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Private Corporations Dodge a Bullet with the 2018 Federal Budget

The Liberal Government’s Federal Budget was delivered by Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, on February 27, 2018.  There had been much concern and speculation about the direction the budget would take with respect to the taxation of private corporations.  This was due to a release of the Department of Finance in July 2017 which contained private corporation tax proposals which addressed areas of concern to the government involving, among other things, business owners holding passive investments inside of their corporation.  There was speculation that if these proposals were implemented the effective tax rate on investment income earned by a private corporation and distributed to its shareholders could increase astronomically.  Thankfully, the concerns voiced by business and professional groups following the July proposals were effective in moderating the government’s actions.

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Update on Taxation Changes Affecting Private Corporations

Owners of private corporations should be concerned about proposed tax changes being explored by the Department of Finance.  In the Federal Budget of March 2017, Finance expressed their concern that private corporations were being used by high income Canadians to obtain tax advantages that were not available to other Canadian tax payers.  That concern led to the release of a consultation paper along with draft legislation last July.  Finance asked for input from interested parties and stakeholders during a consultation period that ended in October 2017.

What happens now is anyone’s guess and most likely, we will probably have to wait until the Spring to find out. There were three specific tax planning strategies employed by private corporations that the department was most concerned with: Read more

The Importance of Critical Illness Insurance in Retirement Planning

There are a number of obstacles that could potentially de-rail a comfortable retirement. These include marriage breakdown, a stock market crash, and being sued. Another huge obstacle would be the diagnosis of a life threatening critical illness affecting you or your spouse. While it might be difficult to insulate yourself against some of the threats to retirement security, Critical Illness insurance goes a long way to mitigate the financial disaster that could result from a change in health as we approach retirement.

Considering that the wealth of many Canadians is comprised of the equity in their homes and the balance of their retirement plans, having to access funds to combat a dreaded illness could put their retirement objectives in jeopardy. Imagine that you are just a few years into or approaching retirement and you or your spouse suffers a stroke. The prognosis is for a long recovery and the cost associated with recovery and care is projected to be substantial. Statistics show that 62,000 Canadians suffer a stroke each year* with over 80% surviving* many of whom would require ongoing care. Since 80% of all strokes happen to Canadians over 60 those unlucky enough could definitely see their retirement funding jeopardized. Read more

TFSA or RRSP 2018

One of the most common investment questions Canadians ask themselves today is, “Which is better, TFSA or RRSP”?

Here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be an either or choice.  Why not do both? Below are the features of both plans to help you understand the differences.

Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) 

  • Any Canadian resident age 18 or over may open a TFSA. Contribution is not based on earned income.  There is no maximum age for contribution.
  • Maximum contribution is $5,500 per year.
  • There is carry forward room for each year in which the maximum contribution was not made. For those who have not yet contributed to a TFSA, the cumulative total contribution room as of 2017 is $52,000.  Read more

Donating to Charity Using Life Insurance

If you are interested in creating a legacy at your death by making a charitable donation, you may wish to investigate using life insurance for that purpose.  There are different ways you can structure life insurance for use in philanthropy.  The most common are:

Gifting an Existing Life Insurance Policy

If you currently own a life insurance policy, you can donate that policy to a charity.  The charity will become owner and beneficiary of the policy and will issue a charitable receipt for the value of the policy at the time the transfer is made, which is usually the cash surrender value of the existing policy.

There are circumstances, however, where the fair market value may be in excess of cash surrender value.  If, for example, the donor is uninsurable at the time of the transfer, or if the replacement cost of the policy would be in excess of the current premium, the value of the donation may be higher.  Under these conditions, it is advisable for the donor to have a professional valuation of the policy, done by an actuary, prior to the donation.

Any subsequent premium payments made to the policy by the donor after the transfer to the charity will receive a charitable receipt.

Gifting a New Life Insurance Policy Read more



Boomers worried about healthcare costs in retirement

A national study of Canadians with more than $100,000 in investable assets shows that worry over healthcare needs has emerged as the second most important driver, behind retirement itself.

Among investors under 50, 34% identify healthcare as a priority compared with the average of 46% of all respondents, but even among this younger group, healthcare needs emerge as a significant rationale for investments. Read more »