Should I file for a dependent tax credit. My wife and I are separated, have three children, and share custody?

We shared custody and the children live with me 50% of the time.  I also pay a monthly child support payment.


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If you are required to pay child support for your dependants, you cannot make a claim for an Eligible Dependant Amount. The Eligible Dependant Amount Credit is available to "single parents" who have share or have custody of their children, and can only be claimed for one child. This credit was formerly known as Equivalent to Spouse.

You may be able to claim the amount for an eligible dependant if you met all of the following criteria at the same time during the tax year:

  • you did not live with a spouse or common-law partner;
  • you did not financially support or receive financial support from a spouse or common-law partner;
  • you supported a dependant who was one of the following; and
    • your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption; or
    • your child, grandchild, or sibling by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption and under 18 years of age. If the dependant was older than 18, they must have had an impairment in physical or mental functions.
  • your dependant lived with you in a home that you maintained (in most cases in Canada). You cannot claim this amount for someone who was only visiting you.

You can claim this amount for the full year, even if you met the eligibility criteria for only part of the year.

The amount for an eligible dependant cannot be split between two parents.

Once you claim this amount for a dependant, no one else is allowed to claim this amount for that dependant, or the amount for an infirm dependant for the same dependant.

You cannot make the claim if any of the following conditions apply, even if you meet all the eligibility requirements:

  • You’re claiming the spouse or common-law partner amount.
  • Someone else in your household is claiming this amount. Each household can claim this amount once per tax year, even if there were several dependants in the household.
  • You or someone else is claiming the spouse or common-law partner amount for the dependant; or
  • You made or received support payments for the dependant during the tax year, unless certain conditions are met.

If you were separated from your spouse or common-law partner during the tax year because of a breakdown in your relationship, or if you share custody of your dependant child with the child’s other parent:

  • If you made support payments for the dependant during the tax year, you can claim the amount for an eligible dependant only if you don’t claim the support payments you made to your spouse or common-law partner during the tax year on your return. You can choose whichever option is best for you.
  • You cannot claim the amount for an eligible dependant if you received support payments for the dependant.
  • If you and another parent share custody of the dependant, or if you both make support payments, only one of you can make the claim. If you and the other person(s) making support payments cannot agree on who will claim the amount, neither parent may claim the amount. In this case, if you’re claiming the dependant, do not include the support payments you made on your return (but do include support payments you received).
  • Only one parent can claim the amount for the child. You cannot split the amount with the other parent.



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