filing platform, certified by the Canada Revenue Agency, that allows simple tax filers to file their taxes from home. He was a former employee at the Canada Revenue Agency, and has been in the tax preparation industry for over 10 years. His goal was to bring his passion for technology and assisting Canadians in minimizing their taxes together, by building new software that allows Canadian residents to file simple taxes on their own. Along with his background in accounting, finance, artificial intelligence & business strategy from Seneca College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nimalan has also worked as a Financial Advisor at Sun Life Financials. Nimalan also co-founded a not-for-profit organization, ATI Foundation, serving individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area.


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