How Long Do You Have to be Married to File a Joint Tax Return? Getting married is probably one of the best things to happen in life.
It is a great feeling and a lot of excitement to start a new life with the person you love. However, marriage brings a lot of new responsibilities to your shoulder.
One of the responsibilities is related to the legal aspects of marriage. Married couples usually want to do the tax returns together. But do married couples have to file taxes together in Canada? If that is the case, how long do you have to be married to file a joint tax return?
Let’s find the answers to these important questions.
Do you File a Tax Return Separately or Together?
First things first, you need to decide whether you and your newly wedded spouse want to file the tax return jointly or separately. In general terms, the wisest option is to file the tax return together. So, why is that?
Filing a joint tax return can minimize the overall tax you pay throughout the year. You can find that the overall tax liability will be lower than paying taxes separately.
Whenever income goes to a certain point, the facilities get phased out. As a result, this “certain point” limit will be lower than filing tax returns separately.
However, you will be even more beneficial under a specific situation. For instance, the income difference between you and your spouse can be a huge factor.
If the income difference is high, the overall income of the couple becomes low. As a result, your tax return would be low as well. Thereby, knowing the proper process of filing a joint tax return should make the task easier for you.
How Long Do You Have to be Married to File a Joint Tax Return?
The date you get married is crucial. This is mainly because you will be determined as a married couple for the complete year.
If you are marrying within December 31 of the year, the tax return will be calculated for the whole year instead of starting from the day you got married.
Now comes the answer to the most important question. The answer is quite simple. You do not need to be married for a certain amount of time to file a joint tax return.
You can do that as soon as you get married. You can even do that when you are getting married and arranging all the paperwork.
On the other hand, a specific time limit does apply to common law partners. You must have been living together for at least 12 months to be considered as a common law couple.
After that, you can file a joint tax return in court. However, you and your couple must be living together as a couple for 12 months rather than having an on and off a relationship.
If you decide to get married within these 12 months, you can request a joint tax return immediately.
When Can You Not File a Joint Tax Return?
If you are married, you can immediately go to court and file a tax return together. However, there is a very specific time limit when it comes to the marriage date.
The first thing to consider is the total marriage timeline. You can file a joint tax return as soon as you get married. However, you have to be married throughout the whole tax year.
This means that you must not get divorced before December 31.
If you are married for only a few months of the tax year and get divorced before December 31, you will be considered unmarried for the whole year, and you cannot file a joint tax return.
As you can see, there are some limitations. Your marriage status should be valid throughout the year. Only then can you pay the joint tax return.
You should file a request for the joint tax return as soon as you are married to get the benefit. However, you must stay married to pay the return jointly eventually at the end of the year.
Final Words: How Long Do You Have to be Married to File a Joint Tax Return
It is a very common question to ask- how long do you have to be married to file a joint tax return. The answer to the question is simple, yet there are complications. For once, you are advised to file a joint tax return as you have started your married life or living together for a straight 12 months. However, you must stay married throughout the tax year to pay the tax return jointly.