Differences Between Marriage and Common-Law Relationship

Differences Between Marriage and Common-Law Relationship

Do you understand the distinctions between marriage and common-law relationships? Knowing how the Canada Revenue Agency categorizes your relationship and how it affects your taxes is helpful.


The Definition of Marriage

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would consider you a married person if you were legally married before or during the year you file your taxes. As a result, you are required to provide a variety of details when completing your return, such as the name of your spouse, their net income, and their employment status. Additionally, you are required to indicate whether or not you are eligible for certain benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit.


The Definition of a Common-Law Relationship

Let’s say you’ve been living with your partner for more than a year. If you and the other person have a child together, whether they are related to you by blood or adoption, or if you have primary custody of a child under 18, the CRA will consider you to be in a common-law relationship.


By December 31 of the year in which you file, you must have completed the 12-month period of cohabitation. For the purposes of income taxation, Canadian law treats couples of the same sex and couples of the opposite sex equally.

Knowing Your Marital Status

The CRA requires you to disclose your marital status to receive the appropriate benefits.

For instance, the female partner in a marriage or common-law partnership typically receives the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). If you are married to someone of the same gender or in a common-law partnership, you can choose the recipient.

In order to prevent false claims, the CRA may occasionally require you to provide proof of your marital status. This is done to prevent abuse of the system when benefits like the CCB are distributed.

The Benefits of Marriage or Common-Law Relationships

Splitting your pension income with your spouse can help you save money on taxes if you are a senior citizen. By moving into a lower tax bracket and sharing your pension income with your wife, you can lower your tax bill.


For instance, if you transfer $5,000 of your income to your spouse, who is in a lower tax bracket than you are, this could also bring you down to a lower tax bracket, allowing you to save a significant amount on taxes that you are required to pay.

Changes in Marital Status

If your marital status has changed, the CRA wants you to update your records as soon as possible. You have to do this by the end of the month you got married.

For instance, the CRA must be informed by July 31 if you were married on June 8.


You can make this change by updating your CRA My Account online or by filling out and sending in the form RC65, Change in Marital Status, by mail. The CRA recognizes a separation as living apart from your partner for more than 90 days for reasons of a breakdown in your relationship. You can also follow this same procedure for separations.


For couples who continue to live together, the CRA does not recognize separations. While in Canada, you can also check to see if you can change your visa status.




  1. Awwwwn marriage

    1. Marriage of the same sex,

  2. Its lovely

  3. Interesting
    But what is the meaning of CCB

  4. AbdulAfeez Abidemi Tajudeen

    Yawa no dey finish

  5. Impressive nice one

  6. Very interesting

  7. Impressed 👍 😁

  8. Interesting


    Hmmmmm… I think this is fair

  10. Interesting

  11. This was helpful

  12. Everyone should read this

  13. Good for all

  14. Very interesting and impressive

  15. Hmmm what a differences

  16. Interesting

  17. I really love this

  18. Very lovely and helpful

  19. Valentine Chukwuemerie


  20. Valentine Chukwuemerie


  21. I love this country

  22. Love this post

  23. Great information

  24. Nice article

  25. I approved it

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