Took in youngster, can they claim deductions?

Question: One year ago my wife and I took in a 17-year-old (now 18) from an abusive household. We have no legal or familial connection with this young man except that we love him as one of our kids. We have a number of questions:

1. Can we claim him as a dependant or otherwise get a deduction?

2. When he goes to university, can we claim his tuition deduction (Education amount?) Can he transfer this to us since we are paying for university?

3. Is it beneficial to begin RRSP contributions for him, and can we deduct the contributions we make in his RRSP? – M.W.S. Newmarket ON


You and your wife are to be commended for doing this but unfortunately there is no dependant-related tax credit that applies in this type of situation. The “eligible dependant” tax credit only applies in cases where there is no spouse or partner.

As for the university costs, there is no joy there either. Although the rules do allow for the transfer of unused tuition and education amounts to a supporting person, the definition of supporting person is limited to spouse, common-law partner, parents, and grandparents.

As far as the RRSP is concerned, no one cept a spouse may contribute to another person’s RRSP. Contribution room is based on an individual’s earned income and that person must make the contribution.

Sorry I can’t offer you more, but that’s how the rules are set up. – G.P.