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Spousal RRSPs

Share the Benefits

A Spousal RRSP is a registered investment that is made in the name of your spouse. You can contribute to your personal plan and make a separate contribution to a plan set up in the name of your spouse1. The contributing partner claims the tax deduction and the lower-income partner owns the plan.
A Spousal RRSP helps you defer taxes immediately, and reduce your combined taxes in retirement.  If one spouse has a significantly higher income now, or expects to have a significantly higher retirement income, you should consider taking advantage of a Spousal RRSP.
Spousal RRSPs are one of the few opportunities for income splitting for couples.  By equalizing each spouse's retirement income, the overall tax bill is reduced by keeping both spouses in a lower tax bracket.  Income-splitting is particularly beneficial when most people need it – in retirement.

A spousal RSP is also a way to defer taxes if you are no longer able to contribute to a personal RRSP because of your age.  Even if you’re over 71, as long as your spouse is 71 or younger you can contribute to his or her Spousal RRSP and still claim a tax deduction.

How Much Can I Contribute?

Your Spousal RRSP contribution, when combined with your personal RRSP contribution, may not exceed your personal RRSP deduction limit.

Canadian taxpayers 71 years of age or younger can make annual contributions up to 18% of their earnings up to a limit set by the federal government. 

Your personal RRSP contribution limit for the current year can be found on your previous year's Notice of Assessment, which the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sends out every year after you file your income tax return.  You an also call the CRA T.I.P.S. line (1-800-267-6999).  This service is available from mid-September through the end of April each year.  Callers must provide their Social Insurance Number, date of birth and total income from line 150 of the previous year's income tax return.

1. Under Canada Revenue Agency rules, the definition of spouse includes common-law spouses.  If you have lived in a conjugal relationship for one year or more, or live together and have a child, you can make a Spousal RRSP contribution.


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