Getting the best from a financial advisor

Working with a professional to help you to make sense of your finances can be a wise move, but for this relationship to work effectively it is important that you understand what to expect from your financial advisor.

What can your financial advisor help you with?

  • Defining your financial goals and creating a step by step plan or strategy to achieve them.

  • Planning for the future, including for retirement, future education or housing needs.

  • Choosing the mix of investments and assets that suit your goals, lifestyle, time horizon and appetite for risk.

  • Building a solid estate for your family to inherit in the future.

  • Choosing the most tax-efficient methods of saving and investing.

What should your financial advisor inform you of?

  • The range of services that they offer and how much and by which method you will compensate them.

  • Your mutual responsibilities and obligations towards each other.

  • What the planning process will look like and the documents that they will provide you with.

What will your financial advisor need from you or need to ask you about?

  • What your financial goals are.

  • What your personal circumstances – such as your marital status, any dependents, your job, earnings and tax situation.

  • Any investments or assets that you currently have – such as registered accounts, workplace pensions, property etc.

  • Your appetite for risk and investment preferences.

  • Information on your income and also your outgoings, including debts such as mortgages, loans or credit cards.

  • Whether or not you have a will, and its contents.

  • Your estate and inheritance planning situation.

If you’re looking to achieve your financial goals, talk to us. We can help. 

Stay Ahead in 2024: A Comprehensive Checklist for Federal Tax Updates

With the upcoming 2024 Canadian tax rule changes, it’s important to review your financial strategies. We’ve identified the key changes that we expect to influence financial decisions for investors, business owners, incorporated professionals, retirees, and individuals with high income or net worth.


Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

Starting on June 25, 2024, the tax on capital gains is changing. Until now, you would only have to include half of your capital gains in your income for tax purposes. But after that date, you’ll have to include two-thirds of any capital gains over $250,000 on your tax return. This is also the case for employee stock options. 

Consequently, for corporations and trusts, they will have to include two-thirds of all their capital gains, no matter the amount. This is a significant change. 


Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE)

The budget proposes increasing the LCGE for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. This change increases tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.


Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, suggesting revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.


Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met. 


Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

This new tax measure offers a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years. However, it’s important to know that not all businesses qualify—this doesn’t apply to businesses in professional services, finance, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care.

Below is a checklist to help you navigate the tax adjustments and ensure your financial plans are updated and aligned with the new rules.


Investors

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate.

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Employee Stock Options: Adjust the timing of exercising stock options to align with the upcoming changes in inclusion rates.


Business Owners:

  • Corporate Investments: Assess the impact of increased inclusion rates on corporately held assets, exploring the timing of gains realization. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption: Maximize the benefits of the increased LCGE for qualifying business assets.

  • Employee Ownership Trust: Consider the advantages of transferring business ownership via an EOT.

  • Succession Planning: Update your succession plans to consider the potential impact of capital gains tax changes.

  • Entrepreneurs Incentive: Check if you are eligible to reduce capital gains taxes. 


Incorporated Professionals:

  • Investments: Assess both personal and corporate investments for the new inclusion rate. Determine the most tax-effective structure for holding and realizing gains from investments.

  • Succession Planning: Time the potential sale of your professional corporation to capitalize on the current LCGE.


Retirees:

  • Estate Planning: Update estate plans considering the impending increase in capital gains rates.

  • Life Insurance Coverage: Ensure life insurance is adequate to cover increased capital gains tax liabilities upon death.

  • Non-Registered Investments and Retirement Income: Review your strategy for non-registered investments to manage taxes on gains and adjust your retirement income plans to accommodate the upcoming changes in capital gains rates.


Individuals with High Income or Net Worth: 

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Charitable Contributions: Align your charitable giving strategies with the new tax benefits and AMT considerations.

Please reach out to us to review your financial strategy together and ensure it aligns with the upcoming changes. 

2024 Federal Budget Highlights

On April 16, 2024, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, presented the federal budget.

While there are no changes to federal personal or corporate tax rates, the budget introduces:

  • An increase in the portion of capital gains subject to tax, rising from 50% to 66.67%, starting June 25, 2024. However, individual gains up to $250,000 annually will retain the 50% rate.

  • The lifetime exemption limit for capital gains has been raised to $1.25 million. Additionally, a new one-third inclusion rate is set for up to $2 million in capital gains for entrepreneurs.

  • The budget confirms the alternative minimum tax changes planned for January 1, 2024 but lessens their impact on charitable contributions.

  • This year’s budget emphasizes making housing more affordable. It provides incentives for building rental properties specifically designed for long-term tenants.

  • Introduces new support measures to aid people buying their first homes.

  • Costs for specific patents and tech equipment and software can now be written off immediately.

  • Canada carbon rebate for small business.

Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

The budget suggests raising the inclusion rate on capital gains after June 24, 2024:

  • Corporations and trusts, from 50% to 66.67%.

  • Individuals, on capital gains over $250,000 annually, also from 50% to 66.67%.

For individuals, the $250,000 annual threshold that applies to net capital gains—the amount remaining after offsetting any capital losses. This includes gains acquired directly by an individual or indirectly through entities such as partnerships or trusts. Essentially, this threshold acts as a deductible, considering various factors to determine the net gains eligible for the increased capital gains tax rate.

Individuals in the highest income bracket, who earn above the top marginal tax rate threshold, will face a higher tax rate on capital gains exceeding $250,000 due to these changes. Furthermore, the budget modifies the tax deduction for employee stock options to align with the updated capital gains taxation rates yet maintains the initial 50% deduction for the first $250,000 in gains. Regarding previously incurred financial losses, the budget plans to adjust the value of these net capital losses from past years so that they are consistent with the current gains, upholding the uniformity with the new inclusion rate.

The budget outlines transitional rules for the upcoming tax year that straddles the implementation date of the new capital gains rates. If the tax year begins before June 25, 2024, but ends afterward, capital gains realized before June 25 will be taxed at the existing rate of 50%. However, gains accrued after June 24, 2024, will be subject to the increased rate of 66.67%. It’s important to note that the new $250,000 threshold for higher tax rates will only apply to gains made after June 24.

Consequently, for individuals earning capital gains beyond the $250,000 threshold and who fall into the highest income tax bracket, new rates will be effective as outlined in the table below. Specifically, this pertains to individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $355,845 in Alberta, $252,752 in British Columbia, $1,103,478 in Newfoundland and Labrador, $500,000 in the Yukon, and $246,752 in all other regions.

Further details and guidance on these new rules are expected to be provided in future announcements.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption

The budget proposes raising the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. Additionally, the exemption will once again be adjusted for inflation starting in 2026. This change aims to increase the tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.

Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

The Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive is a new tax measure which provides a reduced inclusion rate on capital gains from the disposition of qualifying small business shares.

Qualifications for the incentive include:

  • Shares must be of a small business corporation directly owned by an individual.

  • For 24 months before selling, over half the corporation’s assets must be actively used in a Canadian business or be certain connected assets.

  • The seller needs to be a founding investor who held the shares for at least five years.

  • The seller must have been actively involved in the business continuously for five years.

  • The seller must have owned a significant voting share throughout the subscription period.

  • The incentive does not apply to shares linked to professional services, financial, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care services sectors.

  • The shares must have been acquired at their fair market value.

  • The incentive allows for a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years.

This measure will apply to dispositions after December 31, 2024.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, with proposed changes outlined in the summer of 2023. The budget suggests revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.

Further proposed changes to the AMT include:

  • Permitting deductions for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, social assistance, and workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Exempting employee ownership trusts (EOTs) entirely from AMT.

  • Allowing certain tax credits, like federal political contributions, investment tax credits (ITCs), and labour-sponsored funds tax credit, to be carried forward if disallowed under the AMT.

These changes would take effect for tax years beginning after December 31, 2023. Additionally, the budget proposes technical amendments that would exempt specific trusts benefiting Indigenous groups from the AMT.

Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) Tax Exemption

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met:

  • Sale of shares must be from a non-professional corporation.

  • The seller, or their spouse or common-law partner, must have been actively involved in the business for at least two years prior to the sale.

  • The business shares must have been solely owned by the seller or a related person or partnership for two years before the sale, and mainly used in active business.

  • At least 90% of the EOT’s beneficiaries must be Canadian residents after the sale.

  • If multiple sellers are involved, they must jointly decide how to divide the $10 million exemption

  • If the EOT doesn’t maintain its status or if the business assets used in active business drop below 50% at any point within 36 months after the sale, the tax exemption may be revoked.

  • For Alternative Minimum Tax purposes, the exempted gains will face a 30% inclusion rate.

  • The normal reassessment period for the exemption is extended by three years.

  • The measure now also covers the sale of shares to a worker cooperative corporation.

This exemption is valid for sales occurring from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026.

Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

The budget proposes enhancements to the HBP for 2024 and beyond, effective for withdrawals after April 16, 2024. These include:

  • Raising the RRSP withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000 to support first-time homebuyers and purchases for those with disabilities.

  • Extending the grace period before repayment starts from two to five years for withdrawals made between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2025, deferring the start of the repayment period and thereby providing new homeowners additional time before they need to commence repayments

Interest Deductions and Purpose-Built Rental Housing

The budget proposes a selective exemption from the Excessive Interest and Financing Expenses Limitation (EIFEL) rules for certain interest and financing expenses related to arm’s length financing. This exemption is for the construction or purchase of eligible purpose-built rental housing in Canada and applies to expenses incurred before January 1, 2036. To qualify, the housing must be a residential complex with either at least four private apartment units, each with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living areas, or 10 private rooms or suites. Additionally, at least 90% of the units must be designated for long-term rental. This exemption will be effective for tax years starting on or after October 1, 2023, in line with the broader EIFEL regulations.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) – Purpose built rental housing

The budget introduces an accelerated CCA of 10% for new rental projects that start construction between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2030, and are completed by December 31, 2035. This accelerated depreciation applies to projects that convert commercial properties into residential complexes or expand existing residential buildings that meet specific criteria under the EIFEL rules. However, it does not cover renovations to existing residential complexes.

Additionally, these investments will benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive, which allows for immediate depreciation deductions for properties put into use before 2028. Starting in 2028, the regular depreciation rules, including the half-year rule, will apply.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)- Productivity-enhancing assets

The budget introduces immediate expensing for newly acquired properties that become operational between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2026. This applies to specific categories such as:

  • Class 44- Patents and rights to patented information

  • Class 46- Data network infrastructure and related software

  • Class 50- General electronic data-processing equipment and software

Properties that are put into use between 2027 and 2028 will continue to benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive.

To qualify for this accelerated depreciation, the property must not have been previously owned by the taxpayer or someone closely connected to them, and it must not have been received as part of a tax-deferred deal. Also, if a tax year is shorter, the depreciation will be adjusted accordingly and will not carry over to the next year.

Canada Carbon Rebate for Small Businesses

The budget introduces a Canada Carbon Rebate for small businesses, offering a new refundable tax credit automatically. To be eligible, a Canadian-controlled private corporation must:

  • File a tax return for its 2023 tax year by July 15, 2024, for the fuel charge years from 2019-20 to 2023-24. For subsequent fuel charge years, it must file a tax return for the tax year that ends within that fuel charge year.

  • Employ 499 or fewer people across Canada during the year that corresponds with the fuel charge year.

The amount of the tax credit for each eligible business will depend on:

  • The province where the company had employees during the fuel charge year.

  • The number of employees in that province multiplied by a rate set by the Minister of Finance for that year.

  • The CRA will automatically calculate and issue the tax credit to qualifying businesses.

We can help!

Wondering how this year’s budget will impact your finances or your business? We can help – give us a call today!

Easy Exit: Business Succession in a Nutshell

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Getting into the world of business is a meticulous task, but so is getting out of it

Whether you’ve just hit the ground running on your business or if you’ve been at it for a long time, there is no better time to plan your exit strategy than now. Although the process may seem taxing, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about planning your business succession strategy. 

1. Who do I talk to about this? 

Deciding on how to go about the transition requires careful planning, and you need to consult no less than people who are well equipped to help you out. First, talk to your key advisors such as bankers and financial partners. You could also use some advice from your accountant and lawyers. If your company has an advisory board, better consult them as well. You may also hire a specialist or a consultant, depending on how you choose to go about your business succession plan. 

2. Who should I choose as a successor? 

There are several ways to go about this, and your decision will ultimately be your personal choice. You may pass on your business to a family member or to your top executives or managers. You may also choose to sell it to an outsider. Whichever path you choose, you can also decide on how much you want to be involved in the business after you pass it on. That is, if you want to be involved at all. 

3. When should I inform my successor about my plans? 

While a surprise inheritance may be heartwarming, it’s not the same with inheriting a business. Getting a successor ready—whether it’s a family member or someone from your company—requires careful planning and training. As soon as you’ve chosen a successor, better get started on getting them ready for the big shoes they’re about to fill. This includes helping them equip themselves with the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications necessary to run your business. 

4. How do I plan the transition itself? 

The transition will be twofold—transferring ownership and handing over the business itself. As far as transferring ownership is concerned, you need to consider legal and financial details. These include valuation, financing and taxation. You also need to consider if you wish to keep your current legal structure (corporation, sole prop, partnership, etc.) or if you (or your successor) would like to change it. You also need to plan how to prepare various stakeholders in the business for the transition. How will you prepare your customers, clients, and employees? What would be their level of involvement? Make sure that you put different strategies in place in order to ensure transparency and consistency in communicating changes in your business, especially something as drastic as succession. 

5. Now that I have a business succession plan ready, can I go back to business as usual? 

Not really. Your business and your customers’ needs may change over time. This means that you need to keep reviewing and adjusting your plan as your business also evolves. 

Don’t lose all your hard-earned money to taxes

Don’t lose all your hard-earned money to taxes

Tax planning is an essential part of managing your money – both while living and after your death. You want to maximize the amount of money to your beneficiaries, not the government. We have three tips to help you reduce taxes on your hard-earned money:

  1. Make the most of the lifetime capital gains exemption

  2. Decrease your end-of-life tax bill

  3. Look into Immediate Financing Arrangements

Lifetime capital gains exemption

The good news is that you can save a lot of money on taxes using the lifetime capital gains exemption. The bad news is that you could lose out on some of those savings unless you follow all the appropriate steps. Having a financial team to guide you through these steps is essential. When it comes to selling all or part of your business, your lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor must be all on the same page.

End-of-life tax bill

As with the lifetime capital gains exemption, working with your financial team to ensure your affairs are in order is crucial. Without the proper paperwork, your hard-earned money may not go to the family members, friends, or charities you want to support. Take the time to ensure that your wishes are properly documented and that you have filled out all essential paperwork.

Consider an Immediate Financing Arrangement

An Immediate Financing Arrangement (IFA) lets your business:

  • Get a life insurance premium on behalf of a shareholder

  • Create a tax deduction

  • Transfer assets tax-free from the business to a shareholder’s estate

Also, you can use an IFA to help increase your business’ cash flow by pledging the life insurance policy as collateral for a loan. The loan can be invested into the business or other investments if the company does not need the additional cash flow.

The Takeaway

While this can all seem overwhelming, it is essential to make sure you take the proper steps to protect your business and minimize your tax bill. But you don’t have to do this alone – contact us today for expert advice and guidance.

Do you have enough for retirement?

Many of us dream of the day that we can retire and have the time to ourselves that we have dreamed of for so many years. But, to have a genuinely contented and relaxing retirement, you need to ensure that you have the means to afford it. So, now’s the best time to consider the three critical stages of retirement planning.

Accumulation

This is the stage you save for your retirement – essentially, the majority of your working life. So, naturally, if you start saving for your retirement early, you will have the ability to save a larger pension for the future, though this is not always achievable for young people or those on a low income.

Pre-retirement

At this point, you are making the final plans for your retirement. Although you are potentially making less money at this late stage of your career, it’s still a necessary time to continue saving and making sure that your investments are fit for purpose.

Retirement

Once you are no longer working, your retirement income will usually come from three key sources:

  • Government benefits: Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security

  • Employer pension or retirement plan

  • Personal savings: Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Tax-Free Savings Account, Non-Registered Savings

Your concern will be to ensure that your money lasts the length of your lifetime.

Drawing up a retirement plan

A retirement plan is a crucial process to undertake during your working life, as it will help you outline and achieve your financial goals for the future. However, making such a plan doesn’t have to be daunting – here are our key steps to success:

  • Work out how much income you’ll need in your retirement. This is a key starting point to ensure that you save enough to meet this need.

  • Start early. If you can, invest any spare money into your retirement fund and keep going. Small amounts grow over time and can help you create a savings fund to meet your needs in retirement.

  • Diversify as much as you can. The best way to reduce your risk and exposure to poor market performance is to spread your investments. We can help you create a strategy that focuses on your attitude to risk.

  • Contributing to a TFSA or RRSP is a great place to start. Contribute the maximum amounts you can, and don’t forget to contribute on a consistent basis.

Talk to us today about your retirement goals.

Do you need an estate plan?

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Managing your finances raises a number of topics but none as tricky and potentially unpleasant as planning for your family and finances in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated. Understandably, these questions are often ignored by many—but don’t fall into the trap of avoiding these difficult matters. Good estate planning will help to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and your family and assets are well protected.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the key areas that you should consider when designing your estate plan:

  • Choosing a guardian – One of the most important considerations is who you select to become the legal guardian of your children. This is a very personal and complex decision, and you will consider several unique factors depending on your circumstances, but your principal concerns might be how physically able the person is to look after your children, as well as such practical matters as how close they live to you and their personal and financial situation and stability.

  • Life insurance and trusts – Life insurance gives your family the financial security to continue their standard of living and fulfil their dreams in the event that you are unable to provide for them yourself. Life insurance payouts can be used in various ways, including paying off debts, paying for college education, or simply helping with general living costs.

 

A trust is a way of specifying how and when you wish to pass money and other resources to your children. It can be an excellent way of ensuring that their inheritance reaches them before the age of eighteen or twenty-one, unlike a court-controlled process, as you will stipulate who manages and distributes the funds.

·      Choosing someone to make decisions on your behalf

It is crucial to make sure that somebody trustworthy is nominated to manage and distribute your various assets according to your wishes. This executor can be anybody, though spouses, older children, or close friends are often common choices. Similarly, if you become too sick to make your own decisions about your finances or your family’s care, a health care directive and a power of attorney will give you peace of mind and go a long way towards protecting your assets.

Now that we understand the key areas that should be considered in estate planning, here are some of the important components or documents involved in the process:

·      Will, trusts, and beneficiary forms

Both a will and a trust should detail your assets and how you wish them to be distributed when you die, as well as assigning the guardians of your children. However, one benefit that a trust has over a will is that a trust does not have to go through probate prior to being executed, as well as the option of coming into effect before you pass away; it remains under your control and transfers the role of trustee to someone else when you decease.

Beneficiary forms are slightly different. They assign designated beneficiaries to specific financial accounts such as mortgages and bank accounts. As this information holds more legal weight than a will itself, it is crucial to regularly ensure that your beneficiaries are up to date.

 

·      Durable powers of attorney

The term power of attorney refers to the person, or persons, that you nominate to act on your behalf in the event that you are too ill to state or carry out your own wishes. There are various ways to implement this; you can choose specific individuals for particular roles, such as one person to look after your finances and another to make your healthcare decisions, or you can designate one person full power of attorney to manage all of your affairs.

 

·      A living will

Not to be confused with a last will and testament, a living will details the type of medical treatment that you wish if you were ever incapacitated. Along with a general or healthcare power of attorney (see above), this document is known as your advance health care directive, and it not only provides you with peace of mind that your medical wishes will be respected, but it also gives direction and support to your family when faced with difficult decisions about your care.

 

·      Letter of intent

This document is not legally binding and can offer a more personal touch alongside an official will or trust. As the letter is less formal and binding than other documents, many people use it to express their wishes about more personal aspects such as their requests for funeral arrangements, or even preferences and desires for how their family should be brought up.

As with any financial arrangement, changes over time, not only in process and legislation but in your own personal situation, mean that it is imperative to keep your estate planning strategy under review and regularly updated to ensure it’s fit for its purpose and accurately reflects your wishes. 

2024 Financial Calendar

2024 Financial Calendar

Welcome to our 2024 financial calendar! This calendar is designed to help you keep track of important financial dates and deadlines, such as tax filing and government benefit distribution. You can bookmark this page for easy reference or add these dates to your personal calendar to ensure you don’t miss any important financial obligations.

If you need help with your taxes, tax packages will be available starting February 2024. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started on your tax return – make an appointment with your accountant to ensure you’re ready to go when tax season arrives.

Important 2024 Dates to Know

On January 1, 2024 the contribution room for your Tax Free Savings Account opens again. The maximum contribution for 2024 is $7,000.

If you qualify, on January 1, 2024 the contribution room for your First Home Savings Account opens. The maximum contribution for 2024 is $8,000. 

For your Registered Retirement Savings Plan contributions to be eligible for the 2023 tax year, you must make them by February 29, 2024.

GST/HST credit payments will be issued on:  

  • January 5

  • April 5

  • July 5

  • October 4

Canada Child Benefit payments will be issued on the following dates: 

  • January 19

  • February 20

  • March 20

  • April 19

  • May 17

  • June 20

  • July 19

  • August 20

  • September 20

  • October 18

  • November 20

  • December 13

The government will issue Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments on the following dates: 

  • January 29

  • February 27

  • March 26

  • April 26

  • May 29

  • June 26

  • July 29

  • August 28

  • September 25

  • October 29

  • November 27

  • December 20

The Bank of Canada will make interest rate announcements on:

  • January 24

  • March 6

  • April 10

  • June 5

  • July 24

  • September 4

  • October 23

  • December 11

April 30, 2024 is the last day to file your personal income taxes, and tax payments are due by this date. This is also the filing deadline for final returns if death occurred between January 1 and October 31, 2023.

May 1 to June 30, 2024 would be the filing deadline for final tax returns if death occurred between November 1 and December 31, 2023. 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 17, 2024. Payments are due April 30, 2024. 

The final Tax-Free Savings Account, First Home Savings Account, Registered Education Savings Plan and Registered Disability Savings Plan contributions deadline is December 31.

December 31 is also the deadline for 2024 charitable contributions.

December 31 is also the deadline for individuals who turned 71 in 2024 to finish contributing to their RRSPs and convert them into RRIFs.

Please reach out if you have any questions. 

2023 Year-End Tax Tips and Strategies for Business Owners

2023 Year-End Tax Tips and Strategies 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/Dividend Mix

As a business owner, an essential part of tax planning is determining if you receive salary or dividends from the business.

When you’re paid a salary, the corporation can claim an income tax deduction, which reduces its taxable income. You include this pay in your personal taxable income. You’ll also create Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contribution room.

As a general guideline, if you find yourself needing to take money out of your corporation, like for personal expenses, it’s a good idea to consider withdrawing a salary to create room for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). By receiving a salary of up to $175,333 in 2023, you can potentially generate RRSP contribution room for the following year, amounting to a maximum of $31,560 (the 2024 limit).

If you don’t have an immediate need to withdraw funds from your corporation, you might still want to take out enough money to maximize your contributions to RRSPs and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). These plans can offer an effective way to earn a return on your investments without incurring taxes.

Lastly, it’s worth considering the option of leaving any surplus funds in your corporation to take advantage of substantial tax deferral benefits. This strategy may potentially result in more substantial investment income over the long term compared to personal investing.

The alternative is the corporation can distribute a dividend to you. The corporation must pay tax on its corporate income and can’t claim the dividend distributed as a deduction. However, because of the dividend tax credit, the dividend typically pays a lower tax rate (than for salary) on eligible and non-eligible dividends.

In addition to paying yourself, you can consider paying family members. These are the main options you can consider when determining how to distribute money from your business:

  • 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 CPP and an RRSP. You must be able to prove the family members have provided services in line with the amount of compensation you give them.

  • 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.

  • Distribute money from your business via income sprinkling, which 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.

  • 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 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

Another important part of year-end tax planning is determining appropriate ways to handle compensation. Compensation is financial benefits that go beyond a base salary.

These are the main things to consider when determining how you want to handle compensation:

  • Can you benefit from a shareholder loan? A shareholder loan is an agreement to borrow funds from your corporation for a specific purpose and offers deductible interest.

  • Do you need to repay a shareholder loan to avoid paying personal income tax on your borrowed amount?

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

  • 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.

  • Consider setting up a retirement compensation arrangement (RCA) to help fund your or your employee’s retirement.

Passive Investments

One of the most common tax advantages available to Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC) is the first $500,000 of active business income in a CCPC qualifies for the small business deduction (SBD), which reduces the corporate tax rate by 12% to 21%, depending on the province or territory.

With the SBD, you can reduce your corporate tax rate, but remember 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 SBD is to ensure 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 hold more equity investments than fixed-income investments. As a result, 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

Consider speeding up the purchase of depreciable assets for year-end tax planning. A depreciable asset is a capital property on which you can claim Capital Cost Allowance (CCA).

Here’s how to make the most of tax planning with depreciable assets:

  • Make use of the Accelerated Investment Incentive. This incentive makes some depreciable assets eligible for an enhanced first-year allowance.

  • Consider postponing the sale of a depreciable asset if it will result in recaptured depreciation for your 2023 taxation year.

Qualified Small Business Corporation (QSBC) Share Status

Ensure your corporate shares are eligible to get you the $971,190 (for 2023) lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE). The LCGE is $1,000,0000 for dispositions of qualified farm or fishing property.

Suppose you sell QSBC shares scheduled to close in late December 2023 to January 2024. In that case, you may want to consider deferring the sale to access a higher LCGE for 2024 and therefore defer the tax payable on any gain arising from the sale.

Consider taking advantage of the LCGE and restructuring your business to multiply access to the exemption with other family members. But, again, you should discuss this with us, your accountant and legal counsel to see how this can benefit you.

Business Transition

When considering the transfer of your business, family farm, or fishing corporation to your children or grandchildren, it is advisable to engage in a discussion with your advisor. This conversation should encompass an examination of recent and upcoming proposed changes to the Income Tax Act. These changes include the introduction of additional requirements that must be fulfilled for transfers taking place after 2023. The purpose of this discussion is to assess how these amendments may affect the tax implications associated with the sale of your assets.

Donations

Another essential part of tax planning is to make all 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 these types of charitable donations.

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

We’re here to help you with your year-end tax planning. So book a meeting with us today to learn how you can benefit from these tax tips and strategies.