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Family Law Tax Matters Toolkit for Clients & Lawyers

Updated: Apr 10, 2023


In Collaboration with Justice Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and Finance Canada, the Canadian Bar Association has updated their popular Tax Matters Toolkits. These documents are useful for clients going through separation and divorce. The documents also help family law lawyers understand how tax rules might affect a client's future finances on separation or divorce. Various tax credits, benefits and deductions are described.

More specifically, here is what is covered in each Toolkit:

Tax Matters Toolkit (for clients)

WORKING WITH THE TAX SYSTEM

  • Thinking about the tax consequences

  • Asking questions

  • Keeping receipts and important information

  • Filing tax forms

  • Getting advice

  • Definitions

IMPORTANT CRA FORMS RELATED TO SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

  • About a change in marital status

  • About support payments

  • About RRSPs, RRIFs, and SPPs

Tax Matters Toolkit (for lawyers)

SEPARATION AND THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY

  • Filing the T1 Annual Income Tax Return

  • Notifying CRA of a change in marital status

  • Documents supporting Change in Marital Status

  • When are you Living apart?

  • Same house/separate living quarters

  • Couch surfing/no new fixed address

DEDUCTION FOR LEGAL FEES

  • Legal basis for deduction of legal fees

  • CRA approach

PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE" RULES

  • "Principal residence" criteria

  • Issues at the time of separation or divorce

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

  • Characteristics of spousal support

  • Spousal support is paid before there is a written agreement or court order in place

  • "Specific Purpose" and Third-Party Payments

  • How to notify CRA of spousal support payments

  • Spousal support payers – Deductions for spousal support payments

  • Spousal support recipients – Reporting spousal support payments

  • Spousal support payers – reducing taxes withheld at the source

  • Spousal support recipients – increasing taxes withheld at the source

  • Deductions for the payer – a year of relationship breakdown

ARREARS AND LUMP-SUM PAYMENTS

  • Tax impact of a lump-sum payment on the payer

  • Qualifying Retroactive Lump-sum Payments (QRLSP)

  • Tax impact of a QRLSP on the recipient

CHILD SUPPORT

  • Tax treatment: written agreements and court orders from before May 1997

  • Federal Child Support Guidelines

CHILD BENEFITS

  • Canada Child Tax Benefit

  • Child Disability Benefit

  • Eligible dependent credit

  • Child Care Expense Deduction

  • Tuition, Education, and Textbook Credit

PENSIONS

  • Canada Pension Plan

  • CPP: credit splitting

  • CPP: end of pension sharing

  • Payment of taxes at source when pension plan benefits paid

REGISTERED RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLANS (RRSPS) AND REGISTERED RETIREMENT INCOME FUNDS (RRIFS).

  • Transfer of RRSP or RRIF funds to a former spouse or common-law partner

APPENDIX – DRAFT TAX LETTER



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