What’s your marital status in the eyes of the CRA and Revenu Québec?

May 17, 2021

Are you living with your better half, but haven’t made it official? Are you married, but recently stopped living with your spouse? You might be wondering how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Revenu Québec views your relationship with your partner. Claiming your relationship properly on your taxes is important because it affects which tax benefits and credits you’ll both be eligible for. Here are a few scenarios that can help you figure out your marital status in the eyes of the CRA and Revenu Québec.

You’re living together.

If you’ve lived together for 12 months in a row, you’re considered common-law for tax purposes. If you have children together, you’re considered common-law as soon as you start living together. Common-law couples are treated the same way as married couples by the CRA and Revenu Québec.

You’re living together, but have separate bank accounts.

The CRA and Revenu Québec don’t review your financial accounts, so you’re still considered common-law as long as you’ve been living together for 12 months or have children together.

You’re married.

If you were joined in a civil or religious ceremony in Canada, or even if you tied the knot in a different country, you’re both considered married for tax purposes. If your spouse happens to live in another country, you should still report that you’re married on your return.

You were married, but have recently separated.

In the eyes of the CRA, once you’re married, you won’t be considered “single” on your tax return again. Depending on your situation, you’ll file from now on as separated or widowed.

You were living common-law, but have recently separated.

If you were in a common-law relationship, you must be separated for at least 90 days before you’re considered officially apart and can file as single again. If you and your common-law partner got back together within 90 days, there are no tax implications that you need to worry about.

You were married, then separated, and now you’re in a new relationship.

When filing your taxes, it’s possible to be separated from someone else while also being common-law with your new partner. If you’re in a new relationship, the same rules apply: you’d need to be living with your new partner for 12 months or share children to be considered common-law.

You’re widowed.

If you lost your spouse (married or common-law) in the past year, you should report your status as widowed.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult. Filing your taxes (and those of your deceased spouse) is the last thing on your mind. We’re here to help. For more information on what to do if your spouse passed away this year, visit our Help Centre.

What should I do if my marital status changes?

The most important thing is to make sure you notify the CRA and Revenu Québec. Keeping your marital status up to date lets you maximize the benefits you’re entitled to. It also prevents any incorrect claims from being made which could result in you having to give money back to the CRA and Revenu Québec. Check out this blog to learn how to update your marital status and for more information on how being married or in a common-law relationship might affect your tax situation.

Ready to file? Get help from the largest network of reliable Tax Experts by choosing one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.

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