This may sound like a strange question to some, but to others it may press on them often – what is my official marital status as far as the Canadian government is concerned?
A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married.
A common-law partner is a person who is not your spouse but with whom you are living in a conjugal relationship, and to whom at least one of the following situations applies. Your partner:
(i) has been living with you in a conjugal relationship, and this relationship has lasted at least twelve continuous months;
(ii) is the parent of your child by birth or adoption; or
(iii) has custody and control of your child (or had custody and control immediately before the child turned 19 years of age) and your child is wholly dependent on that person for support.
You are “separated” when you start living separate and apart from your spouse or common-law partner because of a breakdown in the relationship for a period of at least 90 days and you have not reconciled.
If you continue to reside in the same household and continue to share parenting and financial responsibilities, CRA will not consider a separation to have occurred for the purposes of the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) or the GST/HST credit legislation. An exception to this may occur when separate living quarters are self-contained in the same household.
Where there is a marital status change, CRA will recalculate your benefits based on the number of children you have and their ages, your province or territory of residence, and your revised family net income based on your marital status change. Your benefits will be adjusted the month following the month in which your marital status changed.
CCTB: If you or your new spouse or common-law partner have children who are residing with you, CRA will move all the children to the female parent’s account. If you are married or living common-law with a person of the same sex, one of you will receive the CCTB for all of the children.
To receive the CCTB, you and your spouse or common-law partner have to file a tax return every year, even if you have no income to report.
GST/HST CREDIT: If you did not apply for the GST/HST credit on your tax return and your status is now separated, widowed or divorced, you can apply now.
Action Item: Contact us as soon as there is a change in your marital status as there are numerous current and future tax implications, such as changes to your Canada Child Tax Benefits and GST/HST Credits!