Group Insurance vs Individual Life Insurance

Group Insurance vs Individual Life Insurance

“I already have life insurance from work, so why do I need to get it personally?” or “Work has got me covered, I don’t need it.”

While it’s great to have group coverage from your employer or association, in most cases, people don’t understand that there are important differences when it comes to group life insurance vs. self owned life insurance.

Before counting on insurance from your group benefits plan, please take the time to understand the difference between group owned life insurance and personally owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiary and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Group: The group owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Group: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health. The rates provided are blended depending on your group.

Coverage:

  • Self: You choose based on your needs.

  • Group: In a group plan, the coverage is typically a multiple of your salary. If your coverage is through an association, then it’s usually a flat basic amount.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Group: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you.

  • Group: Your policy is tied to your group and if you leave your employer or your association, you may need to reapply for insurance.

Talk to us, we can help you figure out what’s best for your situation.

2022 Ontario Budget Highlights

On April 29, 2022, Ontario’s Minister of Finance delivered the province’s 2022 budget, based on five different pillars. 

No Changes To Corporate or Personal Tax Rates

Budget 2022 did not introduce changes to Ontario’s corporate or personal tax rates.

Rebuilding The Economy

Budget 2022 wants to help rebuild the economy as follows:

  • Almost $1 billion is committed to critical legacy infrastructure, such as all-seasons roads.

  • Creating good manufacturing jobs. In the past 18 months, 12 billion dollars have been invested in supporting new electric vehicle production and battery manufacturing.

  • Enable Ontario employers to realize an estimated $8.9 billion in cost savings by cutting taxes and lowering electricity costs.

Better Jobs and Bigger Paycheques

Another focus is on more significant paycheques and better job opportunities. To support this:

  • The general minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour starting October 1, 2022.

  • $1 billion will be committed annually to employment and training programs for learning new skills or upgrading existing ones. 

  • Over three years, $114.4 million has been committed to the Skilled Trades Strategy, including expanding in-class training.

  • Ontario is expanding college degree granting. Colleges can start offering new degree programs in various sectors, including the automotive industry and health care.

Building Highways and Key Infrastructure

Budget 2022 commits to: 

  • Investing $158.8 billion in crucial infrastructure over ten years, with $20 billion spent in 2022–23.

  • $25.1 billion being spent over ten years to support major highways such as the Bradford Bypass, Highway 413, Highway 401 and Highway 7.

  • $61.6 billion over ten years to support public transit. This includes expanding GO train services to London and Bowmanville and expanding passenger rail service to Northern Ontario.

Keeping Costs Down

Another focus of Budget 2022 is to help people save money:

  • Tolls will be removed on Highways 412 and 418.

  • Starting July 1, the gas tax will be cut by 5.7 cents per litre for six months.

  • License plate renewal fees will be eliminated and refunded, leading to a $120/year savings in Southern Ontario and $60/year savings in Northern Ontario.

  • $300 in additional tax relief will be available on average for 1.1 million lower-income workers via the proposed Low-income Individuals and Families Tax Credit enhancement.

  • Supporting the creation of all types of housing.

  • Working towards an average of $10-a-day child care by September 2025.

Investing in Health Care

Budget 2022 also understands the importance of continuing to invest in health care. Money is committed as follows:

  • Over $40 billion for hospitals and other health infrastructure over ten years.

  • $764 million over two years to provide nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000.

  • $42.5 million over two years to expand medical education and training.

  • $1 billion for in-home care over three years.

We can help!

Wondering how tax changes in this year’s budget may impact personal finances or business affairs? Reach out to us – we’re here to answer any questions you may have!

2022 Federal Budget Highlights

Federal Budget 2022 – Highlights

On April 7, 2022, the Federal Government released their 2022 budget. We have broken down the highlights of the financial measures in this budget into the following different sections:

  • Housing

  • Alternative minimum tax

  • Dental care

  • Small businesses

  • Tradespeople

  • Canada Growth Fund

  • Climate

  • Bank and insurer taxes

Housing

There were several tax measures related to housing introduced in the budget.

Budget 2022 introduced a new kind of savings account – a Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA).

These are the key things you need to know about the new FHSAs:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Canada to open an account. You must also not currently own a home or have owned one in the previous four calendar years.

  • You can only open and use an FHSA once, and you must close it within a year after your first withdrawal.

  • Contributions are tax-deductible, and income earned in an FHSA will not be either while it is in the account or when you withdraw it.

  • There is a lifetime contribution limit of $40,00, with an annual contribution limit of $8,000. You can’t carry contribution room forward.

  • If you don’t use the funds in your FHSA within 15 years of opening it, you can transfer them to an RRSP or RRIF tax-free. Transfers to an RRSP do not impact your RRSP contribution room.

Two existing tax credits were increased, and a new one was introduced:

  • The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount was increased from $5000 to $10,000, giving up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers. This tax credit applies to all homes purchased on or after January 1, 2022.

  • The annual expense limit for the Home Accessibility Tax Credit has been increased to $20,000 for 2022 and subsequent tax years.

  • A new tax credit, the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, was introduced, which will start in 2023. This tax credit is a 15% refundable credit for eligible expenses up to $50,000 (maximum tax credit is $7,500) for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability to live with a qualifying relative.

Budget 2022 proposes new rules, effective January 1, 2023, that anyone who sells a residential property they have held for less than 12 months would be subject to full taxation on their profits as business income. However, there will be some exemptions to these rules due to life events such as a death, disability, the birth of a child, a new job, or a divorce.

Budget 2022 also announces restrictions that would help ensure that Canadians, instead of foreign investors, own housing. A two-year ban will be introduced on non-residents buying residential property, with some exceptions, such as individuals who have work permits and are living in Canada.

Alternative Minimum Tax

In Canada, the top federal tax rate is 33% and starts at an income of $221,708. However, many high-income filers end up paying less tax than this due to tax deductions and tax credits.

The goal of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which has been around since 1986, is to ensure high-income Canadians are paying their fair share of taxes. However, it has not been substantially updated since it was introduced. In Budget 2022, the government indicated they would be investigating changes to the AMT, which will likely be disclosed in the fall 2022 economic update.

Dental Care

For many Canadians without private coverage, going to the dentist is too expensive. Budget 2022 commits $5.3 billion to provide dental care for Canadians with family incomes of less than $90,000 annually. Coverage will start for children under 12 this year and expand to children under 18, seniors and those living with a disability in 2023, with the program will be fully implemented by 2025.

Small Businesses

Small businesses currently have a 9% tax rate on the first $500,000 of taxable income (compared to the corporate tax rate of 15%). However, after a small business’ capital employed in Canada reaches $15 million, it is no longer eligible for the 9% tax rate.

Budget 2022 proposes gradually phasing out the small business tax rate so that businesses are not discouraged from expanding. The new cut-off for the lower tax rate will be $50 million.

Budget 2022 also includes a proposal to create an Employee Ownership Trust. This would be a new, dedicated trust under the Income Tax Act to support employee ownership.

Tradespeople

Budget 2022 introduces the Labour Mobility Deduction. This would allow eligible tradespersons and apprentices to deduct up to $4,000 a year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses.

Budget 2022 also commits to providing $84.2 million over four years to double funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program, which would help 3,500 apprentices from underrepresented groups each year.

Canada Growth Fund

Budget 2022 introduces a new Canada Growth Fund, with the goals of both diversifying our economy and helping achieve our climate goals.

The Canada Growth Fund aims to attract considerable private sector investment, support the restructuring of vital supply chains, and bolster our exports. The Canada Growth Fund will also provide backing to reduce our emissions and invest in the growth of low-carbon industries.

Climate

Budget 2022 continues to confirm the government’s commitment to fighting climate change. It commits $1.7 billion over five years to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program until March 2025 and also provides funding to create a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Budget 2022 also commits $250 million over four years to support the development of clean electricity, including inter-provincial electricity transmission projects and Small Modular Reactors.

Bank And Insurer Taxes

Budget 2022 introduced a new financial measure called the Canada Recovery Dividend. Banks and insurers will have to pay a one-time, 15% tax on 2021 taxable income above $1 billion. This tax will be payable over five years.

Budget 2022 also proposes increasing the tax rate on income above $100 million for banks and insurers to 16.5% (currently 15% for other corporations).

Wondering How This May Impact You?

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!

2021 Income Tax Year Tips

Tax Tips You Need To Know Before Filing Your 2021 Taxes

This year’s tax deadline is April 30, 2022. We’ve got a list of tips to help you save on your taxes!

Claiming home office expenses

You can claim up to $500 under the “flat rate” method if you worked at home due to COVID-19. To claim more, you must use the detailed method to claim home office expenses.

Employer-provided benefits

The CRA will generally not consider employer-provided benefits taxable if your employer reimburses you for certain costs (such as commuting costs, parking, and home office equipment) due to COVID-19.

Repaying Covid-19 support payments

If you repaid COVID-19 benefits, you can deduct the amount on your tax return either for the year you received the benefit or the year you repaid it, or you can split the deduction between both years.

Climate Action incentives can no longer be claimed

As of 2021, Climate Action incentives can’t be claimed as a refundable credit; instead, you’ll receive quarterly payments via the benefits system.

Disability tax credit (DTC)

If you or a family member are DTC claimants, then you should review the updated criteria for the tax credit in regards to mental functions, life-sustaining therapy and calculating therapy time.

Eligible educator school supply tax credit

This tax credit has been increased to 25 percent for eligible supplies (such as books and games) to a maximum of $1,000.

Tax deduction on interest payments

You can claim a tax deduction for the interest you’ve paid on any money you have borrowed to invest. However, you can only do this if you use the money to earn investment income (for example, a rental property).

The digital subscriptions tax credit

You can claim up to $500 as a tax credit if you have a digital subscription to a qualifying Canadian news outlet.

Self-employed? Be sure to set aside enough for personal income tax!

If you’re self-employed, be sure you put aside enough money (we recommend 25% of your income) to pay your tax bill when the time comes. You’re taxed only on your net income (total income minus expenses).

You need to plan ahead for tax changes if you want to retire abroad

Planning to retire abroad? If so, you need to be aware of the tax implications and plan accordingly. If you sell your house and move, you may be considered a “non-resident” and be subject to capital gains taxes on non-registered investments (even if you have not sold them) or have your pension subjected to a withholding tax.

You can stop making CPP contributions if you’re over 65 but plan to keep working

If you’re 65 and already collecting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits but also still working, you may be able to stop making CPP contributions. To do so, you need to fill in the form CPT30.

Need help?

Not sure if you qualify for a credit or deduction? Give us a call – we’re here to save you money on your taxes!

Estate Freeze

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:

  • Selling it

  • 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:

  1. 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.

  2. You continue to maintain control of your business. As well, you can receive income from your business while it is frozen.

  3. 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?

  1.  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. 

  2. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.

Accessing Corporate Earnings

One of the financial planning issues that business owners face is how to access their corporate earnings in a tax efficient way.

There are 5 standard methods:

  • Salary

  • Dividend

  • Shareholder Loans

  • Transfer Personal Assets

  • Income Splitting

There are also unique ways utilizing life insurance and critical illness insurance to access your retained earnings. Please contact us to learn how we can get more money in your pocket than in the government’s.

2022 Financial Calendar

2022 Financial Calendar

Welcome to our 2022 financial calendar! This “at a glance” document lists important dates, including when government benefits are distributed and tax filing deadlines.

Be sure to bookmark this or add the dates listed to your personal calendar so you’re always in the loop!

Use our calendar to make sure you keep on track with your financial goals and avoid missing any critical tax or investment deadlines.

If you’re looking for help with your taxes, tax packages will be available in February 2022, so reach out to your accountant or us to book an appointment and get started on your taxes!

Important Dates

Dates to know:

  • January 1 is when the contribution room for your TFSA opens again. The maximum contribution for 2022 is $6,000.

  • The government will issue GST/HST credit payments on January 5, April 5, July 5, and October 5.

  • Canada Child Benefit payments (CCB) will be issued on the following dates: January 20, February 18, March 18, April 20, May 20, June 20, July 20, August 19, September 20, October 20, November 18, and December 13.

  • The government will issue CPP and OAS payments on the following dates: January 27, February 24, March 29, April 27, May 27, June 28, July 27, August 29, September 27, October 27, November 28, and December 21.

  • The final date for your RRSP contributions to be eligible for the 2021 tax year is March 1, 2022.

  • Bank of Canada’s interest rate announcements will be on January 26, March 2, April 13, June 1, July 13, September 7, October 26, and December 7.

  • May 2, 2022, is the last day to file personal income taxes, and tax payments are also due by this date. This is also the filing deadline for final returns if death occurred between January 1 and October 31, 2021.

  • May 3 to June 30 – The filing deadline for final tax returns if death occurred between November 1 and December 31. The due date for the final return is six months after the date of death.

  • The tax deadline for all self-employment returns is June 15, 2022. Any balance owing, however, is due May 2, 2022.

  • The deadline for final RESP, RDSP, and TFSA contributions is December 31.

  • December 31 is also the deadline for 2022 charitable contributions.

  • December 31 is also the deadline for individuals who turned 71 in 2022 to finish contributing to their RRSPs and convert them into RRIFs.

2021 Personal Year-End Tax Tips

The end of 2021 is quickly approaching – which means it is time to get your finances in order, so you are ready when it comes time to file your taxes.

In this article, we cover four types of 2021 personal tax tips:

  • Individuals

  • Investment Considerations

  • Families

  • Retirees

Individuals

It is essential to make sure you are not paying taxes unnecessarily.

These are the main COVID-19 benefits for individuals:

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit if you are not eligible for EI and can not work due to COVID-19 or have had your income reduced due to COVID-19. This benefit ended as of October 23, 2021, but you can still claim the last eligible period until December 22, 2021.

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit if you are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19. This benefit is scheduled to end on November 21, 2021, but legislation has been proposed to extend it to next May.

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit if you can not work because you need to supervise a child or other dependent family member because they are ill with COVID-19 or their usual school or other facility is closed. This benefit is scheduled to end on November 21, 2021, but legislation has been proposed to extend this benefit to next May.

  • A new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week if you can not work due to a government-imposed lockdown (and are not receiving EI). This benefit is proposed, and legislation for this benefit has not been passed.

You must apply for these benefits no later than 60 days after the end of the claim period. You will receive a T4A from the CRA and must report any money received from these benefits as income on your 2021 tax return.

All Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB) are subject to a 10% withholding tax. If you earned over $38,000 in net income in 2021, you might be required to reimburse the government some or all of the CRB at tax time. You can use tax deductions such as RRSP contributions to avoid either additional tax on these recovery benefits or reduced benefits.

If you have to repay any COVID-19 benefits, you can deduct the repayment amount from your income in the year you received the benefit.

For 2020, the CRA introduced a simplified process for claiming a deduction for home office expenses for employees working from home due to COVID-19. An employee can either claim using a new temporary flat rate method or use the more traditional method for claiming home office expenses. We assume a similar approach will be allowed for 2021, so be sure to track all your home office expenses.

Do you expect to have any capital losses? If you have capital losses, you must first deduct them against any capital gains you had in the current year. After that, you can carry back any excess capital losses up to three years or forward indefinitely. Trades can take up to two days to settle, so be sure to sell any investments you want to claim a capital loss on by December 29 at the latest.

You can deduct any fees you pay to manage or administer your non‑registered investments. As well, you can usually deduct interest charges paid on borrowed money if you used the money to earn income from non‑registered investments or a business. If you have non-deductible interest, like a mortgage or car loan, talk to your tax advisor to see if you can restructure your investments to make the interest on these loans tax‑deductible.

If you have eligible medical expenses that were not paid for by either a provincial or private plan, you can claim these expenses against your taxes. You can even deduct premiums you pay for private coverage. Either spouse can claim qualified medical expenses for themselves and dependent children in a 12-month period. However, it is generally better for the spouse with a lower income to claim the expense because the credit is reduced by a percentage of net income. If the lower-income spouse does not have enough tax payable to offset the medical expense tax credit, it may be beneficial to move the expenses to the higher-income spouse.

Tax credits for donations are two-tiered, with a larger credit being available for donations over $200. You and your spouse can pool your donation receipts and carry donations forward for up to five years. If you donate items like stocks or mutual funds directly to a charity, you will be eligible for a tax receipt for the fair market value, and the capital gains tax does not apply.

If you have moved to be closer to school or a place of work, you may be able to deduct moving expenses against eligible income. You must have moved a minimum of 40 km.

If you care for a dependent relative with a mental or physical impairment, you may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit.

Will your personal tax rate be lower in 2022 than it will be for 2021? If so and have the option, you may wish to defer receiving income to 2022. And if your tax rate will be higher in 2022 than for 2021, try to accelerate income and receive it before the end of 2021.

There are a few options available to you when it comes to tax tips if you are enrolled in school:

  • If you are between the ages of 25 to 65 and enrolled in an eligible educational institution, you can claim a federal tax credit of $250 for 2021.

  • You can claim tuition paid on your taxes, carry the amount forward, or transfer an unused tuition amount to a spouse, parent, or grandparent.

Investment Considerations

Depending on your circumstances, there are up to three different ways you can set aside money in registered accounts to save for the future:

  1. Contribute to your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). You can contribute up to a maximum of $6000 for 2021. You can carry forward unused contribution room indefinitely. For instance, if you have never contributed to your TFSA, the cumulative total from 2009 to 2021 is $75,500.

  2. Contribute to your RRSP or a spousal RRSP. Remember, you can deduct contributions made in the year or within the first sixty days of the following calendar year from your 2021 income. You also have the option of carrying forward deductions.

  3. Suppose you have an RDSP open for yourself or an eligible family member. You may be able to have both the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB) paid into the RDSP. The CDSB is based on the beneficiary’s adjusted family net income and does not require any contributions to be made. The CDSG is based on both the beneficiary’s family net income and contribution amounts. In addition, up to 10 years of unused grants and bond entitlements can be carried forward.

If you need extra money this year because your income was unusually low, you may want to consider making an RRSP withdrawal before the end of the year to boost your income. This is generally only a good idea if you are in the lowest tax bracket. Be aware that you will permanently lose that contribution room if you withdraw money from an RRSP. However, if you are concerned about whether making an RRSP withdrawal is a good strategy for you, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Families

If you paid someone to take care of your child so you or your spouse could attend school or work, then you can deduct these expenses. Various childcare expenses qualify for this deduction, including boarding school, camp, daycare, and even paying a relative over 18 for babysitting.

Be sure to get all your receipts and have the spouse with the lower net income claim the childcare expenses. Some provinces offer additional childcare tax credits on top of the federal ones.

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) can be a great way to save for a child’s future education. However, the Canadian Education Savings Grant is only available on the first $2,500 of contributions you make each year per child (to a maximum of $500, with a lifetime maximum of $7,200.).

If you have any unused CESG amounts for the current year, you can carry them forward. If the recipient of the RESP is now 16 or 17, they can only receive the CESG if:

a) at least $2,000 has already been contributed to the RESP and

b) a minimum contribution of $100 was made to the RESP in any of the four previous years.

Retirees

Are you turning 71 this year? If so, you are required to end your RRSP by December 31. You have several choices on what to do with your RRSP, including transferring your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), cashing out your RSSP, or purchasing an annuity. Talk to us about the tax implications of each of these choices.

65 or older and receiving pension income? If your pension income is eligible, you can deduct a federal tax credit equal to 15% on the first $2,000 of pension income received – plus any provincial tax credits.

Do you not currently have any pension income? Then, you may want to think about withdrawing $2,000 from an RRIF each year or using RRSP funds to purchase an annuity that pays at least $2,000 per year.

If you have reached the age of 60, you may be considering applying for the Canada Pension Plan. However, keep in mind that the monthly amount you will receive will be lower if you apply at 60 versus a later age. Keep in mind, you do not have to have retired to apply for CPP.

If you are 65 or older, ensure that you are enrolled for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. Retroactive OAS payments are only available for up to 11 months plus the month you apply for your OAS benefits. If you are running into OAS “clawback” issues, consider ways to split or reduce other sources of income to avoid this clawback.

Need some additional guidance?

We hope you have enjoyed all of our tax tips. If you have questions or want help to make sure you use all the tax deductions you are eligible for, reach out to us and set up a time to talk.

2021 Year-End Tax Tips for Business Owners

2021 Year-End Tax Tips for Business Owners

Now that we’re approaching the end of the year, it’s time to review your business finances. We’ve highlighted the most critical tax-planning tips you need to know as a business owner.

Salary and Dividend Mix

As a business owner, one essential part of tax planning is determining the right mix of salary and dividends for both yourself and your family members.

The following are the main options you can consider when determining how to distribute money from your business:

  1. Pay a salary to family members who work for your business and are in a lower tax bracket – This enables them to declare an income so that they can contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). You must be able to prove the family members have provided services in line with the amount of compensation provided.

  2. Pay dividends to family members who are shareholders in your company – The amount of dividends someone can receive without paying income tax on them will vary depending on the province or territory they live in.

  3. Distribute money from your business via income sprinkling – This is shifting income from a high-tax rate individual to a low-rate tax individual. However, this strategy can cause issues due to Tax On Split Income (TOSI) rules. A tax professional can help you determine the best way to “income sprinkle” so none of your family members are subject to TOSI.

  4. Keep money in the corporation if neither you nor your family members need cash – Taxes can be deferred if your corporation retains income and the corporation’s tax rate is lower than your personal tax rate.

No matter what strategy you take to distribute money from your business, keep in mind the following:

  • Your marginal tax rate as the owner-manager.

  • The corporation’s tax rate.

  • Health and payroll taxes.

  • How much RRSP contribution room do you have.

  • What you’ll have to pay in CPP contributions.

  • Other deductions and credits you’ll be eligible for (e.g., charitable donations or childcare or medical expenses).

Compensation

An important part of year-end tax planning is determining appropriate ways to handle compensation. The following are the main things to consider:

  1. Can you benefit from a shareholder loan? A shareholder loan is an agreement to borrow funds from your corporation for a specific purpose. The interest from the loan may be deductible if the proceeds of the shareholder loan were used to produce income from business or property.

  2. Do you need to repay a shareholder loan to avoid paying personal income tax on the amount you borrowed?

  3. Is setting up an employee profit-sharing plan a better way to disburse business profits than simply paying out a bonus?

  4. Keep in mind that when an employee cashes out a stock option, only one party (the employee OR the employer) can claim a tax deduction on the cashed-out stock option.

  5. Think about setting up a Retirement Compensation Arrangement (RCA) to help fund you or your employee’s retirement.

Passive Investments

One of the most common tax advantages available to Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC) is the Small Business Deduction (SBD).

For qualifying businesses, the SBD reduces your corporate tax rate. Keep in mind that the SBD will be reduced by five dollars for every dollar of passive investment income over $50,000 your CCPC earned the previous year.

The best way to avoid losing any of the SBD is to make sure that the passive investment income within your associated corporation group does not exceed $50,000.

These are some of the ways you can make sure you preserve your access to the SBD:

  1. Defer the sale of portfolio investments as necessary.

  2. Adjust your investment mix to be more tax efficient. For example, you could choose to hold more equity investments than fixed-income investments. Only 50% of the gains realized on shares sold is taxable, but investment income earned on bonds is fully taxable.

  3. Invest excess funds in an exempt life insurance policy. Any investment income earned on an exempt life insurance policy is not included in your passive investment income total.

  4. Set up an individual pension plan (IPP). An IPP is like a defined benefit pension plan and is not subject to the passive investment income rules.

Depreciable Assets

Another tactic you should consider for year-end tax planning is to hasten your purchase of any depreciable assets. A depreciable asset is a type of capital property that you can claim the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) on.

These are two of the best ways to make the most of tax planning with depreciable assets:

  1. Make use of the Accelerated Investment Incentive. With this incentive, some depreciable assets are eligible for an enhanced first-year allowance.

  2. Purchase equipment such as zero-emissions vehicles and clean energy equipment eligible for a 100 percent tax write-off.

Donations

Another essential part of tax planning is to make all of your donations before year-end. This applies to both charitable donations and political contributions.

For charitable donations, you need to consider the best way to make your donations and the different tax advantages of each type of donation. For example, you can:

  • Donate securities.

  • Give a direct cash gift to a registered charity.

  • Use a donor-advised fund account at a public foundation. A donor-advised fund is like a charitable investment account.

  • Set up a private foundation to solely represent your interests.

We can help walk you through the tax implications of each of these types of charitable donations.

Make the Most of Covid-19 Relief Programs

While some COVID-19 relief programs, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) have ended, others are still available. See if your business can benefit from any of the following relief programs:

  1. Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP). This program will continue to run until May 2022. If your business is eligible and continues to experience a decline in revenues as compared to pre-pandemic levels. In that case, the CRHP will provide support to assist in hiring new staff or increasing the wages of your existing staff.

  2. Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program. This new program provides wage and rent support to eligible businesses such as hotels and restaurants with an average monthly revenue reduction of at least 40% over the first 13 qualifying periods for the CEWS and a current month revenue loss of at least 40%.

  3. Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program. This provides rent and wage support of up to 50% for eligible entities. Eligible entities must meet two conditions – an average monthly revenue reduction of at least 50% over the first 13 qualifying periods for the CEWS and a current month revenue loss of at least 50%.

  4. General support in the event of a public health lockdown. If there is a public health lockdown and your business loses sufficient revenue, your business would be eligible for support at the same subsidy rates as the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program.

  5. Know what’s included as taxable income. If you received assistance from the government assistance programs, including the CEWS, CERS, and CRHP, this assistance is taxable as income.

Get year-end tax planning help from someone you can trust!

We’re here to help you with your year-end tax planning. Book some time with us today to learn how you can benefit from these tax tips and strategies.