You can claim any person that depends on you for financial or physical support. The definition of a dependant can change according to different circumstances and tax credits being claimed and can be broad.
If you want to know whether your loved one can be considered a dependant, contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Common examples of dependants are:
- Children or grandchildren – either biological, adopted or stepchildren – under the age of 18 at the end of the year
- Children 18 years of age and older – either biological, adopted or stepchildren– who have an impairment (or infirmity) in physical or mental functions
- A spouse who has an impairment (or infirmity) in physical or mental functions
- A parent or grandparent aged 65 or older, by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption
- Brothers and sisters through birth, adoption, marriage or common-law partnerships
- Adult relatives age 18 or older with an impairment in physical or mental functions; this could be parents or grandparents, brothers or sisters – or brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law – aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews
You should consider a person as your dependant in the following situations:
- If there is a tuition transfer from your child or grandchild. The student can be over 18 and does not need to live with you.
- If there is an infirm amount transfer from your child or grandchild. The child does not need to live with you.
Important: Claiming a person as a dependant does not mean they don't file their own income tax return. Everyone who earns income needs to file a personal tax return, even when someone else (for example, a parent or grandparent) claims them as a dependant. Even if the dependant has no income, they are still eligible for certain credits, such as GST/HST or other federal or provincial credits.
Learn more about who are considered dependants.
See a full list of articles offering Helpful Tax Information About Dependant-Related Expenses.