Legislation For The Canada Child Benefit (“CCB”)

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Legislation For The Canada Child Benefit (“CCB”)

People, when experiencing separation or divorce, often feel overwhelmed with any number of things. These include changes in their lives, concerns over division of assets or debts, child custody and more. Many people forget about Canada Child Benefit programs. This government benefit needs inclusion when planning life after separation or divorce. The family law lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary understand the legal implications of these benefits. We help parents navigate moving forward while protecting their, and their children’s interests.

What Is The Canada Child Benefit?

The CCB is a government program that provides low- and middle-income families with tax-free funds each month to help with the cost of raising children.  The CCB payment is to the parent who is “primarily responsible” for the care of the children. To get the CCB, you have to file your return every year, even if you did not have income in the year. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to file a return every year. The government allots the benefit payments  over a 12-month period from July of one year to June of the next year.

How Much Is The Canada Child Benefit Each Year Per Family?

The amount families receive under this program varies. For example, in the 2019/2020 tax year, the average family would receive approximately $7000.00. No guarantee exists of the programs continuation nor the amount received as a benefit.

Can I Claim The CCB If Not married?

Some laws still differentiate between marriage and common law relationships. The legislation for this program treats both types of relationships the same. Therefore both married and common law couples enjoy the Canada Child Benefit. The key element requires establishing whom the Primarily Responsible parent is.

Defining “Primarily Responsible” In Intact Families

Under tax law, the primarily responsible parent is deemed to be the female parent when a male and female parent live together in the same household.  The female partner therefore receives the Canada Child Benefit unless the female party notifies the tax authorities otherwise.

Our family law Courts currently define shared parenting differently than our Tax Courts, and therefore differently that the Canadian Revenue Agency.

In accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, shared custody/parenting is defined as both parties whom enjoy more than 40% of parenting time with the children.  This is different than the definition used by CRA and the Tax Court.  The Tax Court has defined shared custody/parenting as “more or less equal.”  Practically this has meant that despite meeting the definition of a shared custodial parent under the Federal Child Support Guidelines, as having more than 40% of the time with the Children, they would not meet the definition used by CRA and would be denied the CCB.

Legislative Changes To Legal Parental Role Inconsistencies

The Federal Government recently introduced draft legislation that retroactively, back to 2011, changes the definition of shared custody. It makes it more consistent with the Federal Child Support Guidelines. For example, that the children must reside with each parent no less than 40% of the time.

Sharing CCB When Children Live With One Parent Most Of The Time Post-Separation

For parents who are separated or divorced the rules that determine whether each parent can collect CCB payments depends on whether the parents have shared custody. Sometimes parenting custody is an amicable decision. Other times the courts determine what is in a child’s best interest to determine custody. The parent that has the children the majority of the time may claim 100% of the CCB.  They do not have to split them with their ex-partner.

Canada Child Benefit Splitting With Shared Parenting Post-Separation

Under the new proposed Income Tax Act legislation, a parent is considered to be a shared-custody parent if the child lives with each parent at least 40% of the time in a month or on an “equal or approximate equal basis’ and primarily fulfills the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child when residing with the child. In these cases of shares parenting, each parent would be eligible to receive 50% of the CCB.

What The Benefit Means For You

If you have received CCB credits, or if you should have received credits and did not, you may ask CRA to review benefits already paid.  We recommend always seeking tax advice from an experienced tax advisor to ensure you are receiving the CCB if you entitled to it. this also ensures that you are not receiving it in error.  CRA can request those benefits be paid back if paid in error.  It is always prudent to obtain legal and tax advice before making any benefit claims.

Lawyers To Help With Canada Child Benefit Division Or Issues

Understanding your legal position allows you the ability to ensure good decisions in moving forward with life after separation and divorce. Make sure that you receive the benefits legally appointed to you. Book a consult with one of the Family Law Lawyers at Kahane Law Office today to discuss how the above may apply to your situation. Feel free to connect with us in our Calgary office at 403-225-8810 (toll-free at 1-877-225-8817), or email us directly here.