Writing an estate plan is important if you own personal assets but is all the more crucial if you also own your own business. This is due to the additional business complexities that need to be addressed, including tax issues, business succession and how to handle bigger and more complex estates. Seeking professional help from an accountant, lawyer or financial advisor is an effective way of dealing with such complexities. As a starting point, ask yourself these seven key questions and, if you answer “no” to any of them, it may highlight an area that you need to take remedial action towards.
Have you made a contingency plan for what will happen to your business if you are incapacitated or die unexpectedly?
Have you and any co-owners of your business made a buy-sell agreement?
If so, is the buy-sell agreement funded by life insurance?
If you have decided that a family member will inherit your business when you die, have you provided other family members with assets of an equal value?
Have you appointed a successor to your business?
Are you making the most of the lifetime capital gains exemption ($835,714 in 2017) on your shares of the business, if you are a qualified small business?
Are you taking care to minimize any possible tax liability that may be payable by your estate in the event of your death?
The process of freezing the value of your business at a particular date is an increasingly common way of protecting your estate from a large capital gains tax bill if your business increases in value. To achieve this, usually the shares in the business that have the highest growth potential are redistributed to others, often your children, meaning that they will be liable for the tax on any increase in their value in the future. In exchange, you will receive new shares allowing you to maintain control of the business with a key difference – the value of the shares is frozen so that your tax liability is lower and that of your estate when you die will also be reduced.
The 2019 budget is titled “Investing in the Middle Class. Here are the highlights from the 2019 Federal Budget.
We’ve put together the key measures for:
Individuals and Families
Business Owners and Executives
Retirement and Retirees
Farmers and Fishers
Individuals & Families
Home Buyers’ Plan
Currently, the Home Buyers’ Plan allows first time home buyers to withdraw $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the budget proposes an increase this to $35,000.
First Time Home Buyer Incentive
The Incentive is to provide eligible first-time home buyers with shared equity funding of 5% or 10% of their home purchase price through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
To be eligible:
Household income is less than $120,000.
There is a cap of no more than 4 times the applicant’s annual income where the mortgage value plus the CMHC loan doesn’t exceed $480,000.
The buyer must pay back CMHC when the property is sold, however details about the dollar amount payable is unclear. There will be further details released later this year.
Canada Training Benefit
A refundable training tax credit to provide up to half eligible tuition and fees associated with training. Eligible individuals will accumulate $250 per year in a notional account to a maximum of $5,000 over a lifetime.
Canadian Drug Agency
National Pharmacare program to help provinces and territories on bulk drug purchases and negotiate better prices for prescription medicine. According to the budget, the goal is to make “prescription drugs affordable for all Canadians.”
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
The budget proposes to remove the limitation on the period that a RDSP may remain open after a beneficiary becomes ineligible for the disability tax credit. (DTC) and the requirement for medical certification for the DTC in the future in order for the plan to remain open.
This is a positive change for individuals in the disability community and the proposed measures will apply after 2020.
Business Owners and Executives
Intergenerational Business Transfer
The government will continue consultations with farmers, fishes and other business owners throughout 2019 to develop new proposals to facilitate the intergenerational transfers of businesses.
Employee Stock Options
The introduction of a $200,000 annual cap on employee stock option grants (based on Fair market value) that may receive preferential tax treatment for employees of “large, long-established, mature firms.” More details will be released before this summer.
Retirement and Retirees
Additional types of Annuities under Registered Plans
For certain registered plans, two new types of annuities will be introduced to address longevity risk and providing flexibility: Advanced Life Deferred Annuity and Variable Payment Life Annuity.
This will allow retirees to keep more savings tax-free until later in retirement.
Advanced Life Deferred Annuity (ALDA): An annuity whose commencement can be deferred until age 85. It limits the amount that would be subject to the RRIF minimum, and it also pushes off the time period to just short of age 85.
Variable Payment Life Annuity (VPLA): Permit Pooled Retirement Pension Plans (PRPP) and defined contribution Registered Retirement Plans (RPP) to provide a VPLA to members directly from the plan. A VPLA will provide payments that vary based on the investment performance of the underlying annuities fund and on the mortality experience of VPLA annuitants.
Farmers and Fishers
Small Business Deduction
Farming/Fishing will be entitled to claim a small business deduction on income from sales to any arm’s length purchaser. Producers will be able to market their grain and livestock to the purchaser that makes the most business sense without worrying about potential income tax issues. This measure will apply retroactive to any taxation years that began after March 21, 2016.
To learn how the budget affects you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
It’s that time of year again, when many of us sit down to complete our income tax return and hope that we have done enough preparation to ensure a smooth tax return. We’ve outlined the key lines to look out for in the 2018 Income Tax Year:
Expenses relating to medical expenses have been expanded to include service animals and can be claimed for non-refundable tax credit. You should also be aware that you can claim for yourself, your spouse or common law partner and any dependent children under the age of 18.
Tax on Split Income (TOSI) (Line 424)
As of January 1, 2018, in addition to applying to certain types of income of a child born in 2001 or later, TOSI may now also apply to amounts received by adult individuals from a related business.
Interest Expense & Carrying Charges (Line 221)
Any fees paid for specific advice about your investments or for tracking your income from investments.
Any fees paid for management of your investments, except administration fees paid for your registered retirement savings plan or registered retirement income fund.
Interest you paid to borrow when borrowing to invest for investment income only except if investment income is considered capital gains.
Insurance policy loan interest you paid in 2018 to make income. To claim this amount, the insurance company must complete Form T2210 before your tax return deadline.
Carry forward information (Line 208 and 253)
If you are not deducting all your RRSP contributions you made in 2018 and the beginning of 2019, your unused contributions can be carried forward.
Generally, if you had an allowable capital loss in a year, you have to apply it against your taxable capital gains for that year. If you still have a loss, it becomes part of the computation of your current year net capital loss. You can use a current year net capital loss to reduce your taxable capital gains in any of the 3 preceding years or in any future year. Capital losses can be carried forward indefinitely and are only deductible against capital gains.
As of January 1, 2018, the first-time donor’s super credit has been eliminated.
If you owe money when your income tax return is complete, the only way to delay payment is to delay the filing until the April 30th deadline. Alternatively, if CRA owes you money, then file as early as possible.
This article and infographic are for illustrative purposes only. You should always seek independent legal, tax, financial and accounting advice with regard to your situation.
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. Let’s take a look at their key features:
While a TFSA can be used for any type of savings, an RRSP is used exclusively for retirement savings.
You can enjoy tax free withdrawals from your TFSA due to the fact that you make your contributions after you have paid tax, whereas the opposite is true for withdrawals from your RRSP (except in the case of lifelong learning plan and home buyers’ plan)
TFSA contributions aren’t tax deductible whereas RRSP contributions are i.e. with an RRSP, you can deduct the contributions that you make from your income when you file your tax return.
It is required that you use earned income to contribute towards your RRSP but this is not the case for your TFSA.
You can continue to contribute towards your TFSA for as long as you like, whereas you must close your RRSP and stop contributing towards it when you turn 71 and purchase an annuity or convert it to a RRIF with the savings that you have made within the plan.
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 individual circumstances will dictate which plan is the most appropriate for you, depending on your tax position and withdrawal intentions. The primary difference between both plans is the timing of the taxes payable i.e. if you want to defer the payment of your taxes, particularly if your marginal tax rate will be lower in retirement, an RRSP may be more beneficial for you. Alternatively, if your marginal tax rate will be higher when you plan to make withdrawals, a TFSA may suit you better.
Retirement planning can be a complex process for us all, but if you are the owner of a small business it may can get even more complicated, due to the various factors and circumstances that you have to take into consideration. A common mistake made by small business owners is reinvesting extra money to grow their business, at the expense of putting it aside to save for their retirement.
Although there is no magic formula for getting started on a retirement strategy for your business, there are some general principles which might help you to get a handle on the steps that you need to take. One of the key ideas is the consideration of both your business and your personal finances and how to structure and integrate the two in order to create a robust retirement financial strategy.
Here are some tips on how to get started on a retirement plan.
Set aside time to plan for the future – It’s important to make retirement planning a priority, or you run the risk of never getting around to it. A professional financial planner can help you to assess your personal circumstances and create a personalized plan that suits you and your business, with the right balance between saving and reinvestment to help your business to grow.
Think about your future retirement income – Here are the main sources of retirement income that small business owners usually rely on:
Equity held in your business – If your business is successful, you are likely to benefit from equity from it in your retirement. Selling your company is an option, particularly attractive to some as, in some cases, you could benefit from the lifetime capital gains exemption on the sale. Of course, finding the right person to run your business in the future is easier said than done. A clear succession plan, created in advance of your retirement, can help you to ensure that business continuity will be affected as little as possible and will give you peace of mind as you approach your retirement. You may also want to consider using the expertise of an accountant or mergers and acquisitions specialist to help you to value your business correctly and also look after your interests when liaising with potential purchasers.
Alternatively, you may choose for your children to inherit your business, or you may decide to retain ownership of dividend-paying preferred shares in order to maintain an ongoing source of income.
Registered plans – A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) can offer personal tax deductions on your contributions, plus your savings will grow as tax-deferred whilst in the plan. In addition, tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) can be a useful way to save tax-free in particular circumstances.
Consider offering a retirement savings plan to your employees – Paying your statutory contribution of the Canada Pension Plan is just the minimum – many small businesses choose to offer their employees enhanced pension contributions as an incentive or employee benefit. For example, you could match their RRSP contributions to a set limit, to help their retirement nest grow more quickly. Alternatively, you could offer a benefit plan with an investment contribution package from an insurance company, which can be a more straightforward and cost-effective choice.
Be sure to diversify – As a small business owner, you should avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket, financially speaking, as this could leave you vulnerable to changes in the market. Try to diversify your investments and spread your funds in order to protect yourself and engage the help of a professional where necessary to help you to do so.
In summary, it’s important to remember that retirement planning is a process which is unique and personal to your own and your business’ circumstances and there is no uniform approach which works across the board. Take time to take stock of your current situation, as well as your goals for the future and this will help you to create a retirement plan that is right for your needs, both current and future.