Child Fitness Tax Credt

05/11/2009 22:30

Canadians to get tax credits for kids' sports

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian parents can offset the cost of their children's' dance, judo or sports lessons against their annual tax bill under new rules unveiled on Tuesday, as the finance ministry joins the battle to keep Canadians slim.

"This measure will help parents offset some of the costs associated with these activities and start children down the road to a lifetime of healthy, active living," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement announcing the new rules.

Under the plan, parents can claim up to C$500 ($430) in tax credits for each child under 16 who participates in eligible fitness activities. The measure will take effect on January 1.

Obesity is rising among children in Canada, as in many other countries, raising concerns about increased rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart trouble, factors that also threaten to further stretch Canada's already overloaded public healthcare system.

The Conservative government initially announced the measure in its spring budget, but released detailed guidelines on Tuesday. Eligible programs must run for eight weeks, with one session a week, or for five consecutive days of summer camp.


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