If you are the owner of a private corporation you should be concerned about the commentary that is coming from 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 has led to the release on July 18th 2017, of a consultation paper along with draft legislation. Finance is currently asking for input from interested parties and stakeholders and has stated that the consultation period will end on October 2, 2017. At this point, whatever happens after that date is anyone’s guess, but speculation is high that changes will be introduced to close what the Department perceives as abusive practices relating to private corporations.
Specifically, there are three specific tax planning strategies employed by private corporations that the department is most concerned with:
Sprinkling income using a private corporation
Income tax paid on income from a private corporation can be greatly reduced by causing that income to be received in the form of dividends by individuals who would pay tax at a much lower rate or not at all. These dividends are usually paid to adult children or other family members who are shareholders of the private corporation or to a family trust. By “sprinkling” the income in this manner the amount of income tax paid can be greatly reduced. Read more
Most corporate dynasties fail to make it to a second generation, making these Canadian firms thriving under the leadership of the founder’s grandkids (and great-grandkids!) truly remarkable
Izzy Asper never wanted his children to work at Canwest Global Communications, the now defunct media empire he founded. His drive and hunger for acquisitions turned Canwest into one of the most powerful firms in Canada and, for a time, earned the Aspers a spot on the Rich 100. He wanted his kids to succeed elsewhere, however.
“They were all practising lawyers and were doing very nicely on their own. It was they who got this dynastic glaze in their eyes—which I generally discouraged,” he told journalist Peter C. Newman. “I don’t believe in dynasties.” But his daughter, Gail, “slipped through the net” to become general counsel at Canwest, and brothers David and Leonard followed. It was under Leonard’s stewardship that Canwest filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Read more
To date, the benefit has rolled out in 22 countries, including in the United States last week. The company will extend the benefit to the remaining countries where it operates, including Canada, over the coming months.
The family caregiver leave allows an employee to take up to four week of fully paid leave to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, wrote Kathleen Hogan, executive vice-president of human resources at Microsoft, on her LinkedIn page. Read more
Many business owners are unaware that corporate owned life insurance combined with the Capital Dividend Account (CDA) provides an opportunity to distribute corporate surplus on the death of a shareholder to the surviving shareholders or family members tax-free.
Income earned by a corporation and then distributed to a shareholder is subject to tax integration which results in the total tax paid between the two being approximately the same as if the shareholder earned the income directly. Integration also means that if a corporation is in receipt of funds which it received tax-free, then those funds should be tax free when distributed to the shareholder.
The Capital Dividend Account is a notional account which tracks these particular tax-free amounts accumulated by the corporation. It is not shown in accounting records or financial statements of the corporation. If there is a balance in the CDA it may be shown in the notes section of the financial statements for information purposes only.
Generally, the tax-free amounts referred to, are the non-taxable portions of capital gains received by the corporation and the death benefit proceeds of life insurance policies where the corporation is the beneficiary. Read more