Preparing individual and spousal tax returns

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) both you and your spouse or common-law partner are required to file your own tax return. With that being said, you do have the option to prepare your returns separately or together (as a coupled return).

Note: Once you’ve decided to file your return a certain way (either as a coupled or uncoupled return), you won’t be able to change this selection in H&R Block’s tax software. Instead, you would both have to start new returns.


Why should I prepare my tax return with my spouse?

Generally speaking, it’s in your best interests to file your and your partner’s returns together. Doing so allows you to maximize your tax savings while minimizing the amount of taxes you might owe. H&R Block’s tax software makes filing a coupled return simple by calculating the best way to apply all of the following types of credits between both returns:

  • Age amount
  • Disability amounts
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) amounts
  • Charitable donations
  • Medical expenses
  • Education amounts
  • Lifelong learning plan amounts
  • Dependant amounts
  • Pension income amount*
  • First-time home buyers’ credit
  • Provincial tax credits

* You can only split pension income if you and your partner are filing a coupled return.

Preparing your returns together is also much easier. When preparing separate returns, you’ll still need to enter information from your spouse’s return into yours and vice versa. This not only increases the amount of time you’ll each spend completing your returns, it might also lead to an increased number of data entry errors.

Only in very rare situations is it advisable to prepare your returns separately. For example, if you and your spouse live in different provinces, or if your spouse doesn’t live in Canada you would need to complete separate returns.