Deductions & Credits for Spouses/Partners

Spouses/partners have limited opportunities to split income during their working years. Seniors may use pension income splitting.  See Income Splitting: Families for income splitting techniques that may be used to reduce the household tax bill.

Spousal Support: Alimony

Spousal support payments may be tax deductible. A written agreement or court order will specify which spouse is able to claim the deduction. Additionally, certain medical expense payments or educational institution fees may be eligible.

Certain legal fees are also tax deductible, including those to:

  • Enforce alimony and maintenance agreements
  • Collect unpaid wages or severance pay
  • Aid in earning income from a business

Tax Credits

Spousal Tax Amount/Credit

An income earner with a no- or low-income spouse may claim the spousal tax credit.

Charitable Contributions Tax Credit

One taxpayer in the family should claim all of the family’s charitable contributions, even though the name on the receipt may be the taxpayer’s spouse. The reason for making a single claim is that charitable contributions are eligible for a federal credit at the lowest tax rate for the first $200 of contributions and 29% above $200. (As of January 1st, 2016, an additional 33% tax credit rate will apply to donations over $200, to the extent that taxable income is subject to the new 33% income tax bracket.) By combining all donations under one taxpayer’s claim, you get to the $200 threshold sooner than if you shared this tax credit. Provincial tax credits also are applied.

In Québec, the first $200 of donations is at the standard rate. Excess gifts receive a credit at the highest marginal rate.

For more on the tax implications of charitable donations, including the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC), visit the Giving to Charities page on this website.

Medical Expenses Tax Credit

You may be eligible for a tax credit on medical expenses that are not recoverable through your employer's health benefits plan and are in excess of the lesser of 3% of net income and the annual dollar threshold. If one taxpayer claims all of the family’s eligible medical expenses, it’s easier to attain the minimum threshold. Medical expenses that were not claimed in the previous year may be claimed for any 12-month period ending in the current tax year.

For more on eligible medical expenses, see the CRA website

Tax Credits for Retirees

In addition to the tax credits for which the average Canadian taxpayer is eligible, there are a few more for retirees and those age 65 and older. To learn more, visit the Tax Credits for Retirees page on this website.