John Manuel


Common law tax filing

"We're not married.  We want to file single."


Well ... maybe not ... read on.


On the information page of your return, there are six categories of 'marital status' :


1. Married   2. Living common-law   3. Widowed   4. Divorced   5. Separated   6. Single.


The second of these, living common-law would apply to you if you are single, separated or divorced, and living with a common-law partner.   You are considered common-law for tax purposes once you have had a child together, or have lived together for more than one year (whichever happens first).  


Ontario Family Law creates certain rights and obligations after three years; but for tax purposes, one year is the rule.


As a common-law partner, you may not claim an 'eligible dependant' deduction for one of your children, and you are not permitted to both claim GST/HST/Trillium benefits.


Sorry ... I don't make the rules.