Marital status

Questions and Answers

  1. Definitions
  2. How does a marital status change affect my benefits?
  3. When should I advise the CRA of my marital status change?
  4. How do I advise the CRA of my marital status change?
  5. Direct Deposit
  6. Why does the CRA validate marital status?
  7. Where can I get more information?

1. Definitions

Spouse

This applies only to a person to whom you are legally married.

Common-law partner

This applies to a person who is not your spouse, with whom you are living in a conjugal relationship, and to whom at least one of the following situations applies. He or she:

  • has been living with you in a conjugal relationship, and this current relationship has lasted at least 12 continuous months;
  • is the parent of your child by birth or adoption; or
  • 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.

Note: In this definition, 12 continuous months includes any period you were separated for less than 90 days because of a breakdown in the relationship.

Separated

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. A separation of less than 90 days is not considered a separation for the purpose of Child and family benefits. Once you have been separated for 90 days, the effective day of your separated status is the day you started living separate and apart.

If you continue to live in the same household and continue to share parenting and financial responsibilities, we will not consider a separation to have occurred for the purpose of administering the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) or goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit legislation.

2. How does a marital status change affect my benefits?

We 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, we 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 the children. To continue receiving the CCTB, you have to file a tax return every year, even if you have not received income in the year. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, they also have to file a tax return each year.

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 by writing a letter to your tax centre or by calling us at 1-800-959-1953. Once we review your request, we will send you a GST/HST credit notice advising you of the amount of your GST/HST credit.

WITB Advance Payments: If your marital status has changed, you will need to file a new WITB Advance Payment application. If you do not file a new WITB Advance Payment application, your WITB advance payments will be stopped until a new application is received. The application deadline date is August 31st.

3. When should I advise the CRA of my marital status change?

If your marital status changes you must notify us by the end of the month following the month in which your status changed. For example, if your marital status changed in August 2012, you must notify the CRA by no later than September 30, 2012. However, if you have become separated, do not notify us until you have been separated for more than 90 consecutive days.

4. How do I advise the CRA of my marital status change?

If your marital status has changed, you must inform the CRA of your new status and the date of the change. You can do this by using “Change my marital status” on My Account or by calling 1-800-387-1193.

You may also complete and send form RC65, Marital Status Change or provide the information by sending a letter to the tax centre that serves your area. Be sure your letter includes the date (day, month and year) of the marital status change, your name and social insurance number, along with your spouse or common-law partner’s name and social insurance number (if applicable).

5. Direct deposit

If you receive your benefits by direct deposit, you may want to review your banking information to prevent your benefits from being deposited into the wrong bank account.

If you do not currently receive your benefits by direct deposit, you may want to consider registering. It's fast, reliable, and secure.

6. Why does the CRA validate your marital status?

The validation process is designed to maintain the integrity of child and family benefits and credits programs. The CRA may validate your marital status to ensure you are receiving the benefits and credits that you are entitled to. If your marital status is reported incorrectly, it may affect the calculation of your child and family benefits.

7. Where can I get more information?

You can call our CCTB enquiries line at 1-800-387-1193 or our GST/HST credit enquiries line at 1-800-959-1953.

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