Common Law, Taxes and Immigration in Canada without SIN
June 2, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

My common-law partner and I are in the process of filing forms for her sponsorship of me to receive permanent resident status in Canada. She changed her marital status to common-law on her most recent tax forms (we have been living together since 2009). She is now being audited by Revenue Canada, since this reflects a change from her last tax return and how her GST/HST refunds are calculated.

Specifically, Revenue Canada wants:
- either my SIN or date of entry into Canada, presumed to be 2010 or later
- a letter documenting our partnership and the date of our union.
- my "world income" for 2010 - which was $0 since I was in school and not employed.

I don't have a SIN and my study permit which granted me legal residence in Canada from 2004 - 2012 (with renewals) expired in the latter part of 2011 after I dropped out of school in 2011 for health/financial reasons. I've tried calling the legal aid clinic helping us through the immigration office but they haven't gotten back to me and my partner is getting quite worried.

Does this have any effect on sponsorship process? What kind of document is she expected to send to Revenue Canada? How would this affect my current undocumented status, especially since we haven't gotten the forms in yet? She is also being asked to return the GST/HST credits she received in the last six months (about 120 dollars) so that they can recalculate the allocation; a lesser concern is whether this change in marital status means she will be receiving less GST/HST returns in the future.

Throwaway e-mail account:
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total)
So you currently do not have legal status in Canada? I would hold off on doing anything/sending anything until you have an immigration lawyer review your file. Instead of waiting for the legal aid clinic (Which will probably be a bit of a wait) hire an immigration lawyer yourself for a consultation. Go to the meeting fully prepared with all your documents so the meeting will be as short/cheap as possible. There are too many variables to give you meaningful advice over the Internet. I CAN tell you however that my experience with CIC and Revenue Canada has been positive, the staff are willing to work with you and answer questions when you call them.
posted by saucysault at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was going to answer the questions, until I saw you don't have legal status.
Immigration lawyer now. Not legal aid ... it is worth the money for you to find someone who specializes in immigration law.
posted by batikrose at 10:54 AM on June 2, 2012

I am not a lawyer, but I do know that there are rules in Canada about how much information can be shared between the CRA and other agencies. Revenue Canada is assessing your partner's tax status, not your immigration status.

If your status in Canada is questionable, then CIC should already know about it, based on your application for residency. It isn't the CRA's responsibility to find illegal aliens.

Personally, I'd skip the lawyer and start by calling the CRA (having spent quite a bit of time on the phone with both, I can tell you the CRA has much shorter hold times). As them about what they need. Then call the CIC and ask them about it. You may find it handy to know their hours are 8 am to 4 pm for EVERY timezone, which means that you can call them at 8 am Eastern until 4 pm Pacific, when the lines may be less busy.

Over the last year and a half, I've been caught in a total mess about my residency status and my taxes. In the end it is the CIC that decides if you are a resident and then you can appeal any tax decisions that the CRA makes.
posted by keeo at 1:56 PM on June 2, 2012

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