Line 303: Spouse or Common Law Partner Tax Credit Amount

by Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant on March 12, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post

If you were married or in a common law relationship during the 2011 tax year, you can claim the Spouse or Common Law Partner Amount if your spouses’ income was less than $10,527.

Any net income your spouse reported on Line 236 of their tax return will reduce the credit amount dollar-for-dollar and fully eliminates this credit when your spouses’ income exceeds $10,527.

Canadian Dividend Income

If you cannot claim this credit because your spouse had too much income, you may still be able to claim the credit if your spouse had dividend income from Canadian corporations. Simply report your spouses’ dividend income on your tax return. This lowers his or her net income  and may allow you to claim this credit.

Were You Separated From Your Spouse?

If can still claim the Spousal credit if you were married or common law at any time during the year. However, you reduce the credit by the amount of your spouses’ net income before the separation.

If you were paying spousal support (not child support) you have a choice to make. You can either the deduct spousal support you paid on Line 220 or the Spousal or Common Law Amount credit on Line 303.

Looking For Professional Help?

If you’re looking for advice or tax planning services, you can contact me directly through my professional tax practice.

About The Tax Guy...

Dean Paley CGA CFP is a Burlington accountant and financial planner who services individuals and business owners locally, nationally and internationally. Dean has appeared in the National Post, Toronto Star and Metro News.

To find out more, visit Dean's website Dean Paley CGA CFP or connect via Twitter @DeanPaleyCGACFP.

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no name March 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

we have lived together for 4 years and always claimed single. last just we had a child and i was going to claim common law for the first time. she has decided to go to school this year and wants to get osap. i make too much money for her to get it so she has decided she wants us to file single on our taxes so that she can claim as only having income from unemployment from last year which means she will more than likely be able to get the osap loan. is there any way to get caught? i think there is. i told her lying on a tax return to scam government money wont get her too far.. thanks

Tax Guy March 20, 2012 at 6:03 am

There is risk to everything. I can’t give you a probability.

Yowser March 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I recently got married in July, 2011. I advised my wife that I would still like to show my tax status as single. I am a pensioner and net tax. income is 20172.00
She made about the same. If we both showed single status, does this make a difference?

Tax Guy March 20, 2012 at 6:06 am

You must report each-other as married. I’m not sure of it affects GIS.

sandi March 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I am in a commom-law relationship ans we have 2 children. He is in the military(not the greatest pay but ok) and I am reserves but made under 10,000 last year. I am mostly a stay at home mom. My one son has a disability. I am not sure who has to claim who??? If you could help lead me to the best way for us to file our return and to our best advantage it would be appreciated. Thanks! :o)

Tax Guy March 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hi Sandi,
You’re best to have someone do the returns for you to ensure you get full access to benefits as well.

If your in Ontario, you can contact me directly.

Jason April 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I was married in May 2011…and my wife stopped workIng in July…however the whole time she was working in the USA as an American citizen – and even now her status is that of a visitor…so does her income still have to be claimed?

Tax Guy April 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Absolutely, you must claim your spouse’s income.

Anonymous April 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

My partner and I claimed common law status for the first time for 2011 (we started living together and later had a child during that year), and we received a letter claiming that we owe them money for the GST rebate (not sure for which year) unless we inform them what my income was in 2010. My 2010 return among other past years’ returns was sent in to them in the same envelope as our joint 2011 return. Why could they be asking for information they already have, and why would my income in the year before we moved in together matter anyway? Are they trying to suggest that we moved in together before the date we told them?

Tax Guy April 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Hi Anonymous,
Its probably an administrative delay but I would call the CRA and confirm they have received the 2010 document. Once the 2010’s are filed, you will get some form of update.

Chris June 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hi there,

My common-law husband submitted 3 years of tax returns to a volunteer tax program for filing (2010, 2011, and 2012). The volunteer e-filed the 2012 return and submitted it as common-law (which is correct), my husband had to sign and mail in the other two years. We noticed it said single and questioned the volunteer. He assured us it was submitted as common-law but when checking his account online my husband noticed he indeed did make an error and filed it as single. We have two children together and because I’m a stay at home mom all I receive is the UTB. The volunteer said I didnt need to submit a 2011 return and I assumed that was because it would be tacked onto my husband’s…should the amount refunded increase or decrease when the marital status is corrected? We dont want to use the refund money and then get told we owe. Also, I have a carry-over amount from tuition that is still present but because I filed my 2010 and my husband didn’t before now, it is still looming…shouldnt the government apply that to our joint return? Thanks.

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant July 13, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Chris
You should ask the preparer to make the correction to your marital status as it may affect certain credits and benefits.

Seperated May 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm

My husband and I seperated February of 2011. In April of 2011 he got back together with his babys mother and she moved in with him. Should he file common law or seperated for that tax yr?

Tax Guy June 1, 2012 at 9:08 am

I would say he is in a common law relationship. The relationship appears to be conjugal and they are parents of the same child.

Jesse January 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I have been in a common-law relationship since July 2011 with a U.S. Citizen should I be filing common-law on my taxes (I’m a Canadian Citizen).

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant January 11, 2013 at 8:48 am

Hi Jesse,

Assuming that you are in still in Canada, then yes, you do need to report that you are in a common law relationship and put his Name and Adjusted Gross Income in the “Information about your spouse or common law partner” section on the front of your tax return. Only put in his SIN if he has one.

If you move to the US, you need to consider whether you are still a resident of Canada for tax purposes and make the appropriate tax filing.

Jason January 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

I have been in a common law relationship for the past year . My partner owes the cra money for taxes from a failed bussiness . If I claim her on my tax return can they take my return to pay her debt?

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant January 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

Hi Jason,
That is a really good question and I know many people wonder the same thing.

The straight answer is no!

Although you must disclose each others income on your returns, you are separate and distinct taxpayers. The CRA cannot (and will not!) attempt to collect your spouse’s debt from you.

David January 19, 2013 at 8:04 am

Me and my common law partner are living in seperate places now do to my work. We are filled as single now as have a baby which stays with her. Before we changed our status from common law to single, I put her and the baby on my health plan at work with sunlife. Now that we are filed as single will that be a problem?

John March 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I live in Canada and sponsor my wife who lives in Asia and have no income. She has never been to Canada and ofcourse has herself absolutely no income. Therefore, monthly I have to send money to support her. I still keep all document record of these money sending.
I’d like to know whether or not I can claim on tax refund of these amound of money. If yes, please tell me how? What collumn or lines I enter the numbers..?
Thanks a lot.

Anna M March 18, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Hi Tax Guy,

This is a bit complicated. My bf and I had a baby together in 2007. We seperated when he was born, lived seperately and had custody agreements in place for us. Fast forward 3 years later, we started rekindling the relationship and we had another child in 2010. We were still living seperately until this past October, even after our 2nd child was born we had a lot of growing up to do and still couldnt manage to have a relationship. Up until now I was claiming as a single parent. Now, we are living together and my 2nd child is 2 years old. Of course, now that we are living together and have two kids, I will file as a common law. Will I get in trouble for the past years when I was genuinely living as a single parent? I was getting all the benefits of a single parent. I paid for daycare and I was their primary caregiver. Will the government find it odd that I was single and the father is the same for both kids, and now finally I am filing common- law with the same guy? Please help

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant April 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi Anna,

You do need to file as you are on December 31. Common law is as defined here

Anna M April 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Thank you! I already did file as common law. Was more worried over whether they will audit me based on the fact that I was single last year. I didn’t want to raise a red flag as I genuinely wasn’t common law. Will this raise concerns?

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant April 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm

You should call and tell them. Realistically if you are reporting all of the income and have no expenses other than child care you probably will never get audited. The worst to happen is that they ask for receipts but that is normall review for the CRA.

Lori March 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

We are in a common law relationship my partner is on odsp and I am on his cheque I have child support arrears as income but its only 3000$ I need know if Im using turbo tax softwear who do I start with his or mine Im only used to doing mine so I figured do the same but it dont look right? Lol thanks

Lori March 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

Also turbotax asks me about my child support payment to enter the amount that is taxable its all taxable isnt it?

Lori April 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Im not sure why u have not answered my question? can u please try to answering it please

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant April 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Lori,
I do try and answer or respond to most posts but during busy times of the year I may not be able to respond.

Lori April 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

sorry u have answered me thanks so much!!<3

Anna M April 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Tax guy!! Please answer my question too!

Unknown May 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I had a kid in 2010 the problem was I didn’t know who at the time was the father. I got advice telling me that I collect single for everything even on my child’s birth certificate it’s just me on there. My ex the claimed father is not an option for me and my child. I paid for all her needs didn’t receive and help. I met someone around the time my child was 1. I still haven’t collected common law for anything and we have been together ever since oct 2011. How do I go about filing common law? Or should I even collect common law. my child takes this man as her father. We are planning to be married within the next 2 years what shoul. I do

Unknown May 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Need to know about what u should do I don’t want to get into trouble with the government

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant May 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm

You only claim common law if you actually live together currently or in the tax year.

The children amount is another matter.

I suggest using a tax professional to help you sort this out.

mayumi May 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm


My current partner and I were roommates for over 2 years, we ended up in a romantic relationship and had a son in Dec 2012. He owes money to cra for child tax from his older son with a previous relationship. When do we file as commonlaw? And when we do, does cra take away my child tax?

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant June 20, 2013 at 6:37 am

You are common law as of December 2012 because you are in a relationship and have a child together.

Each of you are separate taxpayers and your benefits cannot be used to pay his tax bill

Anonymous August 4, 2013 at 11:00 am


I have a question in regards to claiming a dependent.
I have two children with my ex partner. We never resided together and I have always claimed both my children as MY dependents. Now, my 5 year old is going to live with her father 5 days a week as she’ll be going to school in his area. She’ll be with me on the weekends (our personal custody agreement – not court ordered). Since she’s mainly living with him can we seperate our dependents? ie. he claims her as a dependent and I claim our youngest as my dependent, or do I one of us NEED to claim both children together with one parent?

Anonymous December 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Any help to my question above?

Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant December 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Unfortunately your situation is too specific and would require professional assistance and consultation.

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