Nicolas Godbout, fiscaliste et planificateur financier, M. Fisc., Pl. Fin

Home office expenses partially paid by spouse

Canadian tax  —   —  Share


Hi Mr. Godbout,

I am writing to clarify a specific point in this less busy time leading up to the end of the year. Recently, I made adjustment requests for the years 2012 to 2019 to claim office expenses to which I was entitled. Everything was accepted by both levels of government and I received my reimbursements. However, there is a difference between the two instances regarding the amount of expenses granted since my marriage in 2018.

An employee of Revenu Québec called me on September 15 to ask me about expenses since my marriage. She asked me if my husband also paid the rent and heating expenses. The expenses are debited entirely from my personal account, but the contracts are in our two names. She told me that I had to halve the expenses because in fact, there are two of us to pay.

To be in good standing with Revenue Canada, I called them this morning and spoke to an agent who told me that he had never heard such a thing from Revenu Quebec. And that if they have more specific questions, they will ask me in the future. But that I have no action to take for the moment.

So here are my questions:

  • For my 2021 income tax return, do I have to give you two different amounts, i.e. 100% of the expenses (rent + electricity) for Revenue Canada and 50% of these expenses for Revenu Quebec?

  • Do you need the new 2018 and 2019 notices of assessment for your files?

  • Should I correct 2020 for the provincial, or do I have to wait for them to do it since the agent told me she would?

Thank you for your answers.

Mrs D.

Hi Mrs D.,

Thank you for your email. Home office expenses are the same for both levels of government. The Revenu Québec agent has misled you. What she says should be challenged; you should contact her again.

Normally, it is recognized that expenses are deductible based on the percentage of area used by the home office. If you use 20% of the apartment as an office, you deduct 20% of the expenses for the home and not 20% of the share you pay for that home. It is therefore according to the domicile (total expenditure), and not according to your share that it is calculated.

Also, in a context where a couple pays certain family expenses, it is generally accepted that they count in full, regardless of who pays them since households can distribute the expenses in different ways. A couple might have an arrangement that one person pays the rent while the other pays for the couple’s groceries and car. This, however, prevents either of the two people from claiming a portion of the rent as a home office.

If you need help finding the references, we can do the research for you to help document your adjustments. We can also represent you with the government if you want us to speak with a Revenu Québec agent.

Nicolas Godbout, M Fisc., Pl. Fin