Kids play, but parents PAY!


The level of overall consumer price inflation may be benign in Alberta at the moment: only 1.0 per centincrease in prices overall. But don’t tell that to parents with children in sports. The prices of some of these extracurricular activities are straining the budgets of some Alberta households.

According to new survey work done for ATB Financial, slightly more than half of respondents (who have children old enough to be in extracurricular activities) agree that costs prevent them from registering their children in activities such as hockey, soccer, figure skating or swimming. The average amount respondents expect to spend this year for extracurricular activities is $808. That figure rises for teen-age children, where the average cost is $1,028 per year.

The benefits of having children involved in sports—both for health and social development reasons—are well documented and understood. In fact, the federal government has encouraged parents to register their children for such programs by offering the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit. It applies to expenses of up to $500 a year on activities for a child under 16.

However, a tax credit for expenses up to $500 amounts to a reduction in the parents’ tax bill of only about $80. Considering that total expenses can easily surpass $1,000 per year, that is less than a 10 per cent offset to the total cost. As well, it applies only to certain sports and activities, so some parents may not be able to claim the tax credit at all.

Todd Hirsch – Senior Economist, ATB Financial  October 11, 2012


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