28 Feb Article for Publishing – Newlyweds & Taxes
Tying the knot shouldn’t be taxing
You’ve finally made it to your big day! Whether in Las Vegas for a drive-through ceremony or at Whistler Mountain for a snow-capped dream wedding, you’ve said “I do!” Now that you’ve tossed the bouquet, there are some important things the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants you to know.
Update your information with the CRA
After posting the video from the altar (caption: Breaking news: officially off the market!), don’t forget to let the CRA know about your new marital status. Although the CRA doesn’t accept name changes via snap, you can update your marital status online using the CRA’s My Account service at cra.gc.ca/myaccount. You can also use the MyCRA or the MyBenefits CRA mobile app at cra.gc.ca/mobilesapps, file Form RC65, Marital Status Change (which you can find online at cra.gc.ca/forms), or call 1-800-959-8281.
On your wedding day, you may have had your something old and something blue, but now it’s definitely time for something new! If you’re opening a joint account at a financial institution with your spouse, don’t forget to update your direct deposit information to make sure your benefits and refunds (cha-ching) go to the right place. If you’re not already using direct deposit, you should both start now. If you do your taxes online and sign up for direct deposit, you may get your tax refund in as little as eight business days! For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.
Bring on the white picket fence
Now that you’ve walked down the aisle, you’re ready to make another grand entrance—this time into your new home. If you’ve bought a home together or are moving into a new place, let the CRA guide you through changing your address, claiming the first-time home buyers’ tax credit, applying for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) housing rebate, and so much more. To get all the information for homeowners, go to cra.gc.ca/myhome.
The CRA has information on its website about life events like marriage and the changes to your tax situation they can cause. Check out the CRA’s life events page for more detailed information.
Hoping to start a family?
Now that the big day is over, you might be thinking of expanding your family. When starting a family (or adding to it), make sure you apply for child and family benefits when your little one arrives. The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a monthly, tax-free payment for eligible families with children under the age of 18. The CRA uses information from your tax return to calculate how much your CCB payment, which includes related provincial and territorial program amounts, will be. And now that you’re married, you have to share some things—like your GST/HST credit. Only one of you can receive the credit, which may include related provincial and territorial benefits, and it will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. For more information on benefits and credits you may be eligible to receive, go to cra.gc.ca/benefits. To get the benefit and credits you and your new spouse are eligible for, you must each file a return every year.
Taxes not your strong suit? You can always authorize your new spouse to act as your representative for income tax matters. That means they can file your return for you and contact the CRA to make enquiries for you. Use the Authorize my representative online option in My Account or complete and file Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative. For more information on how to register, go to cra.gc.ca/myaccount.
Completing your tax return
The big day for most Canadians to file their return is April 30. Since that date is a Sunday this year, the CRA will consider your return as filed on time and your payment to be made if the CRA receives your submission no later than May 1 or the submission is postmarked by that date. Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until June 15 to file their return. But if those people have a balance owing to the CRA, the balance is due no later than May 1.
This year, you can file your income tax and benefit return online as early as February 20. Last year, more than 84% of individuals filed their returns online. To file your return online, you have to prepare it using certified, tax preparation software or a web application. The CRA has a list of certified products on its website, including some that are free. To find out more, go to cra.gc.ca/netfile.
You regularly go online to see your wedding pictures, to check your gift registry (keep the presents rolling in!), and to plan for your tropical honeymoon. You can also deal with many of your tax and benefit matters online by using My Account, available at cra.gc.ca/myaccount. Track your refund, change your address, view your notice of assessment, and much more, all with a few clicks of a mouse. For a newlywed on the go, the MyCRA mobile app lets you access key parts of your tax information wherever you are, from your mobile device. And you can keep track of any benefit and credit payments with the MyBenefits CRA mobile app. Find out what other online services are available at cra.gc.ca/electronicservices.
Just as upsetting as wedding crashers at your reception are phishing and other fraudulent scams that could lead to identity or financial theft. So, be extra cautious as tax season approaches. Remember, the CRA will never ask for personal or financial information of any kind by email or text message, threaten you, or ask for payments by prepaid credit card. Go to cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention for examples of current scams and for information on how to detect and avoid them. To help protect you, the CRA has introduced account alerts, a fraud prevention service. When you sign up through My Account or MyCRA, the CRA will notify you by email if your direct deposit information or your address is changed, or if mail sent to you by the CRA is returned.
No matter how enticing the proposal, don’t say yes to participating in the underground economy when planning for your perfect day. You may think you are getting a deal by paying cash and avoiding taxes for such things as flowers, catering, or even your dream venue, but it can leave you with no proof of payment or recourse, should a goods or services provider not fulfill their obligations. Not to mention, if you are caught evading taxes, you could face fines and penalties. You want to enjoy your honeymoon with no worries!
Congratulations on your wedding, and many happy (income tax and benefit) returns!
Don’t miss the latest CRA news and tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter @CanRevAgency.