In 2015, CIBC conducted a poll to see how many Canadian business owners had a business transition plan. Almost half of them didn’t have one.
No business owner likes to think about handing over their business they’ve built from the ground up. But the fact of the matter is, you will have to do it eventually. Even more concerning, what if you were to become ill or incapacitated? Making a decision of this magnitude during trying times would not be ideal.
Your two main choices for passing on your business are:
Transferring ownership to a successor of your choice (this can either be a family member or a non-family member such as a key employee)
When you die, all your capital property is deemed to have been sold immediately before your death. This includes your business. This means that capital gains taxes will be charged on whatever the fair market value (FMV) of your business is considered to be at the time of your death.
The higher the FMV of your business, the higher the capital gains taxes that will be charged. Your successors may not have the funds to pay these taxes which may force them to sell the business in order to fund the tax liability; thus, not to reaping the benefits of all your hard work as intended.
The good news is that there’s a way to protect your business; an estate freeze.
What is an estate freeze?
For the business owner, an estate freeze can be an integral part of your estate planning strategy. The purpose of an estate freeze is to lock-in (freeze) the value of the business, freeing the successor from the tax liability that may arise should the business’ value increase.
This is how an estate freeze works:
As a business owner, you can lock in or “freeze” the value of an asset as it stands today. Your successors will still have to pay taxes on your business when they inherit it – but not as much as if you hadn’t “frozen” your business and your company had increased in FMV.
You continue to maintain control of your business. As well, you can receive income from your business while it is frozen.
Your successor now benefits from the business’ future growth, but they won’t have to pay for any tax increases that occur before they inherit the business.
Freezing the value of your business can help you plan your tax spending properly. Selecting to “freeze” your business can help give you peace of mind that your successors won’t have to spend a considerable part of their inheritance on excessive taxes.
What happens when you freeze your estate?
When you execute an estate freeze, the first thing you need to do is exchange your common shares for preferred shares. Your new preferred shares will have a fixed (a.k.a. “frozen”) value equal to the company’s present fair market value. Make sure you have everything in place to properly determine the fair market value before you exchanging your shares.
Your company will then issue common shares, which your successors subscribe to for a nominal price (for example, 1 dollar). Note that your successors don’t own the stock yet – subscribing to the stocks means they will take ownership of the stocks at a future date.
As part of your estate freeze, you must have a shareholders’ agreement ready to bring in new shareholders. This agreement should list any terms and conditions related to the purchase, redemption, or transfer of your company’s common shares.
1. You can choose to receive some retirement income from your preferred shares by cashing in a fixed amount gradually. This action will reduce your preferred shares’ total value, reducing income tax liability upon death. For example:
Your shares are worth $10,000,000, and you need $100,000 annually. You can then redeem $100,000 worth of shares.
If you live for 30 more after you freeze your estate, you will have withdrawn $3,000,000 of your shares. This reduces the value of your shares to $7,000,000.
At your death, your tax liability is lower than it would have been had your shares remained at the original value of $10,000,000.
2. You can opt to maintain voting control in your company. This can be complicated (so you should consult a licensed professional), but you can set up your estate freeze so that you still have voting control in your business with your preferred stock.
How you can benefit from an estate freeze
You get peace of mind. The most important benefit to a tax freeze is that you know, whoever your successors are, they will receive what they are entitled to and not have to deal with any unpredictable tax burdens. Since an estate freeze fixes the maximum amount of taxes to be paid, you can properly plan how much money to set aside for this tax liability. One option is to have a life insurance policy equal to the amount of the tax liability, with your successor as the beneficiary, so you know they will have enough money to pay for these taxes.
You encourage participation in growing your business. Your chosen successors will be motivated to help the company grow, as they know they will benefit in the future.
Further tax reductions. If your shares qualify for lifetime capital gains exemption, then an estate freeze also helps further reduce your successor’s tax liability.
Is an estate freeze the right strategy for you?
There are a few things you need to consider when deciding if an estate freeze is right for you or not.
Retirement funding. What kind of retirement savings, if any, do you have? If you have money put aside in RRSPs, TFSAs, or even have a pension from a previous job, then an estate freeze may be the right choice for you. If you were planning to sell your company and live off the proceeds in retirement, then it likely is not the right choice for you.
Succession plans. Do you have someone in mind who would be a suitable successor? Just because you think your child, spouse, or best employee may want to take over your business doesn’t mean they do. Talk to anyone you are considering making a successor and see if they are both interested in and able to keep your business going.
Family relationships. Trying to figure out how to select a successor if you have several children may be challenging. It can cause a lot of strain amongst your children if they are all named successors if only some of them are actively interested in running the business. You may want to consider only making one child a successor and providing for your other children in different ways, such as making them a life insurance beneficiary.
If you decide to pursue an estate freeze for your business, you are helping plan for your heirs’ future and cutting down on the amount of taxes that will eventually have to be paid. That being said – an estate freeze can be complicated, and all the steps must be performed correctly. Be sure to consult an experienced professional be taking any steps to freeze your estate.
On April 20, 2021, the B.C. Minister of Finance announced the 2021 budget. We have highlighted the most important things you need to know.
Requirement to repay B.C Emergency Benefit for Workers has been waived
If you are self-employed and received the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, you will no longer be required to repay this benefit if you would have qualified for it based on your gross income (instead of your net income). This mirrors a federal change to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Home Owner Grant threshold change
The budget confirmed a previously announced increase to the Home Owner Grant to $1.625 million (from $1.525 million) for the 2021 tax year. This grant helps reduce the amount of property taxes you pay.
PST exemption for electric bicycles
As of April 21, 2021, electric bicycles and tricycles will be exempt from provincial sales tax (PST). Also, electrical conversion kits and parts and services for bicycles and tricycles will be exempt from PST.
Elimination of provincial sales tax refunds on specific vehicle transactions
The provincial sales tax refund for motor vehicles purchased and resold within seven days has been eliminated. This elimination will apply on a date still to be set by regulation.
Carbon tax increase
The budget confirms a previously delayed increase to the carbon tax rate. As of April 1, 2021, carbon tax rates were set at $45 per tonne. They will increase to $50 per tonne on April 1, 2022.
Tobacco tax increase
The budget increases the tax rate on tobacco products as of July 1, 2021:
On cigarettes and heated tobacco products (vaping), taxes will increase from 29.5 cents to 32.5 cents per cigarette or heated tobacco product.
On loose tobacco, taxes increase from 39.5 cents per gram to 65 cents per gram.
Changes to the speculation and vacancy tax
Corporations owned by government agents are now exempt from the speculation and vacancy tax.
Also, the following changes have been made and are retroactive to November 27, 2018:
Properties owned by a trustee for a trust that benefits a registered charity can claim an exemption from the speculation and vacancy tax.
If someone has a beneficial interest in a property contingent on the death of another individual, they will no longer be included in the definition of “beneficial owners” for this tax.
We can help you assess the impact of tax changes in this year’s budget on your finances or business. Give us a call today!
On April 19, 2021, the Federal Government released their 2021 budget. We have broken down the highlights of the financial measures in this budget into three different sections:
Personal Tax Changes
Extending Covid -19 Emergency Business Supports
All of the following COVID-19 Emergency Business Supports will be extended from June 5, 2021, to September 25, 2021, with the subsidy rates gradually decreasing:
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – The maximum wage subsidy is currently 75%. It will decrease down to 60% for July, 40% for August, and 20% for September.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – The maximum rent subsidy is currently 65%. It will decrease down to 60% for July, 40% for August, and 20% for September.
Lockdown Support Program – The Lockdown Support Program rate of 25% will be extended from June 4, 2021, to September 25, 2021.
Only organizations with a decline in revenues of more than 10% will be eligible for these programs as of July 4, 2021. The budget also includes legislation to give the federal government authority to extend these programs to November 20, 2021, should either the economy or the public health situation make it necessary.
Canada Recovery Hiring Program
The federal budget introduced a new program called the Canada Recovery Hiring Program. The goal of this program is to help qualifying employers offset costs taken on as they reopen. An eligible employer can claim either the CEWS or the new subsidy, but not both.
The proposed subsidy will be available from June 6, 2021, to November 20, 2021, with a subsidy of 50% available from June to August. The Canada Recovery Hiring Program subsidy will decrease down to 40% for September, 30% for October, and 20% for November.
Interest Deductibility Limits
The federal budget for 2021 introduces new interest deductibility limits. This rule limits the amount of net interest expense that a corporation can deduct when determining its taxable income. The amount will be limited to a fixed ratio of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (sometimes referred to as EBITDA).
The fixed ratio will apply to both existing and new borrowings and will be phased in at 40% as of January 1, 2023, and 30% for January 1, 2024.
Support for small and medium-size business innovation
The federal budget also includes 4 billion dollars to help small and medium-sized businesses innovate by digitizing and taking advantage of e-commerce opportunities. Also, the budget provides additional funding for venture capital start-ups via the Venture Capital Catalyst Program and research that will support up to 2,500 innovative small and medium-sized firms.
Personal Tax Changes
Tax treatment and Repayment of Covid-19 Benefit Amounts
The federal budget includes information on both the tax treatment and repayment of the following COVID-19 benefits:
Canada Emergency Response Benefits or Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefits
Individuals who must repay a COVID-19 benefit amount can claim a deduction for that repayment in the year they received the benefit (by requesting an adjustment to their tax return), not the year they repaid it. Anyone considered a non-resident for income tax purposes will have their COVID-19 benefits included in their taxable income.
Disability Tax Credit
Eligibility changes have been made to the Disability Tax Credit. The criteria have been modified to increase the list of mental functions considered necessary for everyday life, expand the list of what can be considered when calculating time spent on therapy, and reduce the requirement that therapy is administered at least three times each week to two times a week (with the 14 hours per week requirement remaining the same).
Old Age Security
The budget enhances Old Age Security (OAS) benefits for recipients who will be 75 or older as of June 2022. A one-time, lump-sum payment of $500 will be sent out to qualifying pensioners in August 2021, with a 10% increase to ongoing OAS payments starting on July 1, 2022.
Waiving Canada Student Loan Interest
The budget also notes that the government plans to introduce legislation that will extend waiving of any interest accrued on either Canada Student Loans or Canada Apprentice Loans until March 31, 2023.
Support for Workforce Transition
Support to help Canadians transition to growing industries was also included in the budget. The support is as follows:
$250 million over three years to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to help workers upskill and redeploy to growing industries.
$298 million over three years for the Skills for Success Program to provide training in skills for the knowledge economy.
$960 million over three years for the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to help design and deliver training relevant to the needs of small and medium businesses.
Federal Minimum Wage
The federal budget also introduces a proposed federal minimum wage of $15 per hour that would rise with inflation.
New Housing Rebate
The GST New Housing Rebate conditions will be changed. Previously, if two or more individuals were buying a house together, all of them must be acquiring the home as their primary residence (or that of a relation) to qualify for the GST New Housing Rebate. Now, the GST New Housing Rebate will be available as long as one of the purchasers (or a relation of theirs) acquires the home as their primary place of residence. This will apply to all agreements of purchase and sale entered into after April 19, 2021.
Unproductive use of Canadian Housing by Foreign Non-Resident Owners
A new tax was introduced in the budget on unproductive use of Canadian housing by non-resident foreign owners. This tax will be a 1% tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate considered vacant or underused. This tax will be levied annually starting in 2022.
All residential property owners in Canada (other than Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada) must also file an annual declaration for the prior calendar year with the CRA for each Canadian residential property they own, starting in 2023. Filing the annual declaration may qualify owners to claim an exemption from the tax on their property if they can prove the property is leased to qualified tenants for a minimum period in a calendar year.
Excise Duty on Vaping and Tobacco
The budget also includes a new proposal on excise duties on vaping products and tobacco. The proposed framework would consist of:
A single flat rate duty on every 10 millilitres of vaping liquid as of 2022
An increase in tobacco excise duties by $4 per carton of 200 cigarettes and increases to the excise duty rates for other tobacco products such as tobacco sticks and cigars as of April 20, 2021.
Luxury Goods Tax
Finally, the federal budget proposed introducing a tax on certain luxury goods for personal use as of January 1, 2022.
For luxury cars and personal aircraft, the new tax is equal to the lesser of 10% of the vehicle’s total value or the aircraft, or 20% of the value above $100,000.
For boats over $250,000, the new tax is equal to the lesser of 10% of the full value of the boat or 20% of the value above $250,000.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the new federal budget may impact you, call us – we’d be happy to help you!
Tax season is upon us once again. But since 2020 was a year like no other, the 2021 tax-filing season will also be different. Both how we worked and where we worked changed for a lot of us in 2020.
Some Canadians got to work from home for the first time but saw no other disruption to their jobs. There was a much bigger disruption for other Canadians – they faced temporary or permanent job losses and had to supplement their incomes wide side gigs and emergency government programs.
The Canadian government has introduced some new tax credits and deductions in response to these changes. We’ve covered some of the highlights below.
Claiming home office expenses
With a sudden shutdown happening across the country in March 2020, many Canadians stopped commuting to the office and started working from home. As a response to this, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has offered a new way to claim home office expenses. If you:
Worked from home due to COVID-19 – for a minimum of 50 percent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks AND
Your employer did not reimburse you for your home office expenses.
You can claim $2 for each day – to a maximum of $400 for the year.
If you have more complicated or higher home office expenses, then your employer must provide you with a T2200 form, with a list of deductions included.
New Canada Training Credit
Suppose you are between the ages of 25 and 65 and taking courses to upgrade your skills from a college, university, or other qualifying institution. In that case, you can claim this new, refundable tax credit.
You can automatically accumulate $250 annually – and the new Canada Training Credit has a lifetime maximum of $5,000. You can claim this credit when you file your taxes.
Pandemic emergency funds
The emergency support programs helped a lot of Canadians avoid financial disaster. If you were one of the Canadians who received pandemic emergency funds, you must be aware of the tax implications.
If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), no taxes were withheld at source, so you will be taxed on the full amount. If you received the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), or Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB), the CRA withheld a 10% tax at source, so you may not owe additional taxes on this income.
New digital news subscription tax credit
This is a new, non-refundable tax credit that is calculated at 15 percent – and is eligible for up to a maximum of $500 in qualifying subscription expenses. To qualify for this credit, you must subscribe to one or more qualified Canadian journalism organizations – and you could save up to $75 a year thanks to this credit.
I’m here to help you understand where you owe taxes and how you can lower your tax bill. Give me a call today!
We’ve put together a financial calendar for 2021. It contains all the dates you need to know to make the most of your government benefits and investment options. Whether you want to bookmark this or print it out and post it somewhere prominent, you’ll have everything you need to know in one place!
We’ve provided information on:
The dates when the government distributes payments for the Canada Child Benefit, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS).
When GST/HST credit payments are issued – usually on the fifth day of January, April, July and October.
All the dates the Bank of Canada makes an interest rate announcement. A change in this interest rate (up or down) can impact a bank’s prime interest rates. This can then affect anything from the interest rate charged on your mortgage and line of credit to how much the Canadian dollar is worth against other currencies.
When you can start contributing to your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) for 2021, the contribution limit for 2021 is $6,000.
March 1st is the last day for your 2020 Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).
December 31st , 2021 is the last day for 2021 charitable contributions.
December 31st is the deadlines for various investment savings vehicle contributions, including your Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), as well as your RRSP if you turned 71 in 2021.
Tax filing deadlines for personal income tax, terminal tax returns for someone who died in 2020, self-employed individuals
Knowing all of this information here can help you keep on top of your finances if you’re expecting any government benefits. It can also make sure you don’t miss any critical tax or investment deadlines!
Tax packages will be available starting February 2021 – reach out to your accountant to get started on your taxes!
If you have any questions on how we can help with your 2021 finances, please contact us.
For the 2020 tax year, the Government of Canada introduced a temporary flat rate method to allow Canadians working from home this year due to Covid-19 to claim expenses of up to $400. Taxpayers will still be able to claim under the existing rules if they choose using the detailed method.
Each employee working from home who meets the eligibility criteria can use the temporary flat rate method to calculate their deduction for home office expenses.
To use this method to claim the home office expenses you paid, you must meet all of the following conditions:
You worked from home in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
You worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020
You are only claiming home office expenses and are not claiming any other employment expenses
Your employer did not reimburse you for all of your home office expensesWhat if your employer has reimbursed you for some of your home office expenses
You need to meet all of the above conditions to be eligible to use the Temporary flat rate method.
New eligible expenses
For the detailed method, the CRA has expanded the list of eligible expenses that can be claimed as work-space-in-the-home expenses to include reasonable home internet access fees. A comprehensive list of eligible home office expenses has also been created.
On November 30, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided the government’s fall economic update. The fall economic update provided information on the government’s strategy both for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its plan to help shape the recovery. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.
Corporate Tax Changes
Information on several subsidy programs was included in the update. These changes apply from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.
The government has provided an increase in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a maximum of 75% of eligible wages.
If you are eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (eligibility is based on your revenue decline), you can claim up to 65% of qualified expenses.
The Lockdown Support Subsidy has also been extended – if you are eligible, you can receive a 25% subsidy on eligible expenses.
Also, there were two other significant corporate tax changes:
Starting January 1, 2022, the government plans to tax international corporations that provide digital services in Canada if no international consensus on appropriate taxation has been reached.
The tax deferral on eligible shares paid by a qualifying agricultural cooperative to its members has been extended to 2026.
Personal Tax Changes
The following personal tax changes were included in the update:
The update confirmed the government’s plan to impose a $200,000 limit (based on fair market value) on taxing employee stock options granted after June 2021 at a preferential rate. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are not subject to these rules.
If you started working from home due to COVID-19, you could claim up to $400 in expenses.
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has temporarily been increased to include four additional payments. Depending on your income, you could receive up to $1200.
Additional modifications were proposed to how the “assistance holdback” amount is calculated for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). The goal of these modifications is to help RDSP beneficiaries who become ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit after 50 years of age.
Indirect Tax Changes
GST/HST changes impacting digital platforms were included in the update. They will be applicable as of July 1, 2021:
Foreign-based companies that sell digital products or services in Canada must collect and remit GST or HST on their taxable sales. Also, foreign vendors or digital platform operators with goods for sale via Canadian fulfillment warehouses must collect and remit GST/HST.
Short-term rental accommodation booked via a digital platform must charge GST/HST on their booking. The GST/HST rate will be based on the province or territory where the short-term accommodation is located.
And some good news on a GST/HST removal! As of December 6, and until further notice, the government will not charge GST/HST on eligible face masks and face shields.
A lot of changes came out of the fall update – and you may be feeling overwhelmed. But help is at hand!
Contact us to learn more about how these changes could impact your personal and business finances.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) $20,000 expansion available now
Now that we are reaching the end of the tax year, it’s an excellent time to review your finances. We’ve listed below some of the critical areas to consider and provide you with useful guidelines.
We have divided our tax planning tips into five sections:
Individual tax issues
Family tax issues
Managing your investments
Tax Deadlines for 2020 Savings
December 31, 2020:
If you reached the age of 71 in 2020, you can’t contribute to your RRSP after this date
Use up your TFSA contribution room
Contribute to an RESP to get the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the income-tested Canada Learning Bond (if eligible).
Contribute to an RDSP to get the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the income-tested Canada Disability Savings Bond (if eligible).
Investment counsel fees, interest and other expenses relating to investments
Some payments for child and spousal support
Fees for union and professional memberships
Student loan interest payments
Deductible legal fees
January 30, 2021
Interest on intra-family loans
The interest you must pay on employer loans to reduce your taxable benefit
March 1, 2021
Contributions to provincial labour-sponsored venture capital corporations
RRSP Repayment under Home Buyers Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan
Deductible contributions to a personal or spousal RRSP
Individual Tax Issues
To help Canadians deal with financial hardships due to job loss because of COVID-19, the Canadian government introduced several benefit programs. If you received any of these benefits, you should be aware of the tax ramifications.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was the first benefit program issued by the government and ran until September 26, 2020. If you received the CERB at all during 2020, the government will issue you at T4A, showing how much money you received from the CERB program. You must then declare that as income when filing your 2020 income tax return. Since no tax was taken off at the source, be sure to put aside money to pay for potential income taxes on your CERB income.
As of September 27, 2020, the government offered three replacement benefit programs:
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) This is for people impacted by COVID-19 who work but are not eligible for EI (e.g. self-employed).
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) This is for people who are employed cannot work due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid sick leave.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) This is for people who must miss work to care for a family member who has COVID-19.
For all three of these programs, the government will be withholding 10% in taxes upfront, but you may end up owing extra tax, depending on the rest of your income for 2020, so it’s important to set extra money aside for taxes.
Also, there is a unique condition for the CRB only. If you make over $38,000 in 2020 (excluding the CRB), you will have to pay back the CRB at a rate of 50 cents for each dollar of CRB you earned above the threshold.
If you paid interest on an eligible student loan in 2020, you can claim a non-refundable tax credit in the amount of interest you paid by December 31. In addition, you should be aware that student loan payments were frozen for six months – from March 30 to September 30. No interest accrued on student loans during that period.
Family Tax Issues
Check your eligibility for the Canada Child Benefit
(CCB) To receive the Canada Child Benefit in 2021/22, you need to file your tax returns for 2020 as the benefit is calculated using your family income from the previous year. Eligibility for the CCB depends on set criteria such as your family’s income, how many children you have, and how old they are. You may qualify for a full or partial amount, depending on whether you have full custody or shared custody.
Consider family income splitting
The CRA offers a prescribed low-interest rate on family loans. Therefore, it makes sense to consider setting up an income splitting loan arrangement with your family members. If you do this, you can potentially lock in a family loan at a low-interest rate of 1% and then invest the borrowed money into a higher return investment while benefitting from your family member’s lower tax status. Don’t forget to adhere to the Tax on Split Income rules.
Managing Your Investments
Use up your TFSA contribution room
If you can, it’s worth contributing the full $6,000 to your TFSA for 2020. You can also contribute more (up to $69,500) if you are 29 or older and haven’t made any previous TFSA contributions.
Contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a savings plan for parents and others to save for a child’s education. The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) will match up to 20% of your contributions up to a maximum of $2,500.
That means the CESG can add a maximum of $500 to an RESP each year. The grant room accumulates until your child turns 17. Therefore, any unused CESG amounts for the current year are automatically carried forward for possible use in the future years.
The income-tested Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is paid directly to a child’s RESP by the Canadian government to low-income families. No personal contributions are required to receive the CLB.
Contribute to a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a savings plan for parents and others to save for the financial security of a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). The government will pay a matching Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) up to 300% – depending on the beneficiary’s adjusted family net income and amount contributed.
Also, low-income Canadians with disabilities may be eligible for a Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB). If you qualify, it will be paid directly to your RDSP.
The government will pay matching grants or bonds into the RSDP up to and including the end of the year the recipient turns 49. Be aware that there is a 10-year carry-forward of CDSG and CDSB entitlements.
Donate securities to charity
Donating by year-end will provide you with tax savings. If you donate eligible securities or mutual funds, capital gains tax does not apply, and you can receive a tax receipt for their full market value. Also, the charity gets the full value of the securities.
Think about selling any investments with unrealized capital losses
It might be worth doing this before year-end to apply the loss against any net capital gains achieved during the last three years. The last trading date for 2020 for Canadian and US publicly traded stocks will be Tuesday December 29th in order to record the gain or loss in the 2020 taxation year.
Conversely, if you have investments with unrealized capital gains that cannot be offset with capital losses, it may be worth selling them after 2020 to be taxed on the income the following year.
Consider the timing of purchasing of certain non-registered investments
Suppose you are considering purchasing an interest-bearing investment like a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) with a maturity date of one year or more. In that case, you may consider delaying the purchase to the following year, so you don’t have to pay tax on accrued interest until 2021. You should also consider this with mutual funds that make taxable distributions before the end of 2020, consider delaying this until early 2021. Don’t pay taxes earlier than necessary.
Check if you have investments in a corporation
The new passive investment income rules apply to tax years from 2018 onwards. They state that the small business deduction is reduced for companies with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. Therefore, the small business deduction has entirely stopped for corporations that earn a passive investment income of more than $150,000.
Note – At a provincial level, both Ontario and New Brunswick do not follow the federal rules to limit access to the small business deduction.
Make the most of your RRSP
The deadline for making contributions to your RRSP for the year 2020 is March 1, 2021. The deduction limit for 2020 is limited to 18% of the income you earned in 2020, to a maximum of $27,230. This maximum amount is impacted by the following:
Any pension adjustment
Any previous unused RRSP contribution room
Any pension adjustment reversal.
Remember that deducting your RRSP contribution reduces your after-tax cost of making said contribution.
Check when your RRSP is due to end
If you reach the age of 71 during 2020, you must wind up your RRSP this year. You must make your final contribution to it by December 31, 2020.
Convert to RRIF before year-end
If you turned 65 during 2020 or are already older than 65, you’re entitled to a pension credit that can fully or partly offset the tax on the first $2,000 of eligible income annually. Consider setting up an RRIF before year-end to pay out $2,000 annually if you don’t have any other eligible pension income.
If you have any questions about your taxes for 2020, contact us – we can help you!
Over the last few weeks, the financial market has taken a downturn amidst fears over Coronavirus.
Understandably, you are concerned with your portfolio, it’s important to stay level-headed to avoid making financial missteps. However, staying level-headed doesn’t necessarily mean you sit there and do nothing. In fact, one consideration you can look is taking an active tax management approach.
Tax loss selling is a strategy to crystallize or realize any capital losses in your non-registered accounts so it can be used to offset any capital gains. There is no benefit to selling in your tax free savings account (TFSA) or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).
You can apply capital losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore we’ve outlined several situations that make sense for tax loss selling.
To better understand how tax-loss selling works, imagine a scenario in which someone invests $100,000, putting $50,000 in “Investment A” and $50,000 in “Investment B.”
At the end of one year, Investment A has risen by $10,000 and is now worth $60,000. Investment B has declined by $10,000 and is now worth $40,000.
Without tax-loss selling, the investor has a realized gain of $10,000 from Investment A, and has a potential tax bill of $1,500 (assuming he or she sells the shares and pays the 15% capital gains tax on the profit).
On the other hand, with tax-loss selling, selling Investment B to offset gains from Investment A. At the end of the year, instead of paying a $1,500 tax, the investor only has a potential tax bill of $0, for a potential tax savings of $1,500.
With the investor’s tax liability reduced by $1,500, that savings becomes money that can be invested back in the portfolio, used to maximize RRSP contributions, pay off debt, or spend as one pleases.
What Situations make sense for tax loss selling?
If you have an investment with a considerable capital gain, review through your current investments to see if there are any investments to sell at a loss.
Receiving a tax refund for a previous year. Keep in mind, you can apply capital losses back 3 years, therefore if you sold a property within the last 3 years for a considerable gain and paid the tax. This year, you could sell other investments at a loss and apply them back and get some tax paid back.
For tax deferral, with tax losses you can apply these losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore you may want to trigger a loss today because if you are planning to sell that property in the next year or so, it may rebound and therefore you will lose the chance to offset the gains.
Lastly, you may have an investment in your portfolio that’s a dud. It might be time to move on and put your money into a different investment so that you can apply the loss in the future.
Tax Loss Selling is Complicated
There are specific conditions required by CRA that must be met in order for this strategy to work such as making sure your loss is not declared a “superficial loss” (these rules are very restrictive). A superficial loss is when you sell and trigger a capital loss, you cannot deduct the loss if you or an affiliate purchase an identical security within 30 days before or after your settlement date.
Another condition is that the sale of assets is prior to the year-end deadline (this varies by calendar year). You also need to make sure you have accurate information on the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your investment. When you file your taxes, any losses must be first used to offset capital gains in the current tax year, then any remaining losses can be carried back.
Before engaging in tax loss selling, you should contact us directly so we can make the strategy works for you.
If you are seeking ways to save in the most tax-efficient manner available, TFSAs and RRSPs can both be effective options for you to achieve your savings goals more quickly. However, each plan does have distinct differences and advantages / disadvantages. We’ve separated our comparisons into 2 different infographics: deposits and withdrawals.
In the Deposit phase, we look at:
Tax Treatment of Growth
TFSA : $6,000 for 2020. If you never opened a TFSA, you can contribute up to $69,500 today.
$5,000 for each year from 2009 to 2012;
$5,500 for each of 2013 and 2014;
$10,000 for 2015;
$5,500 for each of 2016, 2017 and 2019
$6,000 for each of 2019 and 2020
RRSP : 18% of your 2020 pre-tax earned income or $27,230. So for example if you earned $60,000, then your deduction limit would be $10,800 (18% x $60,000). If you earned $200,000, then your deduction limit would be capped at the max limit of $27,230.
TFSA : You can carry forward your unused contribution room indefinitely, as long as your a Canadian resident, older than age 18 with a valid social insurance number. Withdrawals will usually result in new contribution room.
RRSP : You can carry forward your unused contribution room until the age of 71 when you have to convert your RRSP to a RRIF. Any withdrawals made from your RRSP will not result in new contribution room.
TFSA : You are contributing to your TFSA with After-tax dollars.
RRSP : You are contributing to your RRSP with Pre-tax dollars.
TFSA : Contributions are not tax deductible.
RRSP : Contributions are tax deductible.
Tax Treatment of Growth
TFSA : The growth inside a TFSA is tax free therefore it’s a great savings vehicle for immediate objectives such as a down payment for a home.
RRSP : The growth inside an RRSP is tax deferred, which means at withdrawal, you will need to pay tax, therefore it’s a good choice for long term goals such as retirement.
In the Withdrawals phase, we look at:
TFSA : With a TFSA, there’s no conversion.
RRSP : You must convert your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund by December 31st of the year you turn 71.
TFSA : You can make tax-free withdrawals.
RRSP : Your withdrawals are taxed as income except for withdrawals under the Home Buyers Plan, which you can withdraw up to $35,000 providing you pay within 15 years or Lifelong Learning Plan, which you can withdraw up to $20,000 ($10,000 per year) providing that the money is paid back within 10 years.
TFSA : Your withdrawals doesn’t affect eligibility for income tested government benefit because TFSA withdrawals aren’t included as taxable income.
RRSP : RRSP withdrawals are treated as taxable income therefore withdrawals may affect income tested tax credits such as Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax Credit and the Age Credit. Withdrawals may also affect government benefits you receive including Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Employment Insurance benefits.
TFSA : You can carry forward your unused contribution room indefinitely, as long as your a Canadian resident, older than age 18 with a valid social insurance number. Withdrawals will usually result in new contribution room to the following year’s contribution.
RRSP : Contribution room is based on your previous year’s earned income. You can carry forward your unused contribution room until the age of 71 when you have to convert your RRSP to a RRIF. Any withdrawals made from your RRSP will not result in new contribution room.
An additional different to note is that:
You are able to specify your spouse as your beneficiary with both your TFSA and your RRSP, however there is a key difference with how your savings are treated upon your spouse’s death. With an RRSP, there will be taxes payable upon the monies left in the plan by your children who inherit it, whereas with a TFSA, tax is only paid on the increase in the value of the plan since the date of death in the year that it is inherited by your children. What’s more, no tax is payable if the value that they receive is less than the value of the TFSA at the time of death.
In summary, your unique financial needs will provide information on what makes the most sense for you.