How are Child Benefits Changing?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

The Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), the national child benefit supplement (NCBS), and the universal child care benefit (UCCB) are all being replaced by the Canada child benefit (CCB). It is thought having just one credit based on income is the better way to go. This new CCB is effective July 1st, 2016 and the first payment will be paid out on July 20th.

The new CCB covers any child under the age of 18. For children under 6 years old you will receive $6,400 per child, and between 6 and 18 you will receive $5,400. If the child is disabled, then you get an addition $2,730.

Families with less than $30,000 in family net income will receive the maximum benefit. As adjusted family net income increases, the benefit is gradually reduced until it reaches zero. Most families will get something until family net income is over $100,000. CRA does have a benefit calculator on their website here.

What do you need to do after you apply?

If you are already getting the UCCB and CCTB, then you don’t have to do anything, you’re automatically enrolled in the CTB. Also, you don’t have to apply for the benefits and credits every year. But every year you must:

  • file your income tax and benefit return
    • to continue receiving the benefit and credit payments that you are entitled to, you have to file your income tax and benefit return on time every year, even if you have no income in the year. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to file a return every year.
  • keep your personal information up to date
    • to make sure you are getting the right amount of benefits and credits, you must keep your personal information updated with the CRA.
  • keep your supporting documents in case CRA asks for them
  • in the future, you might receive a letter from the CRA as part of the validation process, asking you to confirm your personal information.

This is a major change from what existed before the CTB. Many lower income families will benefit from the new amount. The biggest change is that this is now a tax-free amount, so it doesn’t get added to the lower income spouse’s income any more.

One other thing CRA is pushing is direct deposit, and online mail. Direct deposit is where your monthly payment gets put into your bank account rather than wait for a cheque and, perhaps, have that cheque get lost or stolen. Online mail is where your notices of assessment, benefit, and other correspondence from CRA are put into your My Account rather than send via post. CRA will send you an email (the only time ever CRA uses email) whenever your notice of assessment or benefit notices are posted to My Account.

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