When you invest outside of a tax-free or tax-deferred plan, do you invest through your own account even though your spouse is in a lower tax bracket? If thats the case, you may be missing an opportunity to reduce taxes.
It would be better for you to pay part or all of your spouses household expenses (if they are earning income) and have them invest their freed-up funds through their own account or a household account. Then the familys investment returns would be taxed at their lower rate.
If your spouse has little or no earned income you can lend them money to invest. The returns will be taxed in their hands as long as you meet Canada Revenue Agencys conditions, such as charging a prescribed rate. Im told that rate is now a miniscule 1%, at least until March 31, 2010. Thats a record low and its tempting to lock it in before it starts going back up again.
There are many more things you can do with your spouse to lower household taxes. For more details, check out the article, Lower taxes for you and your spouse. The money saved could get your loved one a really great gift for Valentines Day.