Phew! Tax season is over! You have hopefully just filed your 2017 personal income tax returns. Was it a satisfying experience for you? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment or dismay? For many, the April 30th deadline seems to arrive way too soon. If this is the case with you, starting the process much earlier would seem to be the answer.
The process should include proper record keeping, taking advantage of the tax saving methods available to you, and, perhaps, finally getting a professional to complete and file your return on your behalf. The problem with handing your taxes alone is that often people don’t know what they don’t know. This results in paying more in taxes than was necessary. The cost of a professional completing your taxes potentially could be offset by the savings that might be gained.
Even if you earned little to no income, filing your return is a good idea and could prove to be advantageous. This is because there are a number of federal and provincial government programs that you might be eligible for if your declared income is below a certain threshold. You can refer to the Government of Canada website for the child and family benefits that might be available to you. Read more
The Liberal Government’s Federal Budget was delivered by Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, on February 27, 2018. There had been much concern and speculation about the direction the budget would take with respect to the taxation of private corporations. This was due to a release of the Department of Finance in July 2017 which contained private corporation tax proposals which addressed areas of concern to the government involving, among other things, business owners holding passive investments inside of their corporation. There was speculation that if these proposals were implemented the effective tax rate on investment income earned by a private corporation and distributed to its shareholders could increase astronomically. Thankfully, the concerns voiced by business and professional groups following the July proposals were effective in moderating the government’s actions.
If you are the owner of a private corporation you should be concerned about the commentary that is coming from the Department of Finance. In the Federal Budget of March 2017, Finance expressed their concern that private corporations were being used by high income Canadians to obtain tax advantages that were not available to other Canadian tax payers. That concern has led to the release on July 18th 2017, of a consultation paper along with draft legislation. Finance is currently asking for input from interested parties and stakeholders and has stated that the consultation period will end on October 2, 2017. At this point, whatever happens after that date is anyone’s guess, but speculation is high that changes will be introduced to close what the Department perceives as abusive practices relating to private corporations.
Specifically, there are three specific tax planning strategies employed by private corporations that the department is most concerned with: Read more
If you have ever thought that life insurance was something you wouldn’t need after you reached a certain level of financial security, you might be interested in knowing why many wealthy individuals still carry large amounts of insurance. Consider the following:
- A life insurance advisor in California recently placed a $201 million dollar life insurance policy on the life of a tech industry billionaire;
- Well known music executive David Geffen was life insured for $100 million;
- Malcolm Forbes, owner of Forbes Magazine, was insured at the time of his death in 1990 for $70 million.
While life insurance is most often looked upon as a vehicle to protect ones family or business, the question that springs to mind is why would individuals with wealth need life insurance? Read more
As a business owner, you may be aware that when you dispose of shares in your business you could receive an exemption on all or a portion of the capital gains that ordinarily would be taxable. This is due to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption which says that, for 2016, up to $824,176* of capital gains is exempt from taxation.
The Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) is available to individuals who are disposing of or deemed to have disposed of:
- Qualified Small Business Corporation (QSBC) shares;
- Qualified farm property; or
- Qualified fishing property **.
Don’t Put Off Your Decision to Buy Life Insurance
2016 is an opportune year to buy life insurance. New laws affecting the taxation of life insurance come into effect on January 1, 2017. After this date new policies will not perform as well as they do currently.
The good news is that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid at death still remain tax free. What has been affected is the amount of cash value that may accrue in a policy and the tax-free distribution of death proceeds from a life insurance policy owned in a corporation.
How will this impact your existing and future policies?
Adjustment to the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve
Whole Life and Universal Life policies are valuable vehicles in which to accumulate cash value. The limit of how much can be invested is governed by the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve (MTAR). If the cash value ever exceeds the MTAR limit, the policy is deemed to be “offside” and will be subject to accrual taxation. Read more