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Taxes: married abroad to non-canadian in 2009, how to file tax return?

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  • Jan 17th, 2010 4:51 pm
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[OP]
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Jan 14, 2010
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Taxes: married abroad to non-canadian in 2009, how to file tax return?

Hello RFD, I hope you guys could shed some light on my situation.

In August I got married to a girl who lives in different country, and she still resides there; we're now beginning the spouse sponsorship procedure to bring her to Canada. But until then, she is staying completely outside of canadian financial/revenue system. Moreover, canadian authorities are not even aware of the fact that I got married as of yet, because I didn't report it to any officials here in Canada - nobody asked :D

So I was wondering how to put the whole thing in my tax return... Apparently, I am supposed to specify that my marital status has changed from single to married, even though it happened out of the country. But then, what to do with all the questions about spouse's income, spouse's tax return etc? I guess they are not applicable since she is not in Canada and never been. Should I put "zero" for her income or maybe specify how much she earned on her job in her country?

In general, what's the basic taxation rules in such situation when the spouse is non-resident?

Thanks for any information.
18 replies
Member
User avatar
Feb 26, 2008
432 posts
11 upvotes
My understanding is that all Canadian-sourced income will be subject to Canadian tax. If her income is from another country and she resides in another country, her income will not be taxable by Canada.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

EDIT: MrBurns reminded me. If she is not a resident of Canada, only Canadian sourced income is taxable. However, if she is Canadian resident, ALL income is taxable. The definiting of "resident" is someone who has soujourned in Canada for over 180 something days (i can't remember it from the top of my head).
Deal Addict
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Nov 6, 2007
1768 posts
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I'm not the best authority here but I think it has to do with what country Canada has an agreement about taxation. However, this only applies to RESIDENTS.
Deal Addict
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Dec 9, 2005
2020 posts
56 upvotes
If you call the CRA they will give you 3 different answers depending on whom you talk to.

They are NOT the best resource and can mis-lead you as they aren't always aware of the entire picture.

Pay a professional $60 to do it the first time. The last thing you want is the CRA coming after you because you filed incorrectly.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 14, 2010
5 posts
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dhamilton wrote:
Jan 15th, 2010 7:54 pm
Pay a professional $60 to do it the first time. The last thing you want is the CRA coming after you because you filed incorrectly.
Actually, the last thing I want to do is pay someone $60 ;) I always filed my taxes myself. But you might be right about this first time...
Deal Addict
Dec 28, 2006
2374 posts
53 upvotes
Saskatoon
newlywed wrote:
Jan 15th, 2010 6:24 pm
Apparently, I am supposed to specify that my marital status has changed from single to married, even though it happened out of the country. But then, what to do with all the questions about spouse's income, spouse's tax return etc? I guess they are not applicable since she is not in Canada and never been. Should I put "zero" for her income or maybe specify how much she earned on her job in her country?

In general, what's the basic taxation rules in such situation when the spouse is non-resident?

Thanks for any information.
On the first page of your return it will ask for your spouse's name and their income. You put whatever their income would have been if they had been "Canadian resident for tax purposes". The only thing this is used for is to calculate your eligibility for the spousal credit and calculating your GSTC eligibility (and other income tested benefits).

She is not (yet) Canadian resident for tax purposes so she does not have to file a return here.

Note that "Canadian resident for tax purposes" is not the same as "Canadian resident" as defined by immigration.
[OP]
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Jan 14, 2010
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ghostryder wrote:
Jan 15th, 2010 8:08 pm
On the first page of your return it will ask for your spouse's name and their income. You put whatever their income would have been if they had been "Canadian resident for tax purposes".
Could you elaborate a little, please? Her actual yearly income (salary) is approx CAD 7,000, if converted to canadian currency. So, you're saying I should punch in this number? I thought I should put "0" instead, as this was her income in Canada.
Deal Addict
Oct 9, 2005
1789 posts
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Your spouse does not have a SIN number as she is neither citizen nor resident nor ever been in Canada, so you might not be able to gain any credits or tax advantages anyway. Her taxes will also be independent of the Canadian tax system. It might be easier to just call yourself single this year and change that for this year's taxes (2010) once she gets a SIN number.
Deal Addict
May 13, 2005
2969 posts
2899 upvotes
Montreal
For me, you only have to declare tax, pay tax if you have SIN... If you don't have SIN, there is no way for you to declare tax, because tax form requires SIN...

So you can declare $0 for your wife revenue until she has SIN...

and you can even still declare yourself as "Single"

Usually tax system for couples are calculate different compare to single because couples live in the same house, share a lot of things... so tax different... You and your wife don't live in the same house... You're still single under tax system...
Sr. Member
Oct 8, 2008
702 posts
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She is not a resident for Canadian tax purposes and has no tax obligations here. However you do meet the CRA's definition of married, so you are obligated to inform them of such. I would call them and explain your situation to see what they say.
Deal Addict
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Sep 23, 2009
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Brampton
Same thing, my wife was not a Canadian Citizen either.

In 2007 I got married. She lived in India. She didn't come until 2008.

For my 2007 Taxes which I filed in 2008 of course, there is a section that actually accounts for this. Then if there is any world income you must report that. Since my wife did not have any it was pretty easy.


However, your GST will be messed up for awhile and they will ask you to send a letter to them stating the same thing. In fact they will send a letter to you first asking for the GST back, and then after contacting them and letting them know, then your GST will be given back to you. Its a silly process but one you will have to endure.
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Dec 28, 2006
2374 posts
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Saskatoon
newlywed wrote:
Jan 15th, 2010 8:25 pm
Could you elaborate a little, please? Her actual yearly income (salary) is approx CAD 7,000, if converted to canadian currency. So, you're saying I should punch in this number? I thought I should put "0" instead, as this was her income in Canada.

In the guide:

Information about your spouse or common-law partner

You must provide us with the following information, if applicable:

* your spouse’s or common-law partner's social insurance number if it is not on the label or if you are not attaching a label;
* your spouse’s or common-law partner’s first name;
* your spouse's or common-law partner's net income - enter the amount from line 236 of your spouse’s or common-law partner’s return, or the amount that it would be if he or she filed a return. Enter this amount even if it is zero. We use this information in calculating the GST/HST credit and certain other credits and benefits;



As I said, you put what her net income would be if she filed a return. It is irrelevant that her income is outside of Canada.


You cannot claim the spousal credit unless you are supporting your spouse, and

35. In order for an individual to claim the spousal tax credit for a non-resident spouse, or the dependant tax credit for a non-resident child or grandchild of the individual or the individual's 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 on the facts of each case. If the non-resident spouse, child or grandchild have 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.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it513 ... P178_25861


The reason you need to show what her income is on the first page of your return is so that your eligibility for spousal credit, GSTC etc can be determined.

X360 wrote:
Jan 15th, 2010 9:57 pm
and you can even still declare yourself as "Single"

You and your wife don't live in the same house... You're still single under tax system...
Claiming single when you are not is lying on / falsifying your return. If you are married you must declare that fact. You cannot claim single just because your spouse is in another country.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 14, 2010
5 posts
TO
ghostryder wrote:
Jan 16th, 2010 3:04 am
Claiming single when you are not is lying on / falsifying your return. If you are married you must declare that fact. You cannot claim single just because your spouse is in another country.
I think so, too. Also thanks for the other details, I guess I'll need to look into CRA's guide more carefully... Oh bother.
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