how does an involutary seperation (spouse in long term care) affect taxes? Can returns still be filed jointly?

When a spouse enters long term care, it is considered an involuntary separation at least for GIS. Do returns now have to be filed separately or can they still be filed jointly? What about pension splitting? The spouse in long term care has the higher income and pension income was split last year. How should it be handled this year?

Answer

No, they should not be filed jointly. Each person will miss out on various financial benefits they may otherwise receive as a "single" person.  Since they are not co-habitating in the same residence, they are no longer treated as a married couple.  The pension can no longer be split; however, the medical expenses will be much higher for the spouse in the care facility. You can claim the room rental paid for in the care facility as a medical expense. Only personal items such as hair salon, non-prescription lotions or personal grooming items, etc, do not qualify.

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