Pension income splitting requirements

You (the pensioner) may be able to jointly elect with your spouse or common-law partner (the pension transferee) to split your eligible pension income if you meet all of the requirements:

  • you are married or in a common-law partnership with each other in the year and were not, because of a breakdown in your marriage or common-law partnership, living separate and apart from each other at the end of the year and for a period of 90 days or more beginning in the year (see the note below); and
  • you were both residents of Canada on December 31 of the year; or
    • if deceased in the year, resident in Canada on the date of death; or
    • if bankrupt in the year, resident in Canada on December 31 of the year in which the tax year (pre- or post-bankruptcy) ends.
  • you received pension income in the year that qualifies for the pension income amount.

What is eligible pension income?

Eligible pension income is generally the total of the following amounts received by the pensioner in the year (these amounts also qualify for the pension income amount):

  • the taxable part of life annuity payments from a superannuation or pension fund or plan; and
  • if they are received as a result of the death of a spouse or common-law partner, or if the pensioner is 65 years of age or older at the end of the year:
    • annuity and registered retirement income fund (including life income fund) payments;
    • registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) annuity payments; and
    • certain amounts received under a retirement compensation arrangement.

Pension income that is not eligible

The following amounts received by the pensioner are not eligible for pension income splitting:

  • old age security payments;
  • Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan;
  • any foreign source pension income that is tax-free in Canada because of a tax treaty that entitles you to claim a deduction at line 256;
  • income from a United States individual retirement account (IRA); or
  • amounts from a RRIF included on line 115 and transferred to an RRSP, another RRIF or an annuity.