Tax tips to know before filing your 2023 income tax

This year’s tax deadline is April 30, 2024. It’s important to make sure you’re claiming all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for. We’ve separated this article into 2 sections: 

  • What’s new for 2023

  • Individuals and Families

What’s New for 2023

Advanced Canada Workers Benefit (ACWB)

Automatic advance payments of the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) are now seamlessly distributed through the ACWB program to individuals who received the benefit in the last tax year. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who received the CWB in the previous tax year will automatically receive the ACWB payments. Only individuals who filed their 2022 tax return before November 1, 2023, are eligible for the ACWB payments.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the ACWB program eliminates the need to file Form RC201. Recipients are no longer required to fill out this form. Instead, starting in 2023, individuals should report the amounts from their RC210 slip on Schedule 6, Canada Workers Benefit, of their tax return. Additionally, for eligible spouses, the option to claim the basic amount for the CWB is available regardless of who received the RC210 slip.

Deduction for Tools (Tradespersons and Apprentice Mechanics)

Starting in 2023, the maximum employment deduction for eligible tools of tradespersons has risen from $500 to $1,000. Consequently, the threshold for expenses eligible for the apprentice mechanics tools deduction has also been adjusted. 

Temporary Flat Rate Method for Home Office Expenses

For the year 2023, the temporary flat rate method for claiming home office expenses is not applicable. Consequently, taxpayers seeking to claim such expenses for 2023 must utilize the detailed method and obtain a completed Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, from their employer.

Federal, Provincial, and Territorial COVID-19 repayments

Repayments of COVID-19 benefits at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels, made after December 31, 2022, can be deducted and claimed.

First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

The FHSA is a registered plan designed to aid individuals in saving for their first home. Starting April 1, 2023, contributions made to an FHSA are typically deductible, and eligible withdrawals made from an FHSA for purchasing a qualifying home are tax-free. 

Property Flipping

Starting January 1, 2023, any profit generated from the sale of a housing unit (including rental properties) situated in Canada, or a right to acquire a housing unit in Canada, that you owned or held for less than 365 consecutive days prior to its sale is considered business income rather than a capital gain. This is applicable unless the property was already classified as inventory or the sale occurred due to, or in anticipation of specific life events. 

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC)

The MHRTC is a refundable tax credit designed to enable eligible individuals to seek reimbursement for specific renovation expenses incurred in establishing a secondary unit within an eligible dwelling. This enables a qualifying individual to live with their qualifying relative. If eligible, you can claim up to $50,000 in qualifying expenditures for each renovation project completed, with a maximum credit of $7,500 for each eligible claim. 

Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit

The Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit is now accessible to self-employed farmers and individuals involved in a partnership operating a farming business with one or more permanent establishments located in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, or Saskatchewan. If eligible, you may be entitled to a refund of a portion of your fuel charge proceeds. 

For Individuals and Families

Canada Training Credit (CTC)

The CTC is a refundable tax credit available to help Canadians with the cost of eligible training fees.

To qualify for the CTC, you need to fill out Schedule 11 for the following:

  1. Tuition fees and other applicable fees paid to an eligible educational institution in Canada for courses taken in 2023.

  2. Fees paid to specific organizations for occupational, trade, or professional examinations undertaken in 2023.

To be eligible for the CTC, you must meet all these conditions:

  • You resided in Canada for the entire year of 2023.

  • You were at least 26 years old but less than 66 years old at the end of the year.

  • Your most recent notice of assessment or reassessment for 2022 shows a Canada Training Credit Limit for 2023.

Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC)

The CCC is a non-refundable tax credit aimed at assisting individuals who provide support to a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent with a physical or mental impairment, as outlined by the CRA.

You might be eligible for the CCC if you aid:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner dealing with a physical or mental impairment.

  • Dependents such as children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, or nephews residing in Canada, who rely on you for consistent provision of basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

The amount you can claim varies depending on your relationship to the individual, your circumstances, their net income, and whether other credits are claimed for them.

Child Care Expenses

Child care expenses encompass payments made by you or someone else to arrange care for an eligible child. This care allows you to participate in income-earning activities, pursue education, or conduct research funded by a grant.

If you qualify, you can claim certain childcare expenses as deductions when you file your personal income tax return.

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit designed to support individuals with disabilities, or their family members who provide support, by reducing their income tax responsibilities.

To be eligible for this credit, individuals must have a significant and enduring impairment. Once approved, they can apply the credit when filing their taxes.

The DTC aims to ease some of the extra costs linked with the disability by lessening the individual’s income tax burden.

Moving

You can claim moving expenses you paid during the year if you meet these conditions

  • You moved to a new residence for work reasons, to start a business in a different area, or to attend a post-secondary program as a full-time student at a university, college, or other educational institution.

  • Your new residence must be at least 40 kilometres closer, determined by the shortest public route, to your new work location or educational institution.

Interest Paid on Student Loans

You might qualify to claim an amount for the interest paid on your student loan for post-secondary education if it was obtained under the following acts:

  • Canada Student Loans Act

  • Canada Student Financial Assistance Act

  • Apprentice Loans Act

  • Provincial or territorial government laws that are similar to the aforementioned acts.

Only you, or a person related to you, can claim the interest paid on the loan within the tax year 2023 or the preceding 5 years.

Donations and Gifts

When you or your spouse/common-law partner donate to eligible institutions, you might be eligible for federal and provincial/territorial non-refundable tax credits when you file your income tax and benefit return.

Normally, you can claim a portion or the full eligible donation amount, capped at 75% of your net income for the tax year.

Seeking guidance?

Wondering if you qualify for valuable tax credits or deductions? Reach out to us – as your financial advisor, we’re here to assist you in optimizing your finances and maximizing your savings.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/whats-new.html

Canada Training Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-45350-canada-training-credit.html

Canada Caregiver Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html

Child Care Expense: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21400-child-care-expenses.html

Disability Tax Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

Moving: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21900-moving-expenses.html

Interest Paid on Student Loans: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-31900-interest-paid-on-your-student-loans.html

Donations and Gifts: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-34900-donations-gifts.html

Why Insurance Is So Important If You’re A Single Parent

Why Insurance Is So Important If You’re A Single Parent

Your kids mean everything to you – and you want to make sure they’re protected no matter what. As a single parent, you must have the right health and life insurance options in place to make that happen. We recommend you consider all of the following types of insurance:

  • Disability insurance

  • Critical illness insurance

  • Accident insurance

  • Life insurance

Disability insurance

Disability insurance can provide you with an income if you become disabled and cannot work – whether it’s for a short period of time or a long one.

Most workplaces offer disability coverage, but it’s tied to that particular job, so you’ll lose coverage if you leave that job. As well, the coverage from your employer’s plan may not be sufficient to cover your needs if you become disabled.

It’s particularly important for you to look into disability insurance if you work as a contractor or have a job with no benefits.

Critical illness insurance

Critical illness insurance can help you pay for the costs associated with various serious medical issues (such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke) that aren’t covered by any other health plans or disability insurance. As a single parent, you may find the payout from a critical illness insurance policy especially helpful for paying for extra childcare or lost income if you cannot work.

Accident insurance

Life is getting busier than ever – and there are more and more of us on the roads. Unfortunately, more people on the roads mean more accidents. If you buy accident insurance for yourself or your children, the payout from the policy can bring in some extra income at a critical time of need if any of you are in an accident. You can use an accident insurance payout to help pay for anything from lost income to private home care.

Life insurance

Life insurance is critical as a single parent as your children are dependent on your income. Generally, we suggest that you get a policy that is worth at least 10 times your annual income, but you may need more if you have a lot of debt or you need the money to last a long time.

Your children should be the beneficiaries of your policy and you can name a trustee (such as a grandparent or other relative) to look after the money on your children’s behalf until they reach a specified age.

We can help!

If you have questions about what kind of insurance is best for you, we’re happy to answer them! We’ll walk you through all your options and put together an insurance package that’s just right for you. Call us today!

Understanding Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) in Canada

What is an RESP?

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a unique savings account available in Canada, designed to assist individuals, such as parents or guardians, in saving for a child’s post-secondary education. Notably, anyone can open an RESP for a child. There are two main types of RESPs: single and family plans. Single plans cater to one beneficiary who doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the contributor. In contrast, family plans can cater to multiple beneficiaries, who must be related to the contributor by blood or adoption. This special account type offers significant tax benefits and is structured explicitly to fund a child’s future educational needs.

What are the eligibility requirements to open an RESP?

Opening an RESP requires both the contributor and the beneficiary (the child for whom you’re saving) to be Canadian residents with a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). The plan can be opened for up to 35 years, and the RESP has a lifetime contribution limit of $50,000. To qualify for the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), the beneficiary must be aged 17 or under.

How can my child access their RESP funds for school?

The beneficiary can start withdrawing funds from the RESP as Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) once they enrol in an eligible post-secondary educational program. EAPs comprise the income earned in the RESP and any government grants. The original contributions made to the RESP can be withdrawn tax-free by the contributor or given to the beneficiary. Given the student’s income level and personal tax credits, they typically remain tax-free.

What are the benefits of an RESP?

RESPs offer numerous benefits. Key among them is tax-deferred growth, which means the investment income generated within the account isn’t taxed as long as it remains in the plan. Also, through programs like the CESG and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB), the Canadian government contributes to your RESP, thereby enhancing your savings. Lastly, RESPs provide a structured path to save for a child’s future education, encouraging consistent savings and financial planning.

How does the Canada Education Savings Grant work?

The CESG is a government grant that matches a portion of your annual RESP contributions. The standard matching rate is 20% on the first $2,500 contributed each year, leading to a maximum annual grant of $500. However, low-income families may qualify for a higher matching rate. Unused CESG contribution room can be carried forward, allowing for a potential maximum grant payment of $1,000 in a single year. The CESG is available until the beneficiary turns 17, with a lifetime limit of $7,200 per beneficiary.

What is the Canada Learning Bond?

The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is another program to promote long-term savings for a child’s post-secondary education. It targets children born after 2003 from low-income families. Eligible families receive an initial $500 from the government, directly deposited into the child’s RESP. An additional $100 is added annually until the child turns 15, for a potential total of $2,000. The CLB does not require any contributions to the RESP, making it accessible even for those in a tight financial position.

What are the BCTESG and QESI?

Provincial programs such as the British Columbia Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG) and the Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) provide additional incentives for education savings. The BCTESG offers a one-time grant of $1,200 for eligible children, and the QESI provides a refundable tax credit paid directly into an RESP for qualifying Quebec residents.

How do I open an RESP?

Opening an RESP can be done through a financial advisor. You need to provide your SIN and the SIN of the beneficiary. Understanding the terms, conditions, and potential fees linked with the RESP offered by your chosen institution is crucial. You can make regular contributions or contribute lump sums as you see fit. Inquiring about the types of investments available within the RESP is vital, as they can significantly impact the growth of your savings.

In conclusion, while RESPs offer a structured and tax-efficient way of saving for a child’s post-secondary education, they also require careful planning and consistent contributions. Be sure to understand all aspects of an RESP and consider contacting us before starting one.

RESPs and blended families

A client scenario illustrates pitfalls to avoid with proper planning

The Best Way to Buy Mortgage Insurance

Before buying insurance from your bank to cover your mortgage, please consider your options. What does the insurance cover?

Federal Budget 2023 Highlights

On March 28, 2023, the Federal Government released their 2032 budget. This article highlights the following financial measures:

  • New transfer options associated with Bill C-208 for intergenerational transfer.

  • New rules for employee ownership trusts.

  • Changes to how the Alternative Minimum Tax is calculated.

  • Improvements to Registered Education Savings Plans.

  • Expanding access to Registered Disability Savings Plans.

  • Grocery rebate.

  • Deduction for tradespeople tool expenses.

  • Automatic tax filing.

  • New Canadian Dental Care Plan.

Amendments To Bill C-208 Intergenerational Transfer Introduces Two New Transfer Options

Budget 2023 introduces two transfer options associated with the intergenerational transfer of a business:

  1. An immediate intergenerational business transfer (three-year test) based on arm’s length sales terms.

  2. A gradual intergenerational business transfer (five-to-ten-year test) based on estate freeze characteristics.

For the three-year test, the parent must transfer both legal and factual control of the business, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. The parent must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares within the same time frame. Additionally, the parent must transfer management of the business to their child within a reasonable time, with a 36-month safe harbour. The child or children must retain legal control for 36 months following the share transfer, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

For the gradual transfer option, the conditions are similar to the immediate transfer, but with a few differences. The parent must transfer legal control, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. They must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares and the balance of common growth shares within the same time frame. As well, within 10 years of the initial sale, parents must reduce the economic value of their debt and equity interests in the business to 50% of the value of their interest in a farm or fishing corporation at the initial sale time, or 30% of the value of their interest in a small business corporation at the initial sale time. The child or children must retain legal control for the greater of 60 months or until the business transfer is completed, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

The extended intergenerational transfer now applies to children, grandchildren, stepchildren, children-in-law, nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

The changes apply to transactions that occur on or after January 1, 2024. If the election is made, the capital gain reserve period is extended to ten years, and the limitation period for assessing a return is extended to three years for an immediate transfer and ten years for a gradual business transfer.

New Rules for Employee Ownership Trusts

The employees of a business can use an employee ownership trust (EOT) to purchase the business without having to pay the owner directly to acquire shares. Business owners can use an EOT as part of their succession planning.

Budget 2023 introduces new rules for using ownership trusts (EOTs) as follows:

  • Extending the five-year capital gains reserve to ten years for qualifying business transfers to an EOT.

  • A new exception to the current shareholder loan rule which extends the repayment period from one to fifteen years for amounts loaned to the EOT from a qualifying business to purchase shares in a qualifying business transfer.

  • Exempts EOTs from the 21-year deemed disposition rule that applies to some trusts. This means that shares can be held indefinitely for the benefit of employees.

Clean Energy Credits

The upcoming Budget 2023 is set to introduce a series of measures aimed at encouraging the adoption of clean energy. These measures include several business tax incentives such as:

  1. Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit: This is a refundable tax credit of 15% for investments in equipment and activities for generating electricity and transmitting it between provinces. The credit will be available to new and refurbished projects starting from March 28, 2023, and will end in 2034.

  2. Clean Technology Manufacturing Credit: This tax credit is worth 30% of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment for processing or manufacturing clean technologies and critical minerals. It applies to property acquired and put into use after January 1, 2024. The credit will be phased out starting in 2032 and fully eliminated in 2034.

  3. Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit: It offers a refundable tax credit ranging from 15% to 40% of eligible project expenses that produce clean hydrogen, as well as a 15% tax credit for certain equipment.

  4. Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit: This tax credit will be expanded to include geothermal systems that qualify for capital cost allowance under Classes 43.1 and 43.2. The phase-out will begin in 2034, and it will not be available after that date.

  5. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Investment Tax Credit (CCUS): The budget broadens and adjusts specific criteria for the refundable Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for CCUS. Qualified equipment now includes dual-purpose machinery that generates heat and/or power or utilizes water for CCUS and an additional process, as long as it meets all other requirements for the credit. The expense of such equipment is eligible on a proportionate basis, based on the anticipated energy or material balance supporting the CCUS process during the project’s initial 20 years.

  6. Reduced rates for zero-emission technology manufacturers: The reduced tax rates of 4.5% and 7.5% for zero-emission technology manufacturers will be extended for three years until 2034, with phase-out starting in 2032. The eligibility will expand to include the manufacturing of nuclear energy equipment and processing and recycling of nuclear fuels and heavy water for taxation years starting after 2023.

  7. Lithium from brines: Allow producers of lithium from brines to issue flow-through shares and expand the Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit’s eligibility to include lithium from brines.

Changes To How Alternative Minimum Tax Is Calculated

Budget 2023 proposed several changes to calculating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), including the following:

  • The capital gains inclusion rate will increase from 80 percent to 100 percent, while capital losses and allowable business investment losses will apply at a rate of 50 percent.

  • The inclusion rate for employee stock option benefits will be altered to 100 percent, and for capital gains resulting from the donation of publicly listed securities, it will be modified to 30 percent.

  • The 30 percent inclusion rate will also apply to employee stock option benefits if any deduction is available because underlying shares are also publicly listed securities that were donated.

  • Certain deductions and expenses will now be limited to 50 percent, and only 50 percent of non-refundable credits (excluding a special foreign tax credit) will be permitted to reduce the AMT.

  • The AMT tax rate will increase from 15 percent to 20.5 percent.

  • The AMT exemption will rise from the present allowable deduction of $40,000 for individuals to an amount indexed to the fourth tax bracket, expected to be $173,000 in 2024.

  • The AMT carryforward period will remain unaltered at seven years.

Improving Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)

Budget 2023 introduces the following changes to RESPs:

  • As of March 28, 2023, beneficiaries may withdraw Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) up to $8,000 (from $5,000) for full-time programs and $4,000 (from $2,500) for part-time programs.

  • Individuals who withdrew EAPs before March 28, 2023, may be able to withdraw an additional EAP amount, subject to the new limits and the plan terms.

  • Divorced or separated parents can now open joint RESPs for one or more of their children.

Expanding Access to Registered Disability Savings Plans

Qualifying family members, such as a parent, a spouse, or a common-law partner, can open an RDSP and be the plan holder for an adult with mental disabilities whose ability to enter into an RDSP contract is in doubt and who does not have a legal representative.

Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to extend the provision that allows this until December 31, 2026. To further increase access to RDSPs, the government also intends to expand the provision to include adult siblings of an RDSP beneficiary.

Grocery Rebate

The Budget 2023 will implement the Grocery Rebate, which will be a one-time payment managed through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) system. The maximum amount that can be claimed under the Grocery Rebate is:

  • $153 for each adult

  • $81 for each child

  • $81 for a single supplement.

The implementation of the Grocery Rebate will be gradual and will follow the same income thresholds as the present GSTC regulations.

Deduction for Tradespeople’s Tool Expenses

Budget 2023 increases the employment deduction for tradespeople’s tools to $1,000 from $500. This is effective for 2023 and subsequent taxation years.

Automatic Tax Filing

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will pilot a new automatic filing service for Canadians who currently do not file their taxes to help them receive certain benefits to which they are entitled.

The CRA also plans to expand taxpayer eligibility for the File My Return service, which allows taxpayers to file their tax returns by telephone.

Canadian Dental Care Plan

In Budget 2023, the federal government is investing in dental care for Canadians with the new Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family incomes of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those under $70,000.

The budget allows the CRA to share taxpayer information for the Canadian Dental Care Plan with an official of Employment and Social Development Canada or Health Canada solely to administer or enforce the plan.

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!

Yukon 2023 Budget Highlights

Yukon 2023 Budget Highlights

On March 2, 2023, the Yukon Minister of Finance announced Yukon’s 2023 budget. We’ve highlighted everything you need to know about this budget.

No Changes To Corporate or Personal Tax Rates

Budget 2023 does not include any changes to the Yukon’s corporate tax rates or personal tax rates.

Increased Tobacco Tax

Tobacco tax rates have increased from 31 cents to 32 cents per cigarette and from 31 cents to 32 cents per gram of tobacco (other than cigarettes and cigars). This increase has been in effect since January 1, 2023.

Making Everyday Life More Affordable

Budget 2023 contains several measures to help make everyday life more affordable. It includes the following:

  • $48.3 million to develop residential housing and commercial and industrial buildings in the Yukon.
  • $8.2 million in loans for land development and home ownership.
  • $3.9 million in subsidies and support for renters.
  • $5.3 million to extend a rebate program for utility bills.
  • $1.5 million for an increase in social assistance.
  • $1.5 million for the Yukon Child Benefit.
  • $500,000 for the food in schools program.
  • $300,000 to help timber harvesting businesses boost fuelwood supply.

Building A Green Future

Budget 2023 allocates nearly $60 million to climate change initiatives. These are some of the areas money will be allocated:

  • $10.2 million for energy rebates in the building and transportation sectors.
  • $9 million for energy retrofits and renewable energy projects.
  • $10.5 million for retrofits to government buildings and First Nation-owned housing.
  • $300,000 for flood mapping and forecasting.
  • $100,000 for a climate vulnerability study of Yukon’s road network.

Healthcare Spending

Budget 2023 budget includes investments in new and expanded health services, including more than $10 million for programs advancing the implementation of the Putting People First report.

Other highlights of healthcare spending include:

  • $3.6 million was budgeted for the new territory-wide dental program
  • $10 to 15 million for a new mental wellness unit at the Whitehorse hospital.
  • $4.1 million to recruit and retain health staff.
  • $4.4 million for the 1Health virtual care platform.
  • $1 million for mental health support for youth.
  • $460,000 for community nursing and nurse practitioner funding.
  • $660,000 for additional mental wellness and substance use services.
  • $279,000 to ensure a safe supply of opioids.
  • $250,000 to address the substance use crisis among youth.

Infrastructure Spending

The majority of infrastructure spending this year will focus on transportation:

  • $40 million was allocated to replace the Nisutlin Bay bridge.
  • $27.8 million for Alaska and North Klondike highways upgrades.
  • $26 million for airport improvements in Whitehorse and Watson Lake.
  • $24.4 million for the Dempster Fibre project to create internet redundancy.
  • $27.3 million for upgrading existing schools and creating new schools.
  • $13.6 million for the Carmacks bypass project.
  • $2.3 million for improvements to parks and campgrounds.

We can help!

Need help determining the impact of this year’s budget on your finances or business? Give us a call today!

When and Why You Should Conduct an Insurance Audit

As our lives grow and change with variable circumstances, new additions, and job transitions, our needs for insurance will also evolve. Additionally, economic fluctuations and external circumstances that influence your insurance policy will need frequent re-evaluation to ensure that you are making the most appropriate and financially favorable decisions. Perhaps you aren’t sure whether you should conduct an insurance audit or not. The following scenarios are usually a good indication that you should thoroughly assess and review your current policy contract: 

  • Bringing new life into your family? A new baby may not only prompt you to adjust your beneficiary information, but it is likely to change or influence your coverage needs.

  • Changing jobs? Probationary periods may not provide the same level of disability or accident insurance.

  • Is your policy nearing the end of its term? Be sure to compare prices for new policies as they can sometimes be more affordable as compared to renewing the current plan.

  • Has your marital status changed? Your insurance policy will likely need updating to reflect such.

The specific type of insurance policy you carry as well as personal details certainly influence coverage and premium prices, so if any of the following factors apply to you, be sure to update your policy accordingly. You might be eligible for a rate reduction. 

  • Changes to your overall risk assessment like smoking cessation, dangerous hobbies, high risk profession etc.

  • If you have experienced improvements to a previously diagnosed health condition.

  • Do your policy’s investment options still fall in line with current market conditions?

  • Have you used your insurance policy as collateral for a loan? Once that loan is paid off, collateral status should be taken off the policy.

Insurance policies generated for business purposes should also be regularly reviewed to make sure the policy still offers adequate coverage to meet the needs of the company and includes the appropriate beneficiary information. With life happening so quickly, it can be easy to forget about keeping insurance policies up to date, however, major changes can have a profound impact on coverage and premiums. Be sure to conduct insurance audits often to ensure your policies are still meeting your needs. 

Contact us to see how we can help. 

Succession Planning for Business Owners

Succession Planning for Business Owners

Business owners deal with a unique set of challenges. One of these challenges includes succession planning. A succession plan is the process of the transfer of ownership, management and interest of a business. When should a business owner have a succession plan? A succession plan is required through the survival, growth and maturity stage of a business. All business owners, partners and shareholders should have a plan in place during these business stages.

We created this infographic checklist to be used as a guideline highlighting main points to be addressed when starting to succession plan.

Needs:

  • Determine your objectives- what do you want? For you, your family and your business. (Business’ financial needs)

  • What are your shares of the business worth? (Business value)

  • What are your personal financial needs- ongoing income needs, need for capital (ex. pay off debts, capital gains, equitable estate etc.)

There are 2 sets of events that can trigger a succession plan: controllable and uncontrollable.

Controllable events

Sale: Who do you sell the business to?

  • Family member

  • Manager/Employees

  • Outside Party

  • There are advantages and disadvantages for each- it’s important to examine all channels.

Retirement: When do you want to retire?

  • What are the financial and psychological needs of the business owner?

  • Is there enough? Is there a need for capital to provide for retirement income, redeem or freeze shares?

  • Does this fit into personal/retirement plan? Check tax, timing, corporate structures, finances and family dynamics. (if applicable)

Uncontrollable Events

Divorce: A disgruntled spouse can obtain a significant interest in the business.

  • What portion of business shares are held by the spouse?

  • Will the divorced spouse consider selling their shares?

  • What if the divorced spouse continues to hold interest in the business without understanding or contributing to the business?

  • If you have other partners/shareholders- would they consider working with your divorced spouse?

Illness/Disability: If you were disabled or critically ill, would your business survive?

  • Determine your ongoing income needs for you, your spouse and family. Is there enough? If there is a shortfall, is there an insurance or savings program in place to make up for the shortfall amount?

  • Will the ownership interest be retained, liquidated or sold?

  • How will the business be affected? Does the business need capital to continue operating or hire a consultant or executive? Will debts be recalled? Does the business have a savings or insurance program in place to address this?

Death: In the case of your premature death, what would happen to your business?

  • Determine your ongoing income needs for your dependents. Is there enough? If there is a shortfall, is there an insurance or savings program in place to make up for the shortfall amount?

  • Will the ownership interest be retained, liquidated or sold by your estate? Does your will address this? Is your will consistent with your wishes? What about taxes?

  • How will the business be affected? Does the business need capital to continue operating or hire a consultant or executive? Will debts be recalled? How will this affect your employees? Does the business have a savings or insurance program in place to address this?

Execution: It’s good to go through this with but you need to get a succession plan done.  Besides having a succession plan, make sure you have an estate plan and buy-sell/shareholders’ agreement.

Because a succession plan is complex, we suggest that a business owner has a professional team to help. The team should include:

  • Financial Planner/Advisor (CFP)

  • Succession Planning Specialist

  • Insurance Specialist

  • Lawyer

  • Accountant/Tax Specialist

  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

Next steps…

  • Contact us about helping you get your succession planning in order so you can gain peace of mind that your business is taken care of.