Pension Income Can Be Split in Year of Death

Volume No. 08-11

“Eligible pension income relating to the portion of the year in which both spouses were alive can be split.”

Section 60.03 of the Income Tax Act provides for the splitting of qualifying pension income between spouses for 2007 and subsequent years.

For the income-splitting provisions to apply, both spouses must be pensioners for the portion of the year in question (i.e., receive eligible pension income in the taxation year and reside in Canada on December 31) and both spouses must be eligible pension transferees (essentially all spouses, including common law).

On the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse is no longer considered married to the deceased. In a recent technical interpretation (2008-0275731E5), the CRA confirmed that, although the spouses are not considered to be married at the end of the year of death, that part of the eligible pension income relating to the portion of the year in which both spouses were alive can be split.

It is the CRA’s view that the calculation of the maximum amount that can be transferred is equal to 50% of the eligible pension income, pro-rated for the number of months (including any part month) that both spouses were alive, divided by the total number of months in the year in which the surviving spouse was alive. For example, if a spouse died in February, the maximum amount of the surviving spouse’s pension income that could be split and included on the deceased’s terminal return would be 50% of the surviving spouse’s eligible pension income times 2/12. Form T1032 will still have to be filed to permit the election to transfer the pension income. Presumably, that election can be signed by the deceased’s legal representative.

It is also the CRA’s view that the split pension amount cannot be included on the deceased spouse’s “rights or things” return.


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