A change in marital status, such as a marriage, becoming common-law, separation, divorce or when a spouse dies, can directly impact your tax situation and the benefits you and others receive from the government such as the Canada Child Benefit, Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credits and Working Income Tax Benefits advance payments.

As a result, it is very important to let the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) know about any changes to keep your account up to date.

When to Advise the CRA of a Change in Marital Status

For tax purposes, aside from marriage and divorce, a change in marital status can also occur when you begin to live permanently with a common-law spouse, when you separate or if your spouse dies. In all cases, this will impact your tax status, and it is your obligation to advise the CRA.

How Soon?

You have until the end of the month following the month in which the change occurs to advise the CRA. For example, if you get married in June, you have until the end of July to notify the CRA.

The CRA will update your account and determine the impact of the changes on your benefits. It will also calculate your revised family net income based on your marital status change. Your benefits will be adjusted in the month following the month when your marital status changed.

In the case of a separation, the CRA considers a married / common-law couple to be legally separated for tax purposes after 90 days of living separate and apart. Once you have been separated for 90 days, the effective day of your separated status will be retroactive to the beginning of the separation.

How to Advise the CRA of a Change in Marital Status

Advise the CRA of a change in marital status by mail, by telephone or online.

  • If you choose to advise the CRA by mail, send in a letter stating your name and your Social Insurance Number, and detail the change in your status. You can also use form RC65 Change in Marital Status, which is useful but not mandatory.
  • Should you prefer to advise the CRA of the change by telephone, the number to call is 1-800-387-1193. You will need to provide your Social Insurance number and address. You should also have your latest tax return handy, as information on it will be required to confirm your identity.
  • If you want to notify the CRA online, use the CRA My Account portal. To do so, log in to your account and click on the Personal Information tab on the right side of the screen. From there, locate and click on the Change My Marital Status link. From there, you can make the necessary changes.

Please note that advising the CRA of your marital status change doesn’t change your status with other government branches or organizations. You contact them separately if required.

Key Takeaways

  • Once you have been “married” you are never able to file as “single” again.
  • You do not get to choose when you want to change your marital status.
  • If, for any reason you are legally married or common-law, but have failed to notify the CRA and receive a duplication of benefits, the CRA will notify you of the error, seek back the over-paid funds and charge interest on those funds back to the date the omission took place.