A quick look at new family benefits announced by the prime minister

OTTAWA – A look at the family-friendly tax measures announced Thursday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Income splitting: A “family tax cut” will allow an eligible taxpayer to transfer up to $50,000 of income to his or her spouse for tax purposes in order to collect a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 a year. It applies to families with children under 18, effective in the 2014 tax year.

Bigger benefit: The universal child care benefit will be raised to $160 a month for each child under six, up from $100 now. A new benefit of $60 a month will apply to children between six and 17. The existing Child Tax Credit will be eliminated. Both are effective next Jan. 1.

Bigger deduction: The maximum child-care expense deduction will increase by $1,000 for each child as of the 2015 tax year. The maximum deduction will rise to $8,000 for each child under seven, to $5,000 for children age seven through 16 and to $11,000 for children who are eligible for the disability tax credit.

Cost: The government says the first two measures together will cost $3.1 billion in 2014-15 and $4.5 billion in 2015-16, while the child-care expense deduction carries an estimated cost of $15 million in 2014-15 and $65 million in 2015-16.