Are You Married in the Eyes of the CRA?

Does “it’s complicated” describe the status of your relationship? If you’re living with your better half, but haven’t made it official, you might be wondering how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) 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. We’ve pulled together a few scenarios that can help you figure out your relationship status in the eyes of the CRA.

You’re living together

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

You’re living together, but have separate bank accounts

The CRA doesn’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

You put a ring on it! If you were joined in a civil or religious ceremony in Canada, or even 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 ever be considered “single” on your tax return ever again. 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’re required to be separated for 90 days before you’re considered officially apart and can file as single again.

You were married, then separated, and are now in a new relationship

When filing your taxes, it’s possible to be separated from someone else but common-law with your new partner. If you’ve moved on and are in a new relationship, the same common-law rules apply: you’d need to be living with your new partner for 12 months or share children.


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

Whether you walked down the aisle, made it to city hall, or even started over this year, make sure that you notify the CRA by submitting a RC65 Form change of marital status.

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