Claiming the adoption expenses tax credit

Federal tax credit for adoption expenses

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Did you know, as a parent, you can claim a tax credit for your adoption expenses? ​To help families with the cost of adopting a child, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) lets you claim expenses you paid to adopt a child under 18 years of age.

For 2016, the maximum claimable amount for each child is $15,453. You can split this amount in any way with your spouse or common-law partner on your returns, provided the total is not more than the maximum claimable amount for the year.

To qualify for this tax credit, the expenses you paid must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Fees you paid to a licensed adoption agency*
  • Legal fees, court costs, and administrative expenses related to the adoption order
  • Reasonable and necessary travel and living expenses for you, your spouse or common-law partner, and for the child
  • Document translation fees
  • Mandatory fees paid to a foreign institution
  • Expenses paid for the child's immigration and
  • Other reasonable expenses related to the adoption required by a provincial or territorial government or an adoption agency

In addition, the adoption expenses must have been paid during the adoption period and can only be claimed in the tax year in which the adoption period ends. Keep in mind that an adoption period can be longer than one tax year.

*These fees can include any of the following and can vary from one agency to another:

  • Administration fees
  • Home study fees
  • Fixed agency fees
  • Professional services for adoptive parents (including counseling and education preparation for the adoption of a child)
  • Investigative expenses (for example, criminal background checks) 

Note: You can’t claim any expenses that you paid after the end of the adoption period nor for which you received a reimbursement or financial assistance.


Can I split these expenses with my spouse or common-law partner? 

If you’re a resident of Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, or Ontario, you and the other adoptive parent can choose to split the claim for adoption expenses as long as the combined amount isn’t more than the maximum that would be claimed if one person were claiming the expenses.


Provincial tax credit for adoption expenses (except Québec)

If you’re a resident of one of the following provinces, you can also claim a provincial credit for adoption expenses:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Ontario
  • Yukon

 Note: To claim the provincial amount, you must meet the requirements for claiming the federal adoption expenses in the section above.

Click here for more information on the provincial and territorial adoption tax credits.


Québec tax credit for adoption expenses

If you were a Québec resident on December 31, you can claim $20,000 per child in adoption expenses as long as:

  • You received an adoption judgment in 2016 from a Québec court (or an adoption judgement that received legal recognition in Québec in 2016), that establishes a relationship between you and/or your spouse and the child or

  • You received a certificate of compliance with the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption in 2016

You can claim your adoption expenses on the TP-1029.8.63-V: Tax credit for adoption expenses form. Remember, only the adoption expenses you paid for after an adoption file was opened by the Minister of Health and Social Services or an agency certified by the Minister, are claimable.


Where do I claim this?

Before you begin, make sure that you have told us about the dependants, for whom you will be claiming the adoption expenses.

  1. Click the name of your dependant on the left-hand navigation panel.

  2. Select the checkbox for Adoption expenses.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Continue.

  4. When you arrive at the page for Adoption expenses, enter your information into the tax software.