Your marital status indicates whether you’re single, married, divorced, separated, widowed, or in a common-law relationship. Your marital status on December 31 determines how you prepare your taxes for the year (individually or with your spouse or common-law partner) and the benefits to which you’re entitled.
Note: If your marital status changed during the year, you must inform the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Revenu Québec, as applicable. Your marital status affects your benefits and by keeping your marital status up to date with the appropriate agency, you can maximize your benefits that you’re entitled to (such as GST/HST credit, working income tax benefit (WITB), and Canada child benefit). It could also prevent any improper benefit claims that might result in your having to give money back to the CRA or to Revenu Québec.
Marital status - definitions
The following definitions will help you select your marital status in H&R Block’s tax software.
- You’re single if you’ve never been married and none of the other options listed below apply.
- You’re married if you’re legally married, whether your spouse is of the same or opposite sex.
Note: You’re still married if you were living apart for reasons other than a breakdown of your relationship.
- You’re common-law if you're living in a conjugal relationship with someone to whom you're not legally married. Additionally, one of these situations has to apply to the person you're in a relationship with:
- He or she has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months (this can include any periods you were separated for less than 90 days because of a breakdown in your relationship)
- He or she is the parent of your child (by birth or by adoption)
- He or she has custody and control of your child (or had custody and control immediately before your child turned 19) and your child is dependent on that person for support.
- You’re divorced if you finalized the divorce process and haven't remarried or established a common-law relationship.
- You’re separated if you've lived apart from your spouse or common-law partner for a period of 90 days or more because of a breakdown of your relationship and you haven’t reconciled. If you've separated, don't notify the CRA until the separation lasts for more than 90 consecutive days. Periods of separation that are less than 90 consecutive days don't change your marital status for the CRA’s purposes. Click this link for more information.
- You’re widowed if your spouse or common-law partner has died and you haven't remarried or established a common-law relationship.
Note: Once you’ve indicated your marital status* on the Your family page of H&R Block’s tax software, you won’t be able to change your selection, even if it was made accidentally. For example, if you initially indicated that you were single on December 31, 2016 but then learned that since you moved in with your significant other in June, the CRA considers you to be in a common-law relationship for tax purposes. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to change your selection; you’ll need to start a new return.
*If you indicated that your marital status was single, separated, divorced, or widowed, you won’t be able to change it once you’ve completed the GET STARTED section of your return. If you indicated that your marital status was married or common-law relationship, you won’t be able to change it once you complete the Preparing your returns page.
Where can I learn more?
- Marital status - Questions and Answers (CRA website)
- Marital status (CRA website)
- Change in conjugal status (Retraite Québec website)