This question is for those familiar with Canada's income tax laws.

My wife and I have maxed out our TFSAs. We also max contribute to our kid's RESPs. We also contribute a healthy amount to our RRSPs every year.

We now have some extra money, and I'm thinking of opening — for one of us — a non-registered investment account, for stock purchases.

Should our non-registered account be opened in the name of any particular person, in regards to what their income is (i.e. highest, or lowest)? Or, should I get us both an account, and split the extra investment money we have between the two? Does it even matter? What other options might there be?

  • 1
    What do you mean when you say "max contribute to our kid's RESPs"? How many children are there? Did you already deposit the maximum $50,000 per beneficiary or do you mean that you are depositing only enough each year to get the maximum annual CESG grant amount ($2,500/year/child, to yield $500/year/child CESG?) If you are only doing the latter, then you could, in theory, deposit an additional $14,000/child lump sum, without risking your future CESG grants, because there's a maximum limit of $7,200 CESG, i.e. on $36,000 contributed. See here. Aug 14, 2014 at 1:37
  • (Sorry for the long comment, but it was incidental to your primary question, so not an answer. :) Aug 14, 2014 at 1:40
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    One thing you should also be aware of: Your choices are not merely restricted to (a) an account for you, (b) an account for your spouse, or (c) an account for each of you. There is a fourth option: (d) A joint account, where both of your names would be on one single investment account. Each option may have merits depending on your situation. Aug 14, 2014 at 1:43
  • Yes, the 2500/year RESP contribution. But I see where you're going with this, and it's not a bad idea... thanks!
    – Wes
    Aug 14, 2014 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


It should be in the name(s) of whomever puts money in the account. When filing your taxes there will be a question or space to mark the percentage of income in each others name.

If you're just looking for small amounts of income splitting, then it's legal for the higher earning spouse to pay household expenses and then the lower earning spouse can save all or some of his/her income.

Whether or not to have 2 accounts or not has more to do with estate planning and minimizing account fees if applicable. It can also help in a small way for asset allocation if that's based on family assets and also, minimizing commissions.

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