Here comes the bride, all dressed in white! You’ve picked the venue, said yes to the dress, and chosen red velvet cake; you’re ready to ride off into the sunset of married life. But before you add Just Married stickers and tin cans to the getaway vehicle (who can resist tradition?), there are some important things the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants to bring to your attention.
Now that you’ve updated your marital status on Facebook (so long, single!) and splashed pictures of your nuptials all over Twitter and Instagram (#justmarried #heputaringonit #bigweddinghairdontcare), don’t forget to let the CRA know about your trending marital status. While the CRA doesn’t accept name changes via hashtag, you can update your status on the CRA’s My Account service, complete and submit Form RC65, Marital Status Change (which you can find online at www.cra.gc.ca/forms), or call 1-800-959-8281.
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.
Once you’re back from your honeymoon and have written all the thank-you cards, your life as a married couple can really begin. If you’ve bought a home together or are moving into a new place, let the CRA guide you through an address change, claiming the first-time home buyers’ tax credit, applying for the GST/HST housing rebate, reporting rental income, or accounting for expenses related to the business use of your home. To get complete information for homeowners, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myhome.
If you’re now opening a joint bank account with your new spouse, don’t forget to update your direct deposit information to make sure your benefits and refunds go to the right place. And if you’re not already using direct deposit, you should both start now. If you file your taxes online and sign up for direct deposit, you may receive your tax refund in as little as eight business days! For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.
Now that the big day is over, you might be thinking of expanding your family. Whenever you decide to start a family (or add to it), make sure you apply for child and family benefits when your little one arrives. 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, and it will be paid to the person whose return is assessed first. For more information on benefits and credits you may be eligible for, go to www.cra.gc.ca/benefits.
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 or contact the CRA to make enquiries on your behalf. Use the “Authorize my representative” online service in My Account or complete and submit Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative. For more information on how to register, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount.
Don’t say “I do” to participating in the underground economy. 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 fulfil their obligations. Not to mention, if you are caught evading taxes, you may face fines, penalties, or potential jail time.
Save yourself the trouble. Under-the-table deals undermine the integrity of Canada’s tax system. They deprive Canadians of funds for vital programs that benefit everyone.
The ‘big day’ your personal income tax and benefit return is due is April 30, 2016. However, since this date is a Saturday, the CRA will consider your return as filed on time and your payment to be made on time if it receives your submission or it is postmarked by midnight on May 2, 2016. Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until June 15, 2016, to file their income tax and benefit returns, but any balance owing is still due no later than May 2, 2016.
This year, you can also file online as early as February 15, 2016. The CRA has a list of certified tax preparation software on their site, including some that are free. To find out more, go to www.cra.gc.ca/netfile.
Need access to your tax information on the go? With the MyCRA mobile app, you can securely access and view key portions of your tax and benefit information, such as your notice of assessment, tax return status, personalized benefit payment amounts and dates, and RRSP and TFSA contribution room from your mobile device. As of February 2016, you can update your contact information, register for direct deposit, manage your online mail, and more. MyCRA uses the same login information as My Account, so you only need to remember one password (bonus!). Bookmark the app on your mobile device to have your tax and benefit information available whenever and wherever you need it. To get the app, go to www.cra.gc.ca/mobileapps.
You have your something old, and something blue… all you’re missing is something new! Beginning this year, you can save time by using the CRA’s Auto-fill my return service, available through some certified tax preparation software. This secure service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use Auto-fill my return, you must complete your registration in full for My Account. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/auto-fill.
Congratulations on your wedding, and many happy (tax) returns!
Don’t miss the latest CRA news or tax tips—follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency