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Personal Income Tax  ->  Wills and Estates -> Gifts and Inheritances

Attribution Rules re Gifts, Transfers, or Loans to a Spouse or a Related Minor Child

Income Tax Act s 74.1(1), s 74.1(2), s 74.2(1), 74.5(2)

Attribution Rules re Related Minor Child

If income-producing property, or money which is used to purchase income-producing property, is transferred or loaned to a related minor, either directly or indirectly, or by means of a trust, the income from the property will normally be attributed back to the person giving the gift or loan.  The capital gains from the property will be considered capital gains of the minor.

A related minor, for purposes of the attribution rules, is a child who is under 18 years old and does not deal with the individual at arm's length, or is a niece or nephew of the individual.

Attribution Rules re Spouse or Common-Law Partner

If income-producing property, or money which is used to purchase income-producing property, is transferred or loaned to a spouse or common-law partner, either directly or indirectly, or by means of a trust, the income and capital gains from the property will normally be attributed back to the person giving the gift or loan.  When spouses have a joint investment account, the income from that account should be claimed by each spouse based on their contributions to the account.  If the contributions are made 50% by each spouse, then the split will be 50/50.  It is necessary to have records that will substantiate the contributions by each spouse.  See our information on joint accounts in our article on How to Minimize Probate Fees.

You can gift or lend money to your spouse to contribute to their TFSA, and there will be no attribution back to you.  A TFSA does not produce taxable income.

No Attribution re Canada Pension Plan Splitting

The attribution rules specifically exclude Canada Pension Plan pension split with a spouse from being attributed back to the originating spouse.

Pension Splitting on the Tax Return

When pension splitting is done on a tax return, it is likely that the lower income spouse will have a refund of the income tax deduction that is also split in relation to the pension.  S. 153(2) of the Income Tax Act states that the tax withheld in relation to the split-pension amount is deemed to have been deducted or withheld on account of the pension transferee's tax and not on account of the pensioner's tax.  Thus, the tax refund will not be subject to attribution.  See the following pension splitting example re an Ontario senior:

    - Spouse A receives $80,000 of eligible pension income, no other income.

    - Spouse B receives no income.

    - On their tax returns, spouse A splits with spouse B the $80,000 pension income and the $17,400 of tax that was withheld from the pension.

    - This results in a $4,166 refund of tax to spouse B, which spouse B can use to invest without the income from the investments being attributed back to spouse A.

    - Since spouse B has no income other than the $4,166 of tax refund, they cannot invest more than this without the income from the investments being attributed back to spouse A.

Income Earned From Income

In transfers to a related minor or to a spouse or common-law partner, any income earned from the original income (secondary income) will be considered income of the minor or spouse.  An example would be where dividend-producing shares are transferred to a minor or spouse, and dividends are used to purchase more shares.  The dividends from the additional shares would be income of the minor or spouse.

No Attribution re Interest-Bearing Loans

The attribution rules do not apply to loans where interest is charged at a rate at least equivalent to the specified rate of interest.  See our income splitting article on lending to a lower-income spouse or child.

In Kind Transfers Are Not On Your T5008

If you have gifted investments to someone else by means of an in kind transfer, this transfer will not be on the tax documents provided by your brokerage.  The brokerage will issue a T5008 and a trading summary showing your purchases and sales of investments in your non-registered account, to help you prepare Schedule 3 of your tax return.  For some reason, in kind transfers are not shown on these documents.  You are still required to report these disposals on Schedule 3 if they are in kind transfers to your registered accounts, or to someone else's account.

See also

Tax Issues re Investing, and Tax Treatment of Different Types of Investments

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resources

IT511R Interspousal and Certain Other Transfers and Loans of Property (Archived)

Revised: March 08, 2020

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