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Tax Advantages of Legal Separation in Canada Featured Image

Tax Advantages of Legal Separation in Canada

Are you and your partner thinking about getting a divorce but are concerned about the cost? Do not worry! In Canada, legal separation can provide various tax benefits that enable you to save money. Legal separation can provide various financial benefits for couples who want to live apart, from income-splitting options to spousal support deductions and child support payments. 

In this article, we will look at the many tax benefits of legal separation in Canada and demonstrate how they may help you retain more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Tax Advantages of Legal Separation

While still legally married, legal separation enables a couple to live apart and decide how to divide their possessions, money, and parental responsibilities. Legal separation is recognized in Canada and is overseen by provincial legislation. We shall go deeper into the tax benefits of legal separation in Canada in this post.

Income Split Possibilities

Income splitting is one of the primary tax benefits of legal separation in Canada. Sharing income between two persons to lower the tax burden is income splitting.

Legally separated spouses in Canada can divide their income for tax purposes. For instance, they can divide their pension income, saving them a lot of money in taxes, especially if their incomes differ greatly. They can also exchange capital gains exemptions, capital losses, and other credits. Couples should speak with a tax expert to be sure they are utilizing all of their possibilities while remaining compliant with the law.

Spousal Support Deductions

Another legal separation benefit in Canadian taxes is the opportunity to deduct spousal support payments from taxable income. Alimony or spousal support are payments from one spouse to another to meet financial requirements.

Spousal support payments made in Canada are taxable income for the recipient and tax deductible for the payer. The higher earner can provide spousal support to the lower earner and deduct the payments from their taxable income, resulting in lower total taxes if one spouse earns much more.

Child Support Payments and Tax Credits

Tax benefits for child support payments may also be available following a legal separation. A payment provided by one parent to the other to meet the financial requirements of their children is known as child support.

Child support payments are neither taxable income for the recipient nor tax deductible for the payer in Canada. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and the Child Disability Benefit (CDB), which might offer further financial assistance, may be available to the recipient.

Eligibility for Certain Tax Credits and Benefits

Additionally, legal separation might make you eligible for perks and tax deductions that might not be accessible to married couples. For instance, the GST/HST credit, a tax-free quarterly payment granted to people and families with low and moderate incomes, is determined by the family’s income and marital status.

Legally separated spouses in Canada could qualify for the GST/HST credit as individuals and so receive a larger credit than they would have received if they had remained married. Additionally, they can be qualified for various tax breaks and perks, including the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) and the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB).

Income Splitting Opportunities

Couples can divide their income in a way that lowers their overall tax burden by using income splitting as a tax planning approach. In Canada, legal separation can offer a variety of alternatives for income splitting, which can help couples save a lot of money on taxes.

Pension Income Splitting

Couples can divide their qualified pension income between themselves for tax reasons using the pension income splitting approach. Couples, where one spouse earns much more money than the other may find this tactic very helpful.

Both married and legally separated individuals and couples in Canada can divide their pension benefits. However, for legally separated couples to be eligible, they must have been living apart for at least 90 days due to a relationship breakup.

Transferring Capital Losses and Credits

The ability to transmit capital losses and credits, such as the capital gains exemption, to one another is another way for legally separated spouses to share their income.

In addition to allowing people to avoid paying taxes on the sale of some assets, including a primary house, the capital gains exemption allows people to utilize capital losses to offset capital gains. The couple can lessen their overall tax obligation by shifting these losses and credits to a lesser-income spouse.

Income from Rental Properties

If a legally separated couple has rental properties, they can split the rental income apart so that their overall tax burden is as small as possible. It can be accomplished by dividing the rental revenue equally or according to their respective ownership interests.

Splitting business income

If a legally separated couple operates a business together, they can split the profits to lower their combined tax burden. For instance, they might divide the money following each spouse’s time and resource commitments to the company.

Eligibility for Certain Tax Credits and Benefits

Canadians have access to a wide range of tax advantages and credits, and their eligibility for these programs might vary based on several criteria. The following are some essential details about qualifying for specific tax credits and legal separation benefits in Canada:

Child Tax Credit

The parent or legal guardian of a child under 18 can apply for the Child Tax benefit, a non-refundable tax benefit. The kid must reside in Canada and be principally cared for and raised by the parent or legal guardian to qualify for this credit. Parents should speak with a tax expert to determine if they qualify for this benefit because of income restrictions and other conditions.

Canada Child Benefit

The CCB is a tax-free payment paid to qualified families with kids under 18. In most cases, the parent or legal guardian must be in charge of the child’s care and upbringing for the child to qualify for the CCB. The amount of the CCB payment is determined by variables such as family income, the number of kids living in the home, and the kids’ ages.

Disability Tax Credit

People with severe and ongoing physical or mental handicaps may be eligible for the Disability Tax benefit, a non-refundable tax benefit. The person must have a qualifying handicap, and their impairment must have lasted or been anticipated for at least 12 months to qualify for this credit. To be eligible to claim this credit, you must fulfill certain medical and eligibility standards.

Medical Expense Tax Credit

A non-refundable tax credit known as the medical expense tax credit may be claimed for specific medical costs not covered by a health insurance plan. Prescription medications, dental work, and medical equipment are examples of eligible costs. The kinds of costs that may be deducted are subject to limitations and restrictions. Some medical expenses may need to be supported by a prescription or other paperwork to be deducted.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan

For tax reasons, contributions made to an RRSP can be subtracted from income, which can assist in lowering the overall tax burden. People must have earned money and stayed within their annual contribution cap to be eligible to contribute to an RRSP. The maximum contribution is determined by income and prior years’ donations.

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

A non-refundable tax credit that may be used to offset costs associated with making a house more accessible for people with disabilities is the Accessibility Tax Credit. The cost of grab bars, stair lifts, and wheelchair ramps are eligible costs. There are limitations on the kinds of costs that may be claimed and qualifying criteria.


Who knew a legal divorce could save so much money? Legal separation in Canada can help you retain more of your hard-earned money in your pocket by utilizing the tax advantages offered to spouses who decide to live apart. Legal separation can provide a variety of tax advantages, from income splitting to spousal support deductions and child support payments, which can lessen some of the financial strain of separation. 

Therefore, considering going through a formal separation, consider all the potential tax advantages. Legal separation may be a wise financial decision for you and your spouse with the correct information and financial advice.


What is the difference between legal separation and divorce in Canada?

With legal separation, a couple can decide to live apart without divorcing. Contrarily, divorce is the formal dissolution of a marriage. Unlike divorce, which legally ends a marriage, legal separation permits a couple to live apart while settling matters like child custody, spousal support, and property split.

How can legal separation affect property division?

In Canada, a separation agreement or court ruling determines how property is divided during a legal separation. The court will decide if a couple cannot agree on how to split their assets and debts. In a legal separation, the property split guidelines resemble divorce guidelines.

Can legally separated couples still be considered common-law partners?

In Canada, legally separable couples cannot be regarded as common-law partners. Couples must have been in a conjugal relationship for at least a year or have a child together to qualify as common-law partners.

Do legally separated couples need to continue to file taxes together?

In Canada, lawfully separated spouses cannot submit their taxes jointly. Each spouse is required to submit a separate tax return. However, if they match the criteria, they could be able to claim some tax benefits.

Can legal separation agreements be changed after they are signed?

Formal separation agreements can be amended if both parties agree to the adjustments. A new agreement may be created, or an old agreement may be amended to reflect changes.

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