8. I am eligible to obtain a “child allowance”, but I was divorced 2 years ago. Can I claim the “single parent allowance”?
With reference to section 32 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, a taxpayer is eligible to claim the single parent allowance if he/she was single throughout the year of assessment and had at any time during that year the sole or predominant care (provide the daily care and supervision on on-going basis for the child) of a child in respect of whom he/she is granted child allowance. In other words:
- Throughout the year of the claim the claimant must be single, divorced, or widowed, or living apart from the spouse. Therefore, no allowance can be claimed for the year of marriage, divorce, death of spouse or separation with the spouse. The earliest opportunity will be the year following these events.
- The claimant is granted child allowance for the year of the claim. (Please note that partial child allowance may be granted when both parents have contributed money towards the child's maintenance and education. Under the law the Commissioner is empowered, in case of dispute, to split the allowance according to the amount of contribution made by each parent during the year of assessment concerned.)
Whilst the child allowance is granted on account of financial contributions to maintenance and education; the single parent allowance is granted on account of time spent on the provision of daily care and supervision.
The law also specifies that no parent can claim the single parent allowance on the grounds that he/she had made contributions to the maintenance and education of the child during the year of assessment. Moreover, no allowance is permitted in respect of any second or subsequent child.
The single parent allowance for the year of assessment 2015/16 and onwards is $120,000.