In Canada, you and your spouse or common-law partner must each file a separate tax return. You have the choice, however, to prepare your tax return individually or with your spouse or common-law partner (a coupled return).
Once you have started to prepare your tax return, either as a coupled return or not, you cannot go back and change this selection. For example, if you begin to prepare your returns together, and later you want to prepare the same returns separately, you will have to start new tax returns.
Preparing your tax return with your spouse or common-law partner
If you prepare your tax return with your spouse or common-law partner, you will maximize your tax savings and minimize your taxes owing. H&R Block Tax Software will evaluate how to best apply all of the following types of amounts and credits across both returns:
- Age amount
- Disability amounts
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) amounts
- Charitable donations
- Medical expenses
- Education amounts
- Life-long learning plan amounts
- Dependant amounts
- Family tax cut amount*
- Pension income amount*
- First-time home buyer’s credit
- Provincial tax credits
* If you are claiming the Family Tax Cut amount or if you are looking to do any pension income splitting, you must prepare your returns together.
Once all of the amounts and credits have been evaluated and applied, you will be able to see the result of all of the calculations in your tax return and in your spouse or common-law partner’s tax return. You must then file each tax return separately, to complete the tax return process.
Preparing your tax return individually
If you prepare your tax return separately from your spouse or common-law partner, you might not be taking full advantage of all of your available tax credits.
Where can I learn more?
- Spouse and common law partner (Canada Revenue Agency website)
- Line 326 - Amounts transferred from your spouse or common-law partner (Canada Revenue Agency website)
- Contributing to your spouse's or common-law partner's RRSPs (Canada Revenue Agency website)
- Line 303 - Spouse or common-law partner amount (Canada Revenue Agency website)