Can I combine spousal and personal RRSPs into one account?

Gena Katz, a chartered accountant and principal with Ernst and Young, has the answer.

Gena Katz 17 July, 2003 | 1:00PM
Dear Expert:

My wife who earns less than I do has her own RRSP, I have my own RRSP and for the past few years I have been contributing to a spousal RRSP. All are self-directed plans, and on each of these we have to pay an annual $125 administration fee for a total of $375, which of course is not tax-deductible. Can my wife combine her plan and the spousal plan into one, thus saving one fee?

Expert Answer:

Yes it is possible to combine a spousal plan and an individual plan, as long as both plans have the same annuitant. However, when the two plans are combined, the combined plan will be considered a spousal plan. The only implication is that the attribution rules for RRSPs may apply to this plan; if funds are withdrawn from the plan and a contribution has been made by the non-annuitant spouse in the year or in the immediate two preceding years, the withdrawal will be taxed in the non-annuitant spouse's hands (up to the amount of contribution made in the period). If you don't anticipate withdrawing funds from the plan until retirement, this will likely not be an issue for you. Note that minimum RRIF withdrawals and not subject to this attribution rule.

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Gena Katz

Gena Katz