Couples and taxes

Living as a married or common-law couple can affect the amount of federal tax you pay. This includes tax on both your income and investments. Learning about different income tax options may save you a lot of money.

For example, you may be eligible for non-refundable tax credits. These non-refundable tax credits may lower the amount of tax you have to pay.

Consider the following information when you pay taxes as a couple:

Spousal tax credit

You may be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit if your spouse or common-law partner has a lower income. This may reduce the amount of income tax you’ll need to pay.

Find out if you're eligible for spouse and common-law deductions.

Family tax cut

Prior to the 2016 taxation year, you may have been eligible for a non-refundable tax credit if you and your spouse or common-law partner had at least one child. It allowed you to transfer up to $50,000 of your income to your eligible spouse or common-law partner.

Learn more about the changes to the family cut under income splitting credit.

Pool your charitable donations

You may get a non-refundable tax credit when you donate to registered charities. Consider pooling your charitable donations with your spouse or common-law partner to get a larger tax credit. To do this, one partner claims all of the couple’s donations on his or her income tax return.

Learn how to get a tax credit from charitable donations and gifts.

Pool medical expenses

You may claim medical expenses for your spouse or common-law partner when you file your tax return. You may get a bigger tax credit if the partner with the lower income claims all of the medical expenses for the couple. This is because the tax credit for medical expenses is based on a percentage of your income.

Find out what eligible medical expenses you can claim on your tax return.

Child care expenses

You may be able to deduct some of your child care expenses when you file your tax return. Usually, the spouse or common-law partner with the lower income must claim child care expenses.

Learn what you can claim as child care expenses.

Learn more about tax credits when you have children.

Pension income splitting

You and your spouse or common-law partner may be able to split your eligible pension income to lower the amount of tax you must pay.

Find out more about pension income splitting.

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