Essential tips and tricks for paying less tax and keeping more of your retirement income

Essential tips and tricks for paying less tax and keeping more of your retirement income

Most of your retirement income sources are taxable; Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), your personal pension plan (if you have one) and income from your RRIFs. However, if you’ve set up a TFSA in addition to your RRSPs, then you’re in luck – money you take out of your TFSA isn’t taxable!

We have some tips on combining savvy withdrawal strategies with retirement-related tax deductions to keep more of your retirement income.

Make a Plan

Determine all the different sources of retirement income you’ll have – don’t forget about things like annuities, GICs or income from a rental property if you have one. Once you have a complete list, a professional financial advisor can give you tips on when it’s best to start collecting pension income as well as how much to withdraw from your taxable investments. A strong plan can help reduce the amount of tax you have to pay and extend the life of your retirement income!

Split your pension income

If you have reached the age of 65 and have a pension, you can split up to 50% of the pension income with your spouse. Splitting your pension with a lower-income spouse can add up to savings, as this will cut down on the amount of taxes you’ll have to pay overall.

While rewarding, the process to split your pension income can be complicated, so it’s best to get professional advice before starting this process.

Buy an annuity

Annuities are a financial product that will provide you with a guaranteed regular income – a good choice if you are worried about your retirement savings running out.

These are the most common types of annuities:

  • Life annuities provide you with a guaranteed lifetime income, with the option for the annuity to be paid to a beneficiary after you die.

  • Term-certain annuities provide guaranteed income payments for a fixed period. A beneficiary or your estate will receive regular payments if you die before the term ends.

  • Variable annuities will provide you with both a fixed income and a variable income. The variable income will be based on the return of the annuity provider on the performance of the investments your annuity provider invests your money in.

All types of annuities will spread out the income from your retirement savings to lessen the tax you pay each year.

Take advantage of tax breaks

Now that you’re retired, there are retirement-related tax breaks you need to know about. Here are some of the tax breaks or credits you may be eligible for:

  • The age amount

  • The home accessibility tax credit

  • The medical expense tax credit

  • The disability tax credit

  • The pension income tax credit

We can help!

We can put together a plan that helps you keep more of your retirement income – call us today!

The Five Steps to Investment Planning

The Five Steps to Investment Planning

For a long time, there were limited options for most investors. But now, there are hundreds of investments for investors to choose. However, this amount of choice can be overwhelming. Fortunately, an investment advisor can help you figure out what the right investment choices are for you.

Meeting your investment advisor

When you first meet with your investment advisor, they will tell you about their obligations and responsibilities. They should:

  • Give you general information about your various investment choices (e.g. stocks, bonds, mutual funds)

  • Tell you how they are compensated for their services

  • Ask if you have any questions about specific investment vehicles (such as RRSPs or TFSAs)

Determining your goals and expectations

The next step is to for your investment advisor to fill out a “Know Your Client” type of worksheet. The information on this worksheet will help your investment advisor determine the most suitable investment options for you. You’ll need to provide information on your:

  • Income

  • Net worth

  • Investment knowledge

  • Risk tolerance

  • Time horizon (how long you want to invest for)

  • How frequently do you want to invest

Developing your investment plan

Once they have all the information they need, your investment advisor will suggest the investments they think are appropriate for you.

Implementing the plan

Once you approve your investment advisor’s suggestions, you will fill in all the appropriate paperwork to set things in motion. After that, you must provide a way to fund your investments. Your investment advisor can then make any initial purchases and set up any ongoing fund purchases or transfers from other investments.

Monitoring the plan

Your investment advisor should contact you at least once a year to make sure your plan is still suitable for you and discuss any changes you want to make to it. If you have any major life events, such as getting married or changing jobs, you should contact your investment advisor to see if you should revisit your plan.

The sooner you start your investment planning, the sooner you can reach your investment goals! So contact us today!

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.

Financial Planning For Self-Employed Contractors

Financial Planning for Self-Employed Contractors

Being a self-employed contractor can bring you a large cash flow and the satisfaction of being your own boss – but it can also make financial planning more complicated than being an employee.

When creating a financial plan, Self-employed contractors need to keep the following in mind:

  • Cash flow management – Knowing what money you have moving in and out of your business is essential. You never want to suddenly find out you are short on cash, especially if you are considering expanding your business.
  • Tax planning – Tax planning can be complicated for self-employed contractors. Working with a professional can help ensure you are aware of your options, such as claiming the correct tax deductions and the most tax-effective way to pay yourself.
  • Attracting and retaining good employees – Employees are looking for more than just a good paycheque; they also want a robust benefits program, work-life balance, and pension plans.
  • Risk management – You must protect yourself if something happens to you, such as being injured or falling ill. The best way to protect yourself is with the right insurance, such as disability, critical illness, and life insurance.
  • Retirement planning – As a self-employed contractor, this is a must as you won’t have a company pension plan to fall back on. You can’t work forever, so it’s essential to have a variety of income sources during your retirement years, including RRSPs, TFSAs, and an Individual Pension Plan (IPP).
  • Succession planning – This type of planning is critical and can be triggered by various events, including divorce, retirement, and your illness or death. You must put a plan in place that covers what will happen if any of these events occur. In addition, it’s essential to have the financial resources to ensure the plan can be successfully enacted.
  • Buy-sell agreement – If you are a self-employed contractor working with a partner, you must have a buy-sell agreement. This agreement stipulates what will happen if one partner leaves the business for any reason. Buy-sell agreements can be funded in various ways, including via life insurance.

The best way to ensure you’ve got a solid financial plan is to work with a good team who has your best interests in mind. No matter what aspect of financial planning you are interested in – from tax planning to succession planning – we can help you get started. So call us or contact us online today to get started!

Five Ways To Withdraw Money From Your Business In A Tax-Efficient Manner

Five Ways To Withdraw Money From Your Business In A Tax-Efficient Manner

You have worked long and hard to build up your business, and now you are ready to withdraw money from your business’ bank account. But you don’t want to get hit with a huge tax bill. So here are 5 ways to withdraw money from your business in a tax-efficient manner.

1) Pay Yourself And Your Family Members

You can pay yourself a salary from your business and pay any family members who work in your business. However, the salary you pay family members must not be excessive – it must be in line with what they would receive for doing the same work elsewhere.

You and your family members will be taxed at the regular personal marginal tax rates on your salaries. However, your corporation can make a deduction based on salaries paid when determining taxable income.

2) Pay Out Taxable Dividends

You can use dividends to distribute money from your corporation to both yourself and family members if everyone holds shares in your corporation. However, when distributing dividends to a shareholder, it is critical to consider both the tax on split income (TOSI) rules and the corporate attribution rules before any distribution is made.

  • TOSI rules – Under the current income tax rules, the TOSI applies the highest marginal tax rate (currently 33%) to “split income” of an individual under the age of 18. In general, an individual’s split income includes certain taxable dividends, taxable capital gains and income from partnerships or trusts. – Canada.ca

  • Corporate attribution rules – Corporate attribution rules may result in additional tax if a transfer or loan to a corporation is made to shift income to another family member. This can result in additional tax for the individual making the transfer or loan.

3) Pay Out Capital Dividends

Another way to pay out dividends is via your corporation’s capital dividend account (CDA). Money in your corporation’s CDA can be dispersed to Canadian resident shareholders as a tax-free dividend, but be sure you are clear on what can legally be allowed in your CDA before you do this.

4) Adjust Your Salary And Dividend Mix

Keeping the right mix when paying yourself a salary and paying yourself via dividends is essential. You need to consider various factors – such as your cash flow needs, earned income for RRSP contributions, and any impact on taxes and other regulatory requirements – paying out salaries and dividends can have.

5) Repay Any Outstanding Shareholder Loans

If you loaned money to your company in the form of a shareholder loan, now may be the time to have your company repay that loan. Any money you receive to settle your shareholder loan will be paid to you as a tax-free distribution.

The Takeaway

Regardless of why you need to take cash out of your business, it is crucial to plan how to withdraw the money so you can do it in the most tax-efficient manner possible. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this, which is why talking to a professional advisor is so important.

We can help design a tax-optimized compensation strategy for you. Contact us to set up a meeting today!

2022 Ontario Budget Highlights

On April 29, 2022, Ontario’s Minister of Finance delivered the province’s 2022 budget, based on five different pillars. 

No Changes To Corporate or Personal Tax Rates

Budget 2022 did not introduce changes to Ontario’s corporate or personal tax rates.

Rebuilding The Economy

Budget 2022 wants to help rebuild the economy as follows:

  • Almost $1 billion is committed to critical legacy infrastructure, such as all-seasons roads.

  • Creating good manufacturing jobs. In the past 18 months, 12 billion dollars have been invested in supporting new electric vehicle production and battery manufacturing.

  • Enable Ontario employers to realize an estimated $8.9 billion in cost savings by cutting taxes and lowering electricity costs.

Better Jobs and Bigger Paycheques

Another focus is on more significant paycheques and better job opportunities. To support this:

  • The general minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour starting October 1, 2022.

  • $1 billion will be committed annually to employment and training programs for learning new skills or upgrading existing ones. 

  • Over three years, $114.4 million has been committed to the Skilled Trades Strategy, including expanding in-class training.

  • Ontario is expanding college degree granting. Colleges can start offering new degree programs in various sectors, including the automotive industry and health care.

Building Highways and Key Infrastructure

Budget 2022 commits to: 

  • Investing $158.8 billion in crucial infrastructure over ten years, with $20 billion spent in 2022–23.

  • $25.1 billion being spent over ten years to support major highways such as the Bradford Bypass, Highway 413, Highway 401 and Highway 7.

  • $61.6 billion over ten years to support public transit. This includes expanding GO train services to London and Bowmanville and expanding passenger rail service to Northern Ontario.

Keeping Costs Down

Another focus of Budget 2022 is to help people save money:

  • Tolls will be removed on Highways 412 and 418.

  • Starting July 1, the gas tax will be cut by 5.7 cents per litre for six months.

  • License plate renewal fees will be eliminated and refunded, leading to a $120/year savings in Southern Ontario and $60/year savings in Northern Ontario.

  • $300 in additional tax relief will be available on average for 1.1 million lower-income workers via the proposed Low-income Individuals and Families Tax Credit enhancement.

  • Supporting the creation of all types of housing.

  • Working towards an average of $10-a-day child care by September 2025.

Investing in Health Care

Budget 2022 also understands the importance of continuing to invest in health care. Money is committed as follows:

  • Over $40 billion for hospitals and other health infrastructure over ten years.

  • $764 million over two years to provide nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000.

  • $42.5 million over two years to expand medical education and training.

  • $1 billion for in-home care over three years.

We can help!

Wondering how tax changes in this year’s budget may impact personal finances or business affairs? Reach out to us – we’re here to answer any questions you may have!

2021 Income Tax Year Tips

Tax Tips You Need To Know Before Filing Your 2021 Taxes

This year’s tax deadline is April 30, 2022. We’ve got a list of tips to help you save on your taxes!

Claiming home office expenses

You can claim up to $500 under the “flat rate” method if you worked at home due to COVID-19. To claim more, you must use the detailed method to claim home office expenses.

Employer-provided benefits

If your employer reimburses you for certain costs (such as commuting costs, parking, and home office equipment) due to COVID-19, the CRA will generally not consider this a taxable benefit.

Repaying Covid-19 support payments

If you repaid COVID-19 benefits, you can deduct the amount on your tax return either for the year you received the benefit or the year you repaid it, or you can split the deduction between both years.

Climate Action incentive can no longer be claimed

As of 2021, this amount can’t be claimed as a refundable credit; instead, you’ll receive quarterly payments via the benefits system.

Disability tax credit (DTC)

If you or a family member are DTC claimants, then you should review the updated criteria for the tax credit in regards to mental functions, life-sustaining therapy and calculating therapy time.

Eligible educator school supply tax credit

This tax credit has been increased to 25 percent for eligible supplies (such as books and games) to a maximum of $1,000.

Tax deduction on interest payments

You can claim a tax deduction for the interest you’ve paid on any money you’ve borrowed to invest. However, you can only do this if you use the money to earn investment income (for example, a rental property).

The digital subscriptions tax credit

You can claim up to $500 as a tax credit if you have a digital subscription to a qualifying Canadian news outlet.

Self-employed? Be sure to set aside enough for personal income tax!

If you’re self-employed, be sure you put aside enough money (we recommend 25% of your income) to pay your tax bill when the time comes. You’re taxed only on your net income (total income minus expenses).

You need to plan ahead for tax changes if you want to retire abroad

Planning to retire abroad? If so, you need to be aware of the tax implications and plan accordingly. If you sell your house and move, you may be considered a “non-resident” and be subject to capital gains taxes on non-registered investments (even if you have not sold them) or have your pension subjected to a withholding tax.

You can stop making CPP contributions if you’re over 65 but plan to keep working

If you’re 65 and already collecting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits but also still working, you may be able to stop making CPP contributions. To do so, you need to fill in the form CPT30.

Need help?

Not sure if you qualify for a credit or deduction? Give us a call – we’re here to save you money on your taxes!

Estate Planning for Business Owners

Estate Planning for Business Owners

What happens when the children grow up and they are no longer dependent on their parents? What happens to your other “baby”- the business? Estate planning for business owners deals with the personal and business assets. Business succession planning is different because it deals with your business assets only and can also take place while you’re alive. You need to have an estate plan regardless if you have a succession plan or not. Estate planning for business owners is typically more complicated because the estate plan needs to deal with:

  • Complex business and personal relationships

  • Bigger and more intricate estates

  • Tax issues

  • Business Succession

When putting an estate plan for a business owner together, one of the most difficult conversations is around fair or equal distribution of assets. What if one of the children are working in the business how do you treat them? Before you begin putting a plan in place, we always encourage open conversation and a family meeting between the parents and children to provide context behind decisions and therefore it minimizes the surprises and provides an opportunity for children to express their concerns.

We’ve put together an infographic checklist that can help you get started on this. We know this can be a difficult conversation so we’re here to help and provide guidance.

Adult Children

  • Fair vs Equal (also known as Equitable vs Equal) – like what’s considered to be fair may not necessarily be equal. ex. Should the daughter that’s been working in the family business for 10 years receive the same shares as the son who hasn’t worked in the family business at all?

  • Are the adult children responsible enough to handle the inheritance? Or would they spend it all?

  • Who works in the family business? Is it all the kids or just one of them?

Family Meeting

  • Encourage open conversation with parents and kids so context can be provided behind the decisions, there are no surprises and allows the kids to express their interests and concerns.

  • Facilitate a family meeting with both generations, this will help promote ongoing family unity after death and decrease the chances of resentment later.

  • Start looking at considerations for a succession plan for the business. (This needs to be documented separately.)

Assets/Liabilities

  • What are your assets? Create a detailed list of your assets such as:

  • Home, Real Estate, Investments- Non registered, TFSA, RRSP, RDSP, RESP, Company Pension Plan, Insurance Policy, Property, Additional revenue sources, etc..

  • What about shares in your business? How does this need to be addressed?

  • What are your liabilities? Create a detailed list of your liabilities such as:

  • Mortgage, Loans (personal, student, car), Line of Credit, Credit card, Other loans (payday, store credit card, utility etc.)

  • Did you personally guarantee any business loans and how does this need to be addressed?

  • Understand your assets-the ownership type (joint, tenants in common, sole etc.), list who are the beneficiaries are for your assets

  • Understand your liabilities- are there any co-signors?

Make sure you have a will that:

  • Assigns an executor.

  • Provide specific instructions for distribution of all assets.

  • Consider a power of attorney for use when you’re incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your affairs.

  • Always choose 2 qualified people for each position and communicate with them.

Taxes and Probate

  • How much are probate and taxes? (Income tax earned from Jan 1 to date of death + Taxes on Non Registered Assets + Taxes on Registered Assets, Taxes on Business Shares)

  • Are there any outstanding debts to be paid?

  • You’ve worked your whole life- how much of your hard earned money do you want to give to CRA?

  • How much money do you want to to give to your kids while you’re living?

Consider the following:

  • The use of trusts.

  • The use of an estate freeze if you wish to gift while you’re living.

  • The use of a holdco for effective tax planning.

  • Once you determine the amount of taxes, probate, debt, final expenses and gifts required, review your life insurance coverage to see if it meets your needs or if there’s a shortfall.

Execution:It’s good to go through this but you need to do this. Besides doing it yourself, here’s a list of the individuals that can help:

  • Financial Planner/Advisor (CFP)

  • Estate Planning Specialist

  • Insurance Specialist

  • Lawyer

  • Accountant/Tax Specialist

  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

  • Certified Executor Advisor (CEA)

Next steps…

  • Contact us about helping you get your estate planning in order so you can gain peace of mind that your family is taken care of.

When should I buy life insurance?

When should I buy life insurance?

No matter what stage of life you are in, Life insurance can benefit you. It will give you peace of mind knowing your loved ones will receive the financial support they need after you die. It is never too soon or too late to buy life insurance.

Types of life insurance

There are two main types of life insurance:

  1. Term – temporary coverage for a set amount of time (10, 15, or 20 years).

  2. Permanent – life insurance that never expires.

Term life is generally cheaper as it only provides coverage for a set amount of time. Whereas, Permanent insurance will cost you more in the short run but may work out less expensive in the long run as your premiums do not tend to increase as you age.

Life insurance in your 20s

In your 20s, you may feel like you are immortal and have many other things on which you want to spend your money. However, you may have responsibilities; student loans that your parents co-signed for or a mortgage with your partner. If something happened to you, your loved ones would be left to pay for that debt; alone. Life insurance could help fill this financial gap.

Life insurance in your 20s is very affordable because you are considered low risk. As a result, you can protect your loved ones for a reasonable premium.

Life insurance in your 30s

By the time you’re in your 30s, you may have several financial responsibilities – including a mortgage and children. If you have only had term insurance up to this point, you may want to consider converting the term to permanent to help give yourself lifelong protection.

Even if you have life insurance through your workplace, you may want to buy additional life insurance. Separate life insurance can help cover you if you lose your job or lock-in rates while relatively young and healthy.

Life insurance in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond

At this stage in your life, you may still have a mortgage or dependent children. You may have even bought a cottage or a vacation property. No matter your financial responsibilities, if your estate does not have enough cash to cover your liabilities, it is still essential to have life insurance.

Now is an excellent time to lock in permanent insurance. However, if you find the premiums too high or know you only need life insurance for a set amount of time, term life may still work for you.

Your next steps

Now you know about the two main types of life insurance and why it’s crucial to have some form of life insurance in place, no matter your age. If you’re not sure where to go from here, contact us – we can help you figure out your next steps!