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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Alex April 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

My 18 years old son provided before/after school care for my daughter and I paid him in cash monthly. He turned 18 in August 2009. Does anyone know if I can claim all amount for the full year I paid as child care deduction or should I prorate it based on the fact that the caregiver was immediate family member and turn 18 only in August 2009?

Tax Guy April 12, 2010 at 8:56 am

Hi Alex,
I’ve re-read your post and I think I understand your question a little better. A couple of exceptions apply to your case. Child care provided by a related person UNDER the age of 18 are not deductible. Since the requirement is that they cannot be both under age 18 AND related, seems to indicate that if they are age 18 or older and related, that the expenses are deductible.

Tax Guy April 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm


I’m not sure I follow. Are you married? Why did your son pay the expenses?

Alex April 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

Thank you Tax Guy,

Does this suggest that I have to prorate the expanses and deduct only the portion of those expenses associated with the time when child care provider was 18 for the part of the tax year?

Tax Guy April 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Alex,
It’s not a matter of prorating but rather the expenses paid from age 18 on are deductible.

I hope this helps!

Alex April 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

yes, thank you.

trisha April 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

I have a question regarding Canadian citizen working abroad. if they
are paying a foreign pension plan can that be credited when he
files Canadian tax?

Tax Guy April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am

If the person is not a resident of Canada then they don’t pay tax here anyway and the deductibility is a moot point. If they are a resident, then it is difficult to say what the implications are without knowing the whole situation.

trisha April 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

well, he work abroad he’s been there since 1998. 2007 his wife moved in canada. if you have a spouse in canada and you work abroad, is that enough to say he is a resident if that is his only tie in canada? is he suppose to file for his tax from 2007-2009
or does it have to be 1998?

Tax Guy April 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Hi Trisha:
If his wife lives in Canada, he is a resident of Canada and liable for tax on worldwide income. He may claim foreign taxes paid as a tax credit. The date he bebcame a resident again would be the day his wife moved here and became a resident, or if he is here 183 days in the year.

As far as the deduction for the foreign pension contribution, I’m not certain of the answer. It partly depends on whether the plan meets certain criteria in the Canadian Income Tax Act and that he be a resident at the time. The criteria can get a little complex.

Ben September 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Hi, If a husband is working and living in Canada but his wife is still living in another country, can he still claim the spousal amount (she is not earning any income in the other country)?

just to clarify, he lives and works in Canada and she has never lived in Canada

Tax Guy September 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm

As long as you were married or common law, supported your spouse and your spouse’s income was under the threshold you can claim the credit.

heidi February 19, 2011 at 1:55 am

Hi. I am a little bit confused. My husband is a non immigrant who lives abroad with no income. I send him money on a monthly basis. I was told by the CRA that I can claim him as my spouse with no income and also as my dependant and that I should keep all money transfer receipts in case I am asked for them. My question is, when using tax software, where am I supposed to enter the amount that I have sent him during the tax year, if I am even supposed to enter this info at all. Or are the receipts just to prove that I was supporting my husband abroad? Thanks!

Tax Guy February 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

You don’t report the amount paid to him on your tax return, they are only proof that you are entitled to claim the spousal tax credit. You claim the spousal amount on Schedule 1 less any amounts he earned on his own.

SHAUN February 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I have a girlfriend that has a student loan debt being collected by CRA. Every year her tax refund is automatically put towards paying down the balance on that student loan. My question is regarding putting her on my tax return as a common law spouse. We meet the qualifications. If I do so, am I now on the hook for her debt? If I am recieveing a refund, will CRA take it and put it towards her outstanding debt obligations?

Tax Guy February 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

The CRA cannot convert one taxpayers refund to cover another’s debt. But it does not change the requirement for you to file properly. You may want to seek the help of a tax preparer and I caution you in relying on this site for tax advice.

Natacha Doucet February 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

If I was single in 2010 and is now common law since February 2011 , do I claim single or common law on my 2010 tax return ?
Thank you,

Tax Guy February 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

You report your status as of December 31, 2010. If you were not common law on December 31, 2010, then you report single.

Cbranget February 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hello tax guy. My spouse makes taxable employment income, I make tax exempt employment income over $10320. Can my spouse still make a claim for me on line 303? My net income on line 236 is zero.

Tax Guy March 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

As long as your income is nil on line 236 your spouse can claim you!

DEE March 3, 2011 at 5:29 am

Hello! My husband is American (living and working in USA) and electing me (Canadian citizen living in Canada) to be treated as a US resident in order to file his taxes with the IRS as married filing jointly. My income is then considered exempt from US taxes if it’s under a certain amount. Does this affect how I file in Canada as a married woman?
I am currently working on filing my Canadian taxes and am confused for many reasons. I cannot find a section that allows me to elect whether I’m filing joint or married and separate. My husband also never lived at any point in Canada nor made a Canadian income. Do I report his net US income in place of line 236 when doing my taxes? (his US net income is over the threshold). btw, We married in Feb 2010 and lived apart all year. We rarely share expenses or send money. I’m assuming I cannot claim the spousal amount??? Are their any credits I can claim, or are we basically “screwed” on both ends this tax year?
Thank you!

Tax Guy March 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

In Canada you file your T1 and report your own income (do not include your husbands because Canada does not allow joint filing).

Report your husbands gross income on the front of your tax return in the spot provided.

There are no credits unless your husband earned less than $10,000CDN. As far as taxes go, you both pay tax in your respective countries.

Koko March 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Hi. Thank you for your advice.
My wife has been studying in the US for more than a year but is not a resident there. She is not a Canadian resident either (but has lived 4 months with me in Canada in 2010). She has no income and is supported mainly by her parents. I would like to know if I can make a claim on line 303, and also on line 326 of Schedule 1 (study amounts transferred from spouse).
Thanks you.

Tax Guy March 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

If you are a resident of Canada, your wife is a resident of Canada.

You can claim her on line 303. You can take the tuition amount if the amounts qualify. See line 326 and line 323 in the guide.

Stewie March 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

My sister was “separated” at Dec. 31/09. He returned to the household in April/10, and left permanently Oct. 26/10. He has no income. Is my sister able to claim the CommonLaw Partner Tax Credit in 2010?

Dan March 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

If I have already maxed out my RRSP contribution for 2010, does it make any sense to claim the spousal amount on line 303 (my spouse had $0 income in 2010)?


Tax Guy March 14, 2011 at 12:17 am

Absolutely! Claim all credits your can first. Then claim deductions and your RRSP deduction last. Only use enough of the RRSP deduction to reduce your taxes to NIL and carry forward the rest.

Debbie March 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

My husband lived and worked in the US until June 2010. He then moved to Canada and we were married. He is filing for Permanent Resident status but it is still in progress and does not have a SIN. He has never worked in Canada and did not collect any income in the latter half of 2010 (I supported him). I assume that I can claim the spousal amount on line 303. My question is do I enter his income as zero since he has not filed a Canadian Tax Return? He has already filed for both State and Federal taxes in the US for the income he earned there in 2010.

Tax Guy March 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

You report the gross income from his US tax return.

Yetu March 19, 2011 at 3:59 am

Hi ,i am a canadian citizen and i went and married june 2010 an Africa woman whom she never been here in canada .she lives in Africa and i have been supporting her. she has no income .shall i claim her for the tax credit , please help???

lyss January 31, 2012 at 11:25 am

Hi . As of oct 1st my son and I moved in with my sons father . Wich means we are now in a common law relationship . Do I still file. My taxes or does he just do it ? Or would we do it together . How does it work if we have been common law since oct

Tax Guy January 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

You are still separate taxpayers. You never combine tax returns.

Peter February 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

my wife and I live in Ontario, Canada, and have 2 children. I have always filed as a married couple using turbo tax (it prepares separate returns at the same time for each of us). my wife is a stay at home mom and has no income other than the baby bonus, can we file as single to get a bigger return? and if so who claims the baby bonus and the kids?

Lisa February 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm

How do I report common law if my spouse has not filled his taxes in years?

Lisa February 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

What do I do if my spouse has not done taxes in years and need to claim common law

Tax Guy February 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Report what you know in the space provided. You can call the CRA for direction.

He need only file if he owes the government money, if he has sold t

Tax Guy February 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Report what you know in the space provided. You can call the CRA for direction.

He need only file if he owes the government money, if he has sold taxable proeprty or if the CRA tells him to file.

Tax time February 20, 2012 at 1:26 am

Are you single or common law if you and baby’s dad are broken up? Always claimed single in past tax returns and we never had the same address.
How does revenue of Canada find our your marital status if you lied?

Tax Guy February 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

If you didn’t live together you likely not common law.

Oscar March 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

My wife and I separated at the end of january 2011, but live together until May 1st. We inform the CRA about the separation and they said that my effective date of marital status change is May 1st, since then we lived apart. I want to know if I can claim line 303 and by how much I can reduce the claim. My ex wife doesn t wnat to tell me her anual income (she worked until July 2011). She just told me that is around 7,000 cad. The guide says I can reduce the claim only by the income she earned before the separation. So if I estimate that amount it could be 1000 (we separated on january – 1 month) or 4000 (she started living apart the 1st may 2011 and that s the date the CRA considers the separation so her income bfero separation is 4000) ?

Steve March 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

My question is this , my g/f and I have live together since 2010 . We both have just claimed ‘single’ . I make 3 times more money than she does , but she makes more than $10 527 . Is there any advantage to claiming ‘common law’ for either of us ? Will is cost me anything ?

Tax Guy March 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Whether you are common law or not is a question of fact. If you have lived for 12 consecutive months in a conjugal relationship, you are common law and you are required to report as such.Your entitlements to certain credits are based on this status. Whether it is an advantage or not a relevant factor!

No name guy March 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Re : Dividend Income
If my spouse is in a tax bracket above the lowest one, how would this be beneficial to let her declare my dividend income when the credit gained from the transfer of personal exemption is in the lowest tax bracket. I know she would pay a lower tax on the dividend due to the dividend tax credit, but does it still work out favourably?


Tax Guy March 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm

It can be beneficial. The lower 2 brackets are pretty large.

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