A spouse is: someone you're married to. duh.
A common-law partner: lived together for 12mo. continuous period. OR... is the parent of your child.
The amount for spouse or common-law partner is set at $10,527 for 2011 ($10,382 for 2010). If the spouse earns ANY money that amount is decreased accordingly.
For 2012 and subsequent years, the amount for spouse or common-law partner will be increased by a $2,000 caregiver amount if the spouse is dependant upon the taxpayer because of mental or physical infirmity. If the spouse is not infirm, the maximum claim for 2012 is $10.822. If the spouse is infirm, the claim is $12,822.
Year of Marital Change
In the year that taxpayers become married or begin cohabiting in a common-law relationship, the spouse's net income for the entire year is used in calculating the allowable credit.
If the spouses or common-law partners are living apart at the end of the taxation year, then only the spouse's income for the period while the couple were not separated is used in the calculation of the credit.
If one spouse is required to pay support for the other spouse in the year of change, the payor may claim either the amount for spouse or common-law partner or take the deduction for spousal support paid, but not both.
To ensure proper assessment of the return, the date of marital change should be supplied. For an electronically filed return, this forms part of the electronic record.
S. 118(4)(a) and 118(4)(a.1) restrict the clam for a spouse or common-law partner so that no taxpayer may make the claim in respect of more than one spouse or common-law partner and so that only one individual may make the claim in respect of another individual.
Where two (or more) individuals are qualified to make the claim in respect of another, then those two individuals must agree on who will make the claim or neither will be allowed the claim.
In the year of death, the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Amount may be claimed in full on the final return and on any of the optional returns filed for the deceased. See Death of a Taxpayer.
Part-year residents must pro-rate the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Amount under S. 118.91 according to the number of days they are resident in Canada divided by the number of days in the taxation year (see Part-Year Residency).
Where an individual becomes bankrupt in the year, the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Amount on the pre- and post-bankruptcy returns must be pro-rated according to the number of days in each period (see Bankruptcy).
Deemed residents may claim the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Amount (see Deemed Residency for details). Non-residents filing under S. 217 may be eligible for some or all of the spousal personal amount (see Non-Residency for details). Other non-residents filing under S. 216 or S. 216.1 may not claim the spousal amount.
In order for an individual to claim the amount for a spouse or common-law partner for a non-resident spouse, it is necessary that such non-resident person be supported by or be dependent for support on the individual. The question of support or dependency is determined by the facts of each case.
If the non-resident spouse or common-law partner has enough income or assistance for a reasonable standard of living in the country in which they live, they are not considered to be supported by or be dependent for support on the individual. Also, gifts which merely enhance or supplement the already adequate lifestyle of the non-resident person do not constitute support.
In determining if the non-resident spouse or common-law partner is supported by the individual, CRA will consider such factors as:
- the income of the spouse or common-law partner from all sources;
- any support provided to the spouse or common-law partner by government agencies of the country in which such person resides, such as pensions, medicare, housing, etc.;
- the cost of living in the particular country and the ability of the spouse or common-law partner to provide self-support; and
- any support provided to the spouse or common-law partner by other persons.
To support a claim for a non-resident spouse or common-law partner, an individual has to provide (with the income tax return on which the tax credit is claimed) proof of the amounts contributed by the individual as support of the spouse or common-law partner. Such proof will usually consist of receipts for post office or bank money orders, cancelled cheques that were payable to and negotiated by the spouse or common-law partner, or receipts from private agencies established for the purpose of transferring money or goods to residents of other countries. Receipts for cash or goods transferred directly from an individual to a non-resident spouse or common-law partner are not considered acceptable proof of support.
Documents submitted as proof of support should show:
- the name and address of the non-resident spouse or common-law partner,
- the name of the transferor,
- the date of the transfer, and
- the amount of money transferred or, where goods were provided, their nature and fair market value.