For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about divorce & taxes.
For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about divorce and taxes.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers you separated when you live separate and apart from your spouse or common‑law partner for a period of 90 days or more due to a breakdown in your relationship. A separation of less than 90 days is not considered a separation for the purpose of Child and Family Benefits when it comes to divorce and taxes. Once you have been separated for 90 days, the effective day of your separated status is the day you started living separate and apart.
Can we live in the same house and be considered “separated” by CRA?
Even though it may be legally possible to be separated and still live in the same house CRA will likely not consider a separation to have occurred if you continue to live together in the same household. The CRA has different standards when it comes to divorce and taxes as compared to the legal system. An exception to this may occur when separate living quarters are self‑contained in the same household. However, if you reside in the same household and continue to share parenting and financial responsibilities, CRA will not consider a separation to have occurred for the purpose of administering the Canada Child Tax Benefit or Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit legislation.
Every couple faces unique challenges.
Understand how separation will affect you,
your children, your finances and your future.
When you and your spouse divide up your real estate, savings, investments and pensions, this is called the division of assets. Paying your spouse their half of the assets is called an equalization payment and an asset transfer. Typically cash for equalization payments are not taxed during divorce because it is considered as money that you have already paid tax on. Cash is king, as they say. But when you transfer other assets, such as a car or investments for example, they would normally be taxed at the difference between the current market value and the what you initially paid for them. However, during a divorce asset transfer in divorce there is a strategic financial option that allow you do use what’s called an automatic rollover provision that will delay any taxation on the transfer. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you will never be taxed on that asset, it simply means that a transfer done as part of the separation agreement will be temporarily exempt for now. The transfer of assets is probably one of the biggest reasons that you want to involve a financial professional who works specifically with divorce. Find out more about a certified divorce financial analyst.
Child Support payments are not taxed… not taxed as income for the one who receives it nor tax deductible on the one who pays it. However this does not mean that there are not savvy financial situations that can be delved for your specific situations. Involving a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (“CDFA”) about your personal situation, means that they can check for deductions or tax credits related to Special and Extraordinary Child Care expenses.
When it comes to paying Spousal Support, there are tax implications everywhere for everyone. Spousal Support also comes with lots of wiggle room to be able to create savvy financial solutions. There are options like periodic spousal support payments (monthly) and a lump sum payment, or even options in between. Periodic (i.e. monthly) payments are taxed as extra income for the recipient and are a deduction for the one who pays. Now think about this… this means that depending on how much you pay or receive, you might be bumped into a different tax bracket. At the same time, lump sum payments are not taxable or deductible if and only if the support payments are made according to a properly prepared separation agreement. Again the importance of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who can help you to maximize and take advantage of the tax implications of support payments. Lastly beyond Taxes never forget that the amount of support paid or received can have detrimental affects on that person’s ability to qualify for a mortgage. For more information, please see Gail’s Guide to Spousal Support.
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If your marital status changes, be sure to let the Canada Revenue Agency know, as this may change the way your divorce and taxes are handled. For example, an update in your marital status may affect the amount of UCCB (Canada Child Benefit) and/or GST/HST credit to which you are entitled. If you have registered with their “My Account” service, you can view the marital information CRA has on file for you and you can change your information online. If you are not registered online, inform CRA of your new status and the date of the change in a letter or by completing form RC65, Marital Status Change.
If you or your new spouse or common-law partner have children who are residing with you, CRA will move all the children to the female parent’s account. If you are married or living common-law with a person of the same-sex, one of you will receive the UCCB for all the children. To continue receiving the UCCB, you and your spouse or common-law partner have to file a tax return every year, even if you have no income to report.
If you did not apply for the GST/HST credit on your tax return and your status is now separated, widowed, or divorced, you can apply now by writing a letter to your tax centre. Once they review your request, they will send you a GST/HST credit notice advising you of the amount of your GST/HST credit.
If your marital status has changed, you will need to file a new Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) Advance Payment application. If you do not file a new WITB Advance Payment application, your WITB advance payments will be stopped until a new application is received. The application deadline date is August 31.
If you receive your benefits by Direct Deposit, please inform CRA if your information needs to be modified. This is to prevent benefits from being deposited into the wrong bank account. If you are not on Direct Deposit, you may want to consider registering.
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3600 Steeles Ave East
Markham ON L3R 9Z7