The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a deal with bridal consultants across the country: the CRA won’t give advice on whether you should choose the strapless princess ball gown in tulle or the sweetheart mermaid gown in lace, and bridal consultants won’t try to explain the contribution limits of a spousal RRSP. Whether you’re about to marry or are now enjoying your sweet new life as a newlywed, the CRA has some valuable tips to help you through tax time.
The CRA does know you should not say “I do” to participating in the underground economy. If you’re still planning your wedding, you may think you’re getting a deal by paying cash and avoiding taxes for such things as flowers or catering, but it can leave you with no proof of payment or recourse, should a vendor not fulfil their obligations. Not to mention, if you are caught evading taxes, you may face fines, penalties or potential jail time.
Under-the-table deals undermine the integrity of Canada’s tax system. They deprive the Government of funds for vital programs that benefit all Canadians, and they provide unscrupulous contractors with an unfair, illegal advantage over those who follow Canada’s tax laws.
If you’ve now officially tied the knot – and updated your 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, submit Form RC65, Marital Status Change, which can be found online at cra.gc.ca/forms, or call 1-800-959-8281.
The CRA has reserved a portion of its website for life events like marriage and the changes to your tax situation they can cause. Head to the CRA’s life events page for more detailed information.
Together at last
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, reporting rental income, or accounting for expenses related to the business use of your home. To get the complete information for homeowners, go to cra.gc.ca/myhome.
And if you’re now opening a joint bank account, don’t forget to update your direct deposit information to make sure your benefits and refunds go to the right place. 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 info, go to cra.gc.ca/directdeposit.
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 submit Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative.
Dates to remember
The ‘big day’ that your personal income tax return is due is April 30, 2015. If either you or your new spouse is self-employed, the deadline is June 15. However, if you’re self-employed and have a balance owing for 2014, you still have to pay it on or before April 30.
Now that you’re married, there are so many more important dates to remember… anniversaries, birthdays, date nights… you get the idea. The CRA can’t help remember those, but it can provide you with friendly reminders of tax deadlines, if you own a small or medium-sized business. With the new CRA Business Tax Reminders app, available free for Apple iOS, Google Android and Blackberry, you won’t miss an important date again. The app allows you to create reminders and alerts for key CRA due dates, such as instalment payments, returns, remittances and other tax-related business matters, so you won’t get burned by penalties and interest.
This year, you can also file online using NETFILE as early as February 9, 2015. The CRA has a list of certified software packages on their site, including some that are free. To find out more, go to netfile.gc.ca.
For the latest CRA news or tax tips, follow the CRA on Twitter: @CanRevAgency