Business Owners

Individuals who have incorporated their business such as consultants, contractors and professionals often find that providing affordable health and dental care coverage for themselves and their families can be an expensive proposition.

Individuals who have incorporated their business such as consultants, contractors and professionals often find that providing affordable health and dental care coverage for themselves and their families can be an expensive proposition.

Take Bob for example. Bob had just left his architectural firm to set up on his own. In looking at the options available for him to replace his previous firm’s Extended Health and Dental coverage for he and his family, he discovered that the monthly premium would be between $400 and $500 per month. This was for a plan that didn’t provide coverage for all practitioners and procedures, had an annual limit on the benefits, and a co-insurance factor of 20% (only 80% of eligible costs were covered). There wasn’t even any orthodontia coverage although he could purchase that in limited amounts at an additional cost! He also had to move quickly to replace his lost coverage as he had a pre-existing condition that most likely would not be covered if he waited too long to implement the new plan.

It seemed to Bob that there was a possibility of not receiving full value for his extended health and dental premiums. It was possible that he would spend far less than the $6,000 of premiums he would pay over the course of the year. The monthly premiums were also not tax-deductible. Fortunately, Bob found out about the Health Spending Account (HSA).

What is a Health Spending Account?

An HSA is becoming a popular alternative to traditional health insurance. An HSA is defined by the Canada Revenue Agency as a Private Health Spending Plan. Under the terms of a PHSP, eligible small business owners can;

• pay for their family’s medical expenses

• deduct the cost from the business income

• not have the benefit taxable to the business owner/employee

This article focuses on HSA as it applies to a one-person owner of a small business corporation. As you might expect, there are guidelines that must be met and restrictions that will apply.

• These plans cannot be for shareholders only. The shareholder must be a valid employee and receive a portion of his or her remuneration in the form of salary.

• The CRA prefers that the corporation employ the services of a third party to manage the plan and adjudicate the claims.

It is in the business owner’s best interests to use the services of a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) who specializes in PHSP’s to ensure that all the requirements are met, and all claims and payments are valid.

What does an HSA cost?

The cost of the Third-Party Administrator is very reasonable. There is usually an initial set up charge of a few hundred dollars and on-going fees run 5% to 15% of the claimed amount (plus taxes), with the typical fee being approximately 10%.

Some firms also charge an annual fee, so it is best to shop around or ask your financial advisor for advice. Being able to submit claims online and receive reimbursement by EFT almost immediately is a benefit that many of the third-party administrator’s offer.

How does it work?

Bob’s first experience with his HSA illustrates how the plan works. The HSA that Bob had implemented is referred to as a Cost-Plus plan which is the most popular arrangement with one-person corporations.

Let’s Break it Down

• Bob’s daughter started orthodontic treatments and his first charge was $1,000.

• Bob paid this amount by credit card (yes, he got points for that).

• Bob then forwarded the receipt for his payment directly to the TPA who would reimburse Bob his full $1,000.

• The TPA then bills Bob’s company for the amount of the treatment plus their 10% charge.

• Bob’s company pays the invoice and gets to deduct the $1,100 from corporate taxable income.

• The payment Bob’s company made is not taxable to Bob.

A good result! Bob has his expense reimbursed tax-free while his company gets to deduct the amount of the payment plus the administrative cost.

What are the advantages of an HSA?

• All medical procedures, necessary equipment and certified practitioners as listed by the CRA are covered in full.

• There are no medical questions for starting a plan and no pre-existing conditions clause to satisfy.

• All dependents may be covered.

• Deductible portions or shortfalls in other plans can be claimed.

• Benefits are not taxable while the costs to the corporation are tax-deductible.

As with any government regulated plan, make sure you employ the services of those who are experienced in advising on PHSP’s. They will not only guide you as to the best way to set up your plan, they will keep you out of trouble once you do.

As always, please feel free to share this with anyone you think may find it of interest.

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Owners of very successful private corporations are well aware of the importance of cash flow. Many are protective of how they allocate corporate capital so that business ventures are adequately funded and investment opportunities are not missed.

Owners of very successful private corporations are well aware of the importance of cash flow. Many are protective of how they allocate corporate capital so that business ventures are adequately funded and investment opportunities are not missed.  

The Immediate Financing Arrangement offers an opportunity to provide life insurance coverage and accumulate wealth on a tax-advantaged basis without impairing corporate cash flow.

What is an Immediate Financing Arrangement (IFA)?

An IFA is a financial and estate planning strategy that:

·      Combines permanent, cash value life insurance with a conservative leverage program allowing the dollars allocated to the life insurance premiums to do double duty by still being available for business and investment purposes;

·      In the right circumstances and when structured properly so that all possible tax deductions are used, an improvement in cash flow could result.

Who should consider this strategy?

IFA`s are not for everyone. For those situations that best match the necessary criteria, however, significant results can be achieved. The best candidates for an IFA usually are:

·      Successful, affluent individuals who are active investors or owners of thriving privately held corporations who require permanent life insurance protection;

·      Of good health, non-smokers, and preferably under age 60;

·      Enjoying a steady cash flow exceeding lifestyle requirements;

·      Paying income tax at the highest rate and will continue to do so throughout their life.

How does it work?

·      An individual or company purchases a cash value permanent life insurance policy and contributes allowable maximum premiums;

·      The policy is assigned to a bank as collateral for a line of credit;

·      The business or individual uses the loan advances to replace cash used for insurance purchase and re-invests in business operations or to make investments to produce income. This is done annually;

·      The borrower pays interest only and can borrow back the interest at year end;

·      At the insured’s death the proceeds of the life insurance policy retire the outstanding line of credit with the balance going to the insured’s beneficiary;

·      If corporately owned, up to the entire amount of the life insurance death benefit is available for Capital Dividend Account purposes.

Proper planning and execution is essential for the Immediate Financing Arrangement. However, if you fit the appropriate profile, you could benefit substantially from this strategy.

If you wish to investigate this strategy and whether it can be of benefit to you, please contact me and I would be happy to discuss this with you. As always, feel free to use the sharing icons below to forward this to someone who might find this of interest.

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The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Read for some of the highlights

The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Here are some of the highlights:

Corporate

Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Alberta intends to bring in a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit with a maximum funding of $20 million per year, which aims to offer eligible companies with a benefit of 25% of eligible labour costs. This benefit relates to costs incurred after April 1, 2018 and is aiming to better support the interactive digital media sector in the province.

Alberta Investor Tax Credit

The 2018 budget extends the existing Alberta Investor Tax Credit until 2012-22. The existing program offers a 30% tax credit to both individuals and corporations who commit to making equity investments in eligible Alberta businesses, such as those involved in research, development, digital animation and various others.

Diversity & Inclusion Credit

Relating to the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit and Alberta Investor Tax Credit, the budget notes a 5% diversity and inclusion credit enhancement which could be claimed if the company offers employment to an individual from an under-represented group.

Capital Investment Tax Credit

The budget announces that the Capital Investment Tax Credit, a 10% non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million for a corporation’s eligible capital expenditures on manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure, will also be extended until 2021-22.

Personal

Alberta Child Benefit

The 2018 budget details increases to these benefits for families with 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus children, as well as increasing the phase-out threshold for family net income from $41,786 to $42,287.

Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit

Increases have also been announced in the budget to offer more benefits for working families who have income from employment of more than $2,760 per year. The phase-out threshold has been extended from a family net income of $41,786 to $42,287, as well as increases to the benefit amounts for each family size.

Cannabis Tax

The budget covers the agreement made by Alberta to adhere to a structured tax framework with the Canadian government for a period of two years after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Specifically, either $1 per gram or 10% of the producer price (whichever is greater) will be collected and the province will receive 75% of this tax room, both to be collected by the federal government. In addition, an additional tax of a maximum of 10% of the retail price may also be collected by the province.

Education Property Tax

A freeze has been set on education property tax collection, but the current rates have increased as follows:

·      From $2.48 to $2.56 per $1,000 or equalized assessment for residential/farmland property.

From $3.64 to £3.76 for non-residential property

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The government’s 2018 federal budget focuses on a number of tax tightening measures for business owners. It introduces a new regime for holding passive investments inside a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC). (Previously proposed in July 2017.)

The government’s 2018 federal budget focuses on a number of tax tightening measures for business owners. It introduces a new regime for holding passive investments inside a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC). (Previously proposed in July 2017.)

 Here are the highlights:

Small Business Tax Rate Reduction Confirmed

Lower small business tax rate from 10% (from 10.5%), effective January 1, 2018 and to 9% effective January 1, 2019.

Limiting Access to the Small Business Tax Rate

A key objective of the budget is to decrease the small business limit for CCPCs with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments. This will apply to CCPCs with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. It reduces the small business deduction by $5 for each $1 of investment income which falls over the threshold of $50,000. This new ­regulation will go hand in hand with the current business limit reduction for taxable capital.

Limiting access to refundable taxes

 Another important feature of the budget is to reduce the tax advantages that CCPCs can gain to access refundable taxes on the distribution of dividends. Currently, a corporation can receive a refundable dividend tax on hand (known as a RDTOH) when they pay a particular dividend, whereas the new proposals aim to permit such a refund only where a private corporation pays non-eligible dividends, though exceptions apply regarding RDTOH deriving from eligible portfolio dividends.

The new RDTOH account referred to “eligible RDTOH” will be tracked under Part IV of the Income Tax Act while the current RDTOH account will be redefined as “non-eligible RDTOH” and will be tracked under Part I of the Income Tax Act. This means when a corporation pays non-eligible dividends, it’s required to obtain a refund from its non-eligible RDTOH account before it obtains a refund from its eligible RDTOH account.

Health and welfare trusts

The budget states that it will end the Health and Welfare Trust tax regime and transition it to Employee Life and Health Trusts. The current tax position of Health and Welfare Trusts are linked to the administrative rules as stated by the CRA, but the income Tax Act includes specific rules relating to the Employee Life and Heath Trusts which are similar. The budget will simplify this arrangement to have one set of rules across both arrangements.

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It has certainly been a busy week in terms of announcements regarding financial policies for small businesses. Following the series of proposed tax reforms that the government announced back in July, various tweaks and changes have subsequently been made, owing, perhaps in part, to confusion and frustration expressed among the small business community. We have provided a brief summary of the changes in this article and infographic.

It has certainly been a busy week in terms of announcements regarding financial policies for small businesses. Following the series of proposed tax reforms that the government announced back in July, various tweaks and changes have subsequently been made, owing, perhaps in part, to confusion and frustration expressed among the small business community. This week Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, has made further clarifications and adjustments to his original set of proposals, aiming to bring more of a sense of balance to the plans. Like all policy changes, the detail can be a little overwhelming, so here is a summary of the key points for your reference: 

  • The government intends to honor a commitment made prior to the election, to reduce the small business tax rate from 10.5% to 9% by the year 2019. 
  • Morneau confirmed that the government has scrapped the proposal to limit access to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption. 
  • The plans announced earlier in the year to reduce the value of passive investments made by corporations will continue in principle, but with few key changes. There will be a threshold of $50,000 of income per year, which will be excluded from the newly set higher rate of tax. 
  • The government has agreed to “simplify” the rules related to the new plans, to prevent income splitting for family members, who are not active in a business, but the plan will still move ahead in principle. 
  • Morneau has confirmed that the government will still provide good entrepreneurial incentives for venture capitalists and angel investors. The criteria for which still needs to be established. 
  • The proposed rules to limit the conversion of income to capital gains have been abandoned due to the concerns that many related to intergenerational transfers and insurance policies were held inside corporations. 

Of course, this is one area of government policy which is not only constantly changing, but particularly controversial in the current climate, so keep yourself updated regularly on new announcements and news, to ensure your understanding in this area and its potential impact on your family and business. If you have any questions, please talk to us. 

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The month of July saw a set of proposed tax changes announced by the Federal Minister of Canada which are potentially the most impactful and significant amendments since the large-scale tax reform of 1972.

The month of July saw a set of proposed tax changes announced by the Federal Minister of Canada which are potentially the most impactful and significant amendments since the large-scale tax reform of 1972. We will go on to describe the detail and impact of the proposals, which fall into three main areas, below. In summary, however, the purpose of the changes introduced by the government is broadly to close the potential current perceived tax loopholes that exist for higher earners and owners of private corporations. In response to the proposals, the government is inviting views and opinions on the changes during a consultation period which will last until October 2 2017.

  1. Changes to Income Sprinkling

If a high earning individual moves a proportion of their income to a family member such as children or a spouse who hold a lower tax rate in an attempt to reduce the total amount of tax payable, this is known as income sprinkling. To mitigate this, the government is proposing to include adult children in the eligibility rules in addition to minors, as well as taking a “reasonability” approach to assessing their income and thus which rate the transferred income should be taxed at. This will mark a change to the current TOSI (tax on split income) rules which currently apply.

 2.  Minimizing the incentives of keeping passive investments in CCPCs

Currently, it can be advantageous for corporations to keep excess funds in a CCPC due to the fact that the corporate tax rate on the first $500,000 of taxable income is often much lower than the tax that would be payable by an individual. The government is moving to make this option less beneficial by the following two initiatives: firstly, by the removal of the option of crediting the capital dividend account (known as the CDA) equal to the amount of the non-taxable portion of any capital gains and secondly by removing the refundability of passive investment taxes.

 3.  Reducing the transfer of corporate surpluses to capital gains

Tax advantages can currently be achieved by the sharing out of corporate surpluses to shareholders through dividends or salaries, which are often taxed at a lower rate than if earned as personal income. This is due to the fact that just 50% of capital gains are taxable.

These are the first significant proposals since 1972, talk to us we can help. If these changes are of concern to you or your client, please send an email to Fin.consultation.fin@canada.ca or send an email to your local member of parliament.

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the government’s 2017 federal budget on March 22, 2017. The budget expects a deficit of $23 billion for fiscal 2016-2017 and forecasts a deficit of $28.5 billion for 2017-2018. Learn what the budget means for small business owners.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the government’s 2017 federal budget on March 22, 2017. The budget expects a deficit of $23 billion for fiscal 2016-2017 and forecasts a deficit of $28.5 billion for 2017-2018. Find out what this means for businesses.

Small Business

    • No changes to income tax rates
    • No changes to capital gains inclusion rate

Tax Planning using private companies

While no specific measures are mentioned, the government will review the use of tax planning strategies involving private corporations “that inappropriately reduce personal taxes of high-income earners.” including:

    • Income Splitting: Reducing taxes by income splitting with family members who are subject to lower personal tax rates.
    • Regular income to Capital Gains: Converting income to capital gains (instead of income being taxed as dividends)
    • Passive income inside Corporation: Since corporate income tax rates are generally lower than personal tax rates, this strategy can facilitate the accumulation of earnings by owners of private corporations.

For Professionals

The government eliminated a tax deferral opportunity for certain professionals. Accountants, dentists, lawyers, medical doctors, veterinarians and chiropractors will no longer be able to elect to exclude the value of work in progress in computing their income. This will be phased-in over two taxation years, starting with taxation years that begin after this budget.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

 

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Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivered the province's budget on March 16, 2017. Learn what the budget means for small business owners and individuals

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivered the province’s 2017 budget on March 16, 2017. The budget anticipates a deficit of $10.3 billion for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, $9.7 billion for 2018-2019 and $7.2 billion for 2019-2020.

Corporate Income Tax Measures

No changes to corporate taxes were announced.

Corporate Income Tax Rates- As of January 1, 2017
  Alberta Combined Federal & Alta
General 12% 27%
M&P 12% 27%
Small Business* 2.0% 12.5%
*on first $500,000 of active business income

Personal Income Tax Measures

Introduction of legislation to adjust Alberta’s dividend tax credit rate on non-eligible dividends for 2017 and subsequent years to address federal tax changes, however no further details were provided.

Personal Combined Federal/Provincial Top Marginal Rates
  2017
Interest and regular income 48.0%
Capital gains 24.0%
Eligible dividends 31.7%
Non-eligible dividends 41.2%
  • Political Contributions Tax Credit: Eligible political contributions tax credit to party leadership elections and candidate nomination races, effective for contributions made on or after January 1, 2017. This credit is worth 75% on the first $200 in donations, 50% on the next $900 and 33.33% on the next $1,200, for a maximum credit of $1,000 on a total contribution of $2,300.
  • Education Property Tax: Freezes the education property tax rates for 2017‑18 and residential/farmland rate remains at $2.48 per $1,000 of equalized assessment and the non‑residential rate will remain at $3.64.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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BC Finance Minister, Michael de Jong delivered the province's 2017 budget on Feb. 21, 2017. Learn what the budget means for small business owners and individuals.

BC Finance Minister Michael de Jong delivered the province’s 2017 budget on Feb. 21, 2017. The budget anticipates a surplus of $295 million for the current year, $244 million in 2018-2019 and $223 million in 2019-2020.

Corporate Income Tax Measures

Reduction in Corporate income Tax Rate from 2.5% to 2.0% effective April 1, 2017

Corporate Income Tax Rates- As of January 1, 2017
British Columbia Combined Federal & BC
General 11% 28%
M&P 11% 26%
Small Business* 2.5%/2.0%** 13.0%/12.5%**
*on first $500,000 of active business income **effective April 1, 2017

Personal

Increase in the personal tax rate from 40.61% to 40.95% for ineligible dividends effective January 1, 2017.

Personal Combined Federal/Provincial Top Marginal Rates
2017
Interest and regular income 47.70%
Capital gains 23.85%
Eligible dividends 31.30%
Non-eligible dividends 40.95%

Medical Services Plan Premiums: Rate will remain at $75/month/adult. Effective Jan 1, 2018: 50% MSP premium reduction for households with annual net incomes up to $120,000.

Firefighter & Search & Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit: Non-refundable tax credit of up to $3,000 for 2017.

Back to School Tax Credit: Non-refundable tax credit of $250 per child (ages 5 to 17) for 2016 to 2018. Effective Jan 1, 2018, the education tax credit will be eliminated.

Electricity- Provincial Sales Tax Act: Effective Oct 1, 2017, the tax rate is reduced to 3.5% of the purchase price.

Property transfer tax: For first time home buyers to save property transfer tax on the purchase of their property the partial exemption has been increased to $500,000 from $475,000.

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