New Children’s Art Tax Credit Available to Parents


By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar

If you’re on the fence about enrolling your child into an art class or an art camp, a newly announced tax credit this week, might help with your decision.

Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea announced a new children’s arts tax credit this week, a new non-refundable credit announced in the 2011 federal budget.

“Parents whose children participate in paid artistic, cultural, recreational, and developmental programs will now enjoy the same benefit as parents whose children participate in paid programs of physical activity. Our Government believes whether a child is inspired by Heather Moyse, Jim Carrey, or Great Big Sea, parents should receive a tax credit to help pay for the programs that will help their children live out those dreams,” said Minister Shea.

In addition to fitness programs covered by the children’s fitness tax credit, parents can now claim money spent on programs that focus on fine arts, music, performing arts, outdoor wilderness training, learning a language, studying a culture, tutoring, and more. When parents claim the children’s arts tax credit—up to a maximum of $500 of the cost of programs—they save as much as $75 at tax time per child claimed.

The non-refundable tax credit is based on eligible expenses paid for the cost of registration or membership in various artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activities. So if you’re child plays an instrument and takes hockey you can claim both the arts and fitness credits and for families with two or more children, that amount can add up!

 The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is renowned for its high standard of art programs for children.

 “When the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre launches this fall it will offer many courses that qualify for this tax break,” says Antonietta Mirabelli, AGO’s Deputy Director of Communications.  “The arts is equally important to the development of our future leaders. In a world of so many options for children these days, incentives like this put the arts in the foreground for families contemplating options for enrichment.” 

Mirabelli adds that activities eligible for the tax credit at the AGO are those that contribute to the development of creative skills or expertise in artistic or cultural activities. Programs at the AGO that contribute to creative skills or expertise involve a child’s ability to improve dexterity or coordination, or acquire and apply knowledge in the pursuit of artistic or cultural activity. Artistic and cultural activities include literary arts, visual arts, performing arts, music, media, languages, customs and heritage.

Here’s some more info:

What is the Children’s Art Tax Credit (CATC)?

For 2011 and subsequent years, the budget proposes a new non-refundable tax credit based on eligible expenses paid for the cost of registration or membership of your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity (eligible program).

How much can I claim for each of my children?

The CATC will let you claim eligible expenses of up to $500 per year for each of your children who are:

  • Under 16 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid; or
  • Under 18 years of age at the beginning of the year in which the expenses are paid if the child is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Also, if at least $100 in eligible expenses has been paid for a child eligible for the disability tax credit, an additional amount of $500 can be claimed for that child.

How is the credit calculated?

The CATC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate (15% in 2011) by the eligible amount for each child.

To find out if your child’s program is eligible for the children’s arts tax credit, go to

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