Is My Spouse Entitled to My Corporate Tax Returns In Separation or Divorce?

Owning your own corporation has lots of advantages – but none of them are in Family Court, where owning your own corporation makes things much more difficult

The information about your corporation is important in separation and divorce for two reasons:

1. Your shares in your corporation are an asset, which almost always falls into the property calculations for the “equalization of Net Family Property” in separation.

2. Your income for support purposes (child support and spousal support) is based on how much you can get in your pocket, not what your tax returns say. Corporations offer a lot of ways to lower your income for tax purposes, but not for support purposes.

Section 21 and Section 25 of the Child Support Guidelines list the types of documents, information and other disclosures that are needed to calculate a person’s income for the purposes of determining support. (Determining how much income a corporation makes is usually important for determining the corporation’s value for property division purposes too.) However, more information, documents and disclosure may be needed than just what is listed in those two sections. Other documents and information may be needed to understand or verify what is in the disclosure listed in sections 21 and 25 of the Child Support Guidelines (or to properly value the company.)

While it is unlikely that your wife will need your corporate tax returns for tax purposes, unless she is a shareholder in the corporation, she is entitled to a lot of information in relation to your corporation to resolve the issues arising from your separation and divorce. While your corporation may be a separate legal entity and separate from you for other areas of law, in Family Court (and other family law processes), the income and assets belonging to a corporation that you control are considered to be yours (and not the separate property of the corporation). 

To understand where you stand with regard to all the legal issues that arise from your separation, you should consult a good family lawyer who can give you advice particular to your situation. To speak to Certified Specialist in Family Law, Toronto Divorce Lawyer, John Schuman, call the number at the top of this page, or use the form below. Until you can meet with a lawyer, you might want to watch this video to avoid some common mistakes that separated people make. You will also want to pick up a copy of this easy-to-understand best-selling book on Ontario Family Law because it explains most family law issues, including support, property division and the challenges of being self-employed, your options for resolving matters with your spouse, and some tips to stay out of trouble.

John Schuman Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law book cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of parenting cases (parenting time and decision making), child support, spousal support, property division, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback. But to understand how the law works precisely in your situation, it is always best to speak to a good Family Law Lawyer.

To comment on this article, or to contact John Schuman, please use the form below.

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