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How is the tax system unfair?

Senior Couples vs. Senior Singles

Homeowners vs. Non-homeowners

There are two major advantages that senior couples have over senior singles:

  • Pension income splitting: Allows someone to transfer up to 50% of their pension income to their spouse or common-law partner. By doing so, one or both of them may fall into a lower tax bracket. On top of this, their lowered tax bracket may allow them to qualify for more senior benefits such as OAS and Age Tax Credit.

  • RRIF/RRSP transfer:  When a partner dies, the RRIF/RRSP of that person can be transferred to the remaining partner.

  • TFSA transfer: When a partner dies, if the remaining partner has been deemed Successor Holder, the total amount of the TFSA can be transferred to the Successor Holder, and can continue to grow tax free.


Single seniors have no similar tax breaks. Considering that the cost of living for a single person is 2/3 of a couple's, this is extremely unfair. 

There are many benefits to owning a home. Once the home is paid for, the cost of living in that home, including property taxes and upkeep, is almost always less than the cost of monthly rent. 

However, the major benefit is:

  • Principal residency tax exemption: When the owner sells the home, the total amount of the sale is tax free. For most homeowners, their home is their main asset and an excellent way to pass on inheritance money to their loved ones.

For seniors who do not own a home, however, there is no similar tax break. First, the senior is saddled with higher living costs for housing, because of having to pay monthly rent. Also most of this senior's assets are in cash, either in an RRIF/RRSP or a personal corporation, which will be fully taxed upon their death, sometimes up to 50%.

Read our 2023 Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Finance Committee

Ahead of budget consultations

Read our quick Fact Sheet Curious to learn more? This two page summary outlines the issues.

How could the tax system be corrected?

It would be up to the government to decide what methods to use to make the tax system fairer for singles. Here are some suggestions it could consider:

Senior Couples vs. Senior Singles

   Implement tax breaks for senior singles

To level the playing field between senior couples and senior singles, consider these two options:

  • Allow senior singles to transfer their RRIF/RRSP funds upon death to a beneficiary of their choice. This can be a relative, friend, or whomever they choose. This will give the single senior the same privilege couples already have, whereby they can transfer their RRIF/RRSP funds upon death to their partner.

  • Adjust taxes on senior singles to reflect the fact that they need 2/3 of the income of a couple. For example, if both a couple and a single have an income of $100,000, the single should pay tax on only $66,000 while the couple pays tax on $100,000. 


  • Eliminate all tax breaks given to couples (eg. income splitting, RIFF transfers), so their terms of taxation are equal to a single person's. 

Homeowners vs. Non-homeowners

 Implement taxes on home sales


Understandably, this is the one change most home owners fear. But it could be done gradually and with exceptions.

  • Start with a small tax (1%?) on the sale of homes of $4 million and over. In the following year, move it to $3 million (1.5%?) and so on. 

  • Make the first $500,000 of all homes tax free.

 Implement tax breaks for non homeowners

  • Make a portion of their rent tax deductible. 

  • Make 50% of their estate tax free upon death. 

Read more about our cause

These articles illustrate why change is needed. Click the articles to read them in full.
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