Tax tips to know before filing your 2023 income tax

This year’s tax deadline is April 30, 2024. It’s important to make sure you’re claiming all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for. We’ve separated this article into 2 sections: 

  • What’s new for 2023

  • Individuals and Families

What’s New for 2023

Advanced Canada Workers Benefit (ACWB)

Automatic advance payments of the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) are now seamlessly distributed through the ACWB program to individuals who received the benefit in the last tax year. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who received the CWB in the previous tax year will automatically receive the ACWB payments. Only individuals who filed their 2022 tax return before November 1, 2023, are eligible for the ACWB payments.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the ACWB program eliminates the need to file Form RC201. Recipients are no longer required to fill out this form. Instead, starting in 2023, individuals should report the amounts from their RC210 slip on Schedule 6, Canada Workers Benefit, of their tax return. Additionally, for eligible spouses, the option to claim the basic amount for the CWB is available regardless of who received the RC210 slip.

Deduction for Tools (Tradespersons and Apprentice Mechanics)

Starting in 2023, the maximum employment deduction for eligible tools of tradespersons has risen from $500 to $1,000. Consequently, the threshold for expenses eligible for the apprentice mechanics tools deduction has also been adjusted. 

Temporary Flat Rate Method for Home Office Expenses

For the year 2023, the temporary flat rate method for claiming home office expenses is not applicable. Consequently, taxpayers seeking to claim such expenses for 2023 must utilize the detailed method and obtain a completed Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, from their employer.

Federal, Provincial, and Territorial COVID-19 repayments

Repayments of COVID-19 benefits at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels, made after December 31, 2022, can be deducted and claimed.

First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

The FHSA is a registered plan designed to aid individuals in saving for their first home. Starting April 1, 2023, contributions made to an FHSA are typically deductible, and eligible withdrawals made from an FHSA for purchasing a qualifying home are tax-free. 

Property Flipping

Starting January 1, 2023, any profit generated from the sale of a housing unit (including rental properties) situated in Canada, or a right to acquire a housing unit in Canada, that you owned or held for less than 365 consecutive days prior to its sale is considered business income rather than a capital gain. This is applicable unless the property was already classified as inventory or the sale occurred due to, or in anticipation of specific life events. 

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC)

The MHRTC is a refundable tax credit designed to enable eligible individuals to seek reimbursement for specific renovation expenses incurred in establishing a secondary unit within an eligible dwelling. This enables a qualifying individual to live with their qualifying relative. If eligible, you can claim up to $50,000 in qualifying expenditures for each renovation project completed, with a maximum credit of $7,500 for each eligible claim. 

Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit

The Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit is now accessible to self-employed farmers and individuals involved in a partnership operating a farming business with one or more permanent establishments located in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, or Saskatchewan. If eligible, you may be entitled to a refund of a portion of your fuel charge proceeds. 

For Individuals and Families

Canada Training Credit (CTC)

The CTC is a refundable tax credit available to help Canadians with the cost of eligible training fees.

To qualify for the CTC, you need to fill out Schedule 11 for the following:

  1. Tuition fees and other applicable fees paid to an eligible educational institution in Canada for courses taken in 2023.

  2. Fees paid to specific organizations for occupational, trade, or professional examinations undertaken in 2023.

To be eligible for the CTC, you must meet all these conditions:

  • You resided in Canada for the entire year of 2023.

  • You were at least 26 years old but less than 66 years old at the end of the year.

  • Your most recent notice of assessment or reassessment for 2022 shows a Canada Training Credit Limit for 2023.

Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC)

The CCC is a non-refundable tax credit aimed at assisting individuals who provide support to a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent with a physical or mental impairment, as outlined by the CRA.

You might be eligible for the CCC if you aid:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner dealing with a physical or mental impairment.

  • Dependents such as children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, or nephews residing in Canada, who rely on you for consistent provision of basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

The amount you can claim varies depending on your relationship to the individual, your circumstances, their net income, and whether other credits are claimed for them.

Child Care Expenses

Child care expenses encompass payments made by you or someone else to arrange care for an eligible child. This care allows you to participate in income-earning activities, pursue education, or conduct research funded by a grant.

If you qualify, you can claim certain childcare expenses as deductions when you file your personal income tax return.

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit designed to support individuals with disabilities, or their family members who provide support, by reducing their income tax responsibilities.

To be eligible for this credit, individuals must have a significant and enduring impairment. Once approved, they can apply the credit when filing their taxes.

The DTC aims to ease some of the extra costs linked with the disability by lessening the individual’s income tax burden.

Moving

You can claim moving expenses you paid during the year if you meet these conditions

  • You moved to a new residence for work reasons, to start a business in a different area, or to attend a post-secondary program as a full-time student at a university, college, or other educational institution.

  • Your new residence must be at least 40 kilometres closer, determined by the shortest public route, to your new work location or educational institution.

Interest Paid on Student Loans

You might qualify to claim an amount for the interest paid on your student loan for post-secondary education if it was obtained under the following acts:

  • Canada Student Loans Act

  • Canada Student Financial Assistance Act

  • Apprentice Loans Act

  • Provincial or territorial government laws that are similar to the aforementioned acts.

Only you, or a person related to you, can claim the interest paid on the loan within the tax year 2023 or the preceding 5 years.

Donations and Gifts

When you or your spouse/common-law partner donate to eligible institutions, you might be eligible for federal and provincial/territorial non-refundable tax credits when you file your income tax and benefit return.

Normally, you can claim a portion or the full eligible donation amount, capped at 75% of your net income for the tax year.

Seeking guidance?

Wondering if you qualify for valuable tax credits or deductions? Reach out to us – as your financial advisor, we’re here to assist you in optimizing your finances and maximizing your savings.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/whats-new.html

Canada Training Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-45350-canada-training-credit.html

Canada Caregiver Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html

Child Care Expense: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21400-child-care-expenses.html

Disability Tax Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

Moving: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21900-moving-expenses.html

Interest Paid on Student Loans: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-31900-interest-paid-on-your-student-loans.html

Donations and Gifts: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-34900-donations-gifts.html

Empowering Your Family’s Financial Future: A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting

Taking charge of your family’s financial well-being through effective budgeting is a crucial step in securing a brighter future. We’ll explore the significance of budgeting and provide practical tips to help you manage your money wisely while ensuring the best possible support for your loved ones, including those with disabilities and their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Why Budgeting Matters for Families

Budgeting is a powerful financial tool that holds importance for all families:

  1. Financial Clarity: It offers a clear overview of your family’s income and expenses, helping you make informed decisions about allocating funds.
  2. Goal Achievement: Budgeting helps you allocate funds not only for your loved one’s RDSP but also for other family financial goals, such as saving for education or a home.
  3. Expense Control: It identifies areas where you can cut back on expenses, freeing up money for your family’s financial priorities.
  4. Debt Reduction: By tracking spending, you can allocate extra funds to pay down debt faster, ensuring your family’s financial stability.
  5. Emergency Preparedness: A budget provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, which can be especially critical for families with additional financial responsibilities.

Steps to Effective Budgeting for Families

  1. Calculate Income: Determine your total monthly income, including salaries, government benefits, and any disability-related support for your loved one.
  2. List Expenses: Categorize expenses into fixed (e.g., housing, utilities) and variable (e.g., groceries, entertainment).
  3. Set Financial Goals: Define short-term and long-term financial goals for your family, ensuring that your loved one’s RDSP contributions are part of the plan.
  4. Create a Budget: Use budgeting tools or apps to allocate income to expenses, savings, and financial goals without exceeding your income.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly track spending against your budget, making necessary adjustments to ensure your family’s financial health.

Tips for Successful Budgeting

  1. Be Realistic: Set achievable goals and create a budget that accommodates your family’s unique needs, including the financial responsibilities associated with the RDSP.
  2. Prioritize Savings: Ensure that contributing to your loved one’s RDSP is a top financial priority, but don’t forget to save for other family goals too.
  3. Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, which can benefit all family members.
  4. Review and Cut Expenses: Periodically review expenses to find areas where you can save and allocate more funds to your family’s financial priorities.
  5. Pay Yourself First: Treat savings, including RDSP contributions, as non-negotiable expenses, just like other essential bills.
  6. Seek Professional Advice: Consult a financial advisor who specializes in disability-related financial planning for tailored guidance.

Budgeting is your family’s pathway to financial security and ensuring a brighter financial future. By budgeting wisely and prioritizing your loved one’s financial well-being, you can control your family’s finances, reduce stress, and work towards a future filled with financial peace of mind. Remember, financial success for families means making informed choices that align with your values and aspirations. Start budgeting today to achieve financial wellness for your entire family, balancing the needs of all family members, including those who rely on the support of the RDSP.

Ontario’s 2024 Budget Highlights

On March 26, 2024, the Ontario Minister of Finance announced the province’s 2024 budget. This article highlights the most important things you need to know about this budget, broken into 2 sections:

  • Personal Tax Changes

  • Business Tax Changes


Personal tax changes

There are no changes to the province’s personal tax rates in Budget 2024. 

As a result, Ontario’s personal income tax rate remains as follows: 

Gasoline tax and fuel tax

The Ontario government has chosen to extend the reduced tax rates on gasoline and fuel. This means that the tax you pay when you buy gas or fuel will remain at nine cents per litre until December 31, 2024, instead of ending on June 30, 2024.


Alcohol taxation and fees

The budget reveals that the government plans to review the taxes and fees on beer, wine, and alcoholic beverages.


Property assessment and taxation review

The budget says that Ontario will keep postponing property reassessments while it looks at how property assessments and taxes work. Ontario also plans to talk to different groups about property assessments starting in the early spring.


Housing supply and affordability

The budget says Ontario wants to make it easier for certain cities to:

  • Bring in a Vacant Home Tax

  • Give lower property taxes on new apartment buildings with many units for rent.


Technical amendments

The budget mentions that Ontario might suggest some small changes, like fixing how small estates are handled in the Estate Administration Tax Act of 1998 and adjusting how loans are dealt with during the day in Ontario.


Carbon tax referendum

The budget states that the provincial government plans to introduce a law that would ask the public to vote in a referendum before starting any new provincial carbon pricing program.


Tax system review

The budget states that the government is still looking at how taxes work in the province, which they started doing in the 2023 Ontario budget. 


Business tax changes

There are no changes to the province’s corporate tax rates in Budget 2024. 

As a result, Ontario’s Corporate income tax rate remains as follows:

1 On first $500,000 of active business income.

Ontario computer animation and special effects tax credit

The budget is making changes to who can get the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects (OCASE) Tax Credit. Now, for each movie or TV show, a company must spend at least $25,000 on Ontario workers’ wages, with certain timing rules. Also, instructional videos, music videos, and gaming videos won’t count for the credit anymore.

These updated eligibility criteria replace the previous requirement for an eligible film or television production to also be certified for either the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit or the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit.

The changes start for productions that begin computer animation or special effects work on or after March 26, 2024. 

We can help!

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

Source: https://budget.ontario.ca/2024/index.html

Exploring the Value of Group Benefit Plans for Your Employees

In today’s ever-evolving workplace landscape, employees place a premium on several key factors:

1. Alignment with employer values, especially sustainability.

2. Achieving a harmonious work-life balance.

3. Assistance in coping with the rising cost of living expenses.

4. Opportunities for delayed retirement.

5. Cultivating a sense of belonging within the workplace.

6. Flexibility in terms of work hours and location.

7. Ensuring job security.

If your business is experiencing growth and you’re considering adding group benefit plans to your employee offerings, you’re in the right place. We understand the importance of providing the right employee benefits solution for your business.

Understanding Group Benefit Plans and Their Value

Group benefit plans form a crucial part of a company’s total compensation package, available to employees regardless of their seniority, position, or qualifications. These plans often encompass medical coverage for employees and their dependents. While it may seem like an additional expense during a period of growth, offering employee insurance benefits is essential for the long-term sustainability of your business.

So, why should your company consider offering group insurance benefits? Here are some compelling reasons:

1. Convenience: Group insurance benefits simplify healthcare coverage for your employees and their families.

2. Workforce Protection: These benefits provide a safety net for your staff, promoting their well-being.

3. Staff Retention: Offering benefits can help you retain valuable employees, reducing turnover.

4. Tax Benefits: Group insurance plans offer tax advantages for both employers and employees.

5. Customization: Plans can be tailored to meet your business’s unique needs.

6. Morale Boost: Providing benefits can boost productivity and morale among your workforce.

What’s Covered by Group Insurance Plans?

Group insurance plans typically cover medical-related expenses that provincial healthcare plans might not fully address. This coverage can include paramedical and ambulance services, dental care, eye care, hospital stays, and certain prescription drugs. Additionally, you have the option to combine group benefits plans with retirement and savings plans.

Types of Group Benefits Plans

Various types of group benefits plans are available, each catering to different company needs and preferences. The most popular options include:

1. Fully-Insured

2. Self-Funded

3. Level-Funded

No matter the size of your business, there’s a group insurance benefit plan that suits your needs. We offer flexible and innovative plans that anticipate your requirements. Our services aim to reduce your administrative workload, allowing you to focus on critical aspects of your business.

Is Group Insurance Cost-Effective?

One of the financial advantages of group insurance is lower premiums while maintaining coverage equivalent to individual health insurance. Typically, employers cover most of the group benefit plan costs, with employees contributing a small percentage of their salary towards the monthly premium. If you’re concerned about the tax implications of providing benefits at work, it’s advisable to with us for specific details.

In conclusion, offering group benefit plans is a strategic move to attract and retain top talent while promoting employee well-being and financial security. Whether you have a small or large business, we are here to assist you in finding the right plan that aligns with your organization’s needs and objectives.

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.

2023 Personal Year-End Tax Tips

The end of 2023 is quickly approaching – which means it’s time to get your paperwork in order so you’re ready when it comes time to file your taxes!

In this article, we’ve covered five different major types of 2023 personal tax tips:

  • Investment Considerations

  • Individuals

  • Families

  • Retirees

  • Students

Investment Considerations

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)-You can contribute up to a maximum of $6,500 for 2023. You can carry forward unused contribution room indefinitely. The maximum amount you’re allowed to make in TFSA contributions is $88,000 (including 2023) if you have been at least 18 years old and resident in Canada since 2009.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) – For the 2023 tax year, you have until February 29, 2024, to contribute to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or a spousal RRSP. However, contributing earlier can benefit you more due to tax-deferred growth. Your deduction limit for 2023 is 18% of your 2022 income, up to $30,780, but this will reduce if you have pension adjustments. Don’t forget, any unused contribution room from previous years or pension adjustment reversals can increase your limit.

Also, you can deduct contributions on your 2023 income if they are made within the first 60 days of 2024. It’s possible to defer these deductions to a later year if that suits your financial strategy better. To optimize your RRSP, consider holding investments that have the potential for growth outside of your RRSP to take advantage of lower taxes on capital gains and dividends. Within your RRSP, keep investments that generate regular interest income. If you’re unsure about the best investment strategy for your RRSP, our team is ready to provide expert advice to help you maximize your retirement savings.

Do you expect to have any capital losses? If you have capital losses, sell securities with accrued losses before year end to offset capital gains realized in the current or previous three years. You must first deduct them against your capital gains in the current year. You can carry back any excess capital losses for up to three years or forward indefinitely. 

Interest Deductibility – If possible, repay the debt that has non-deductible interest before other debt (or debt that has interest qualifying for a non-refundable credit, i.e. interest on student loans). Borrow for investment or business purposes and use cash for personal purchases. You can still deduct interest on investment loans if you sell an investment at a loss and reinvest the proceeds from the sale in a new investment.

Tax Loss Selling- Tax-loss selling is when you sell investments that have lost value by the end of the year from accounts that are not tax-deferred. This helps to offset any profits you made from other investments. If your losses are greater than your profits, you can use these extra losses to reduce taxes on profits from the last three years or save them to lower taxes on future profits.

For your losses in 2023 (or the past three years) to count, you need to complete the sale by December 27, 2023. This is because it needs to be settled by the end of the year, and December 30th and 31st are on a weekend in 2023.

If you sell an investment at a loss and plan to buy it again soon, you should know about the “superficial loss” rule. This rule applies if you sell something for a loss and buy it back within 30 days before or after selling it. It also applies if someone close to you, like your spouse or partner, a company they or you control, or a trust where you or they are the main beneficiaries (like your RRSP or TFSA), buys it within 30 days and still has it after 30 days. If this happens, you can’t use that loss to reduce your taxes right away. Instead, the loss gets added to the cost of the investment you bought back. You’ll only get the tax benefit from this loss when you sell this investment later.

When it comes to transferring investments, you might think about moving one with a loss into your RRSP or TFSA to count the loss without really selling it. But the tax rules don’t allow this, and there are big penalties for swapping an investment from a regular account to a registered account like an RRSP or TFSA.

To avoid these issues, it’s better to sell the investment that’s lost value and, if you have room, put the money from the sale into your RRSP or TFSA. Then, if you want, your RRSP or TFSA can buy the investment again after waiting for 30 days since the initial sale. This way, you avoid the superficial loss rule.


Individuals

The following list may seem like a lot, but it’s unlikely every single tip will apply to you. It’s essential to make sure you aren’t paying taxes unnecessarily.

COVID-19 federal benefits – If you return any amounts you received from COVID-19 benefits before the year 2023, you have the option to deduct the amount you paid back from your income for the year when you originally received the benefit, rather than the year in which you repay it.

Income Timing – If your marginal personal tax rate is lower in 2024 than in 2023, defer the receipt of certain employment income; if your marginal personal tax rate is higher in 2024 than in 2023, accelerate.

Medical expenses – If you have eligible medical expenses that weren’t paid for by either a provincial or private plan, you can claim them on your tax return. You can even deduct premiums you pay for private coverage. Either spouse can claim qualified medical expenses for themselves and their dependent children in a 12-month period, but it’s generally better for the spouse with the lower income to do so.

Charitable donations – Tax credits for donations are two-tiered, with a more considerable credit available for donations over $200. You and your spouse can pool your donation receipts and carry donations forward donations for up to five years. If you donate items like stocks or mutual funds directly to a charity, you will be eligible for a tax receipt for the fair market value, and the capital gains tax does not apply.

Moving expenses – If you’ve moved to be closer to school or a place of work, you may be able to deduct moving expenses against eligible income. You must have moved a minimum of 40 km.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)- The AMT framework is a taxation system that sets a minimum amount of tax for individuals who utilize specific tax deductions, exemptions, or credits to substantially reduce their tax liabilities to exceedingly low levels. With AMT, there’s a parallel tax calculation that doesn’t allow as many deductions, exemptions, or credits as the regular way of calculating taxes. If the tax amount computed under the AMT system exceeds the tax liability determined under the regular tax system, the surplus amount becomes payable as AMT for the year.

Recent government proposals have outlined forthcoming adjustments to the AMT system, set to take effect in 2024. These proposed modifications encompass elevating the AMT tax rate, enhancing the AMT exemption threshold, and expanding the AMT tax base by constraining specific exemptions, deductions, and credits that serve to reduce overall tax obligations. 

For individuals whose taxable income surpasses approximately $173,000, and who derive income subject to lower tax rates than standard income, or those who benefit from deductions or credits that mitigate their tax liabilities (such as capital gains, stock options, Canadian dividends, unused non-capital losses from preceding years, or non-refundable tax credits like the donation tax credit), it is anticipated that their AMT liabilities in 2024 may exceed those incurred in 2023.

To navigate these impending changes effectively and make financial decisions, it is advisable for individuals to seek counsel from a tax professional. 


Families

Childcare Expenses – If you paid someone to take care of your child so you or your spouse could attend school or work, then you can deduct those expenses. A variety of childcare options qualify for this deduction, including boarding school, camp, daycare, and even paying a relative over 18 for babysitting. Be sure to get all your receipts and have the spouse with the lower net income claim the childcare expenses. In addition, some provinces offer additional childcare tax credits on top of the federal ones.

Caregiver – If you are a caregiver, claim the available federal and provincial/territorial tax credits.

Children’s fitness, arts and wellness tax credits – If your child is enrolled in an eligible fitness or arts program, you may claim a provincial or territorial tax credit for fitness and arts programs.

Estate planning arrangements

  • Periodic Review: It is imperative to conduct an annual review of your estate planning arrangements to verify that they are in alignment with your objectives and compliant with current tax regulations.

  • Probate Fee Mitigation: Deliberate strategies should be explored to minimize probate fees. 

  • Will Examination: Regularly reviewing your will is crucial to ensure it remains valid and aligns with your evolving life and estate planning requirements.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) – can be a great way to save for a child’s future education. The Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) is only available on the first $2,500 of contributions you make each year per child (to a maximum of $500, with a lifetime maximum of $7,200.) If you have any unused CESG amounts for the current year, you can carry them forward. If the recipient of the RESP is now 16 or 17, they can only receive the CESG if a) at least $2,000 has already been contributed to the RESP and b) a minimum contribution of $100 was made to the RESP in any of the four previous years.

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) – If you have an RDSP open for yourself or an eligible family member, you may be able to get both the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB) paid into the RDSP. The CDSB is based on the beneficiary’s adjusted family net income and does not require any contributions to be made. The CDSG is based on both the beneficiary’s family net income and contribution amounts. In addition, up to 10 years of unused grants and bond entitlements can be carried forward.

First Home Savings Account (FHSA) – If you are a Canadian resident, age 18 or older and planning to become first-time homebuyers. Starting from April 1, 2023, this account serves as a valuable tool for saving towards the purchase of a qualifying first home. 

The FHSA program comes with an annual contribution limit of $8,000, and a cumulative lifetime cap of $40,000, with the flexibility to carry forward up to $8,000 in unused contributions. Importantly, contributions made to the FHSA are tax-deductible, offering potential tax benefits. Additionally, the returns earned on your savings within this account are not subject to taxation, which can enhance the overall growth of your savings. Most notably, when you make qualifying withdrawals to buy your first home, these withdrawals are non-taxable.

Retirees

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) – Turning 71 this year? If so, you are required to end your RRSP by December 31. You have several choices on what to do with your RRSP, including transferring your RRSP to a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), cashing out your RSSP, or purchasing an annuity. Talk to us about the tax implications of each of these choices. 

Pension Income- Are you 65 or older and receiving pension income? If your pension income is eligible, you can deduct a federal tax credit equal to 15% on the first $2,000 of pension income received – plus any provincial tax credits. Don’t currently have any pension income? You may want to think about withdrawing $2,000 from an RRIF each year or using RRSP funds to purchase an annuity that pays at least $2,000 per year.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – If you’ve reached the age of 60, you may be considering applying for CPP. Keep in mind that if you do this, the monthly amount you’ll receive will be smaller. Also, you don’t have to have retired to be able to apply for CPP. Talk to us; we can help you figure out what makes the most sense.

Old Age Security – For individuals aged 65 or older, securing enrollment in Old Age Security (OAS) benefits is essential. It’s important to note that retroactive OAS payments are limited to a maximum of 11 months plus the month in which you apply for your OAS benefits. Moreover, if you encounter OAS clawback challenges due to exceeding income thresholds, there are strategic measures you can take including income splitting or reduction. 

If eligible, you can opt to defer the initiation of your OAS benefits for up to 60 months after turning 65. This choice results in a permanent increase of 0.6% in your monthly OAS payment for each month of deferral.

These financial strategies, when combined with timely enrollment in OAS benefits, can help you navigate OAS-related matters effectively, ensuring you receive the maximum benefits available to you while optimizing your retirement income.

Estate planning arrangements – Review your estate plan annually to ensure that it reflects the current tax rules. Consider strategies for minimizing probate fees. If you’re over 64 and living in a high probate province, consider setting up an inter vivos trust as part of your estate plan.


Students

Education, tuition, and textbook tax credits – If you’re attending post-secondary school, claim these credits where available.

Canada tuition credit – If you’re between 25 to 65 and enrolled in an eligible educational institution, you can claim a federal tax credit of $250 per year, $5,000 maximum lifetime tax credit. You can claim tuition paid on your taxes, carry the amount forward, or transfer an unused tuition amount to a spouse, parent, or grandparent.

Need some additional guidance?

Reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re here to help.

Investing as a Business Owner 2023

Investing as a Business Owner

Many business owners have built up earnings in their corporation and are looking for tax efficient ways to pull the earnings out to achieve their personal and business financial goals such as:

  • building and protecting your savings

  • providing for loved ones

  • planning for retirement

Factors to consider when investing as a corporation:

What’s the purpose of the investment? First, think about what you’ll be doing with your savings. This will help dictate what savings vehicle is best suited for your situation. Then consider the following factors:

Taxes: As a small business owner, you have access to the small business tax rate which is typically lower than your personal tax rate. (See table below.) Also, as of January 1, 2019, the Federal Budget decreased the small business limit for corporations with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments.

Taxes on investment growth: Depending on what you invest in, you will want to review this as different asset types are taxed at different rates.

Timing: You can control the timing of the payout which means you could potentially defer paying out the money until you need it and determine if you’d like to pay it out as salary or dividend.

Creditor Protection: Sometimes, investments held inside a corporation can be vulnerable to creditors, therefore you may want to consider using a holding company or trust or pay out money to yourself personally. This can be complex and requires professional advice.

Capital Gains Exemption: If your investment grows too large, it may endanger your qualification for the lifetime capital gains exemption that’s available when shares of a qualified small business corporation are sold or transferred.

For business owners, before investing personally or corporately, it’s certainly worth talking to us to ensure that it suits your individual circumstances. 

Understanding Target Loss Ratio and Your Group Benefits Plan

Group benefits can be intricate both in their establishment and administration. There are numerous details and considerations to be aware of when purchasing a group benefits plan, one of which is the target loss ratio (TLR).

Key Questions Addressed:

  • What is a target loss ratio?

  • How does my TLR influence my premiums upon policy renewal?

  • What steps should I take if I have concerns regarding my TLR?

Understanding Target Loss Ratio (TLR):
Here are the primary aspects you should understand about the target loss ratio (TLR):

  • It represents the expected profit point of your employee benefit plan’s comprehensive health and dental benefits.

  • TLR is the maximum dollar amount of claims paid by the insurance company, expressed as a percentage of your premium. For instance, if an insurance company pays $40 in claims for every $80 collected in premiums, the loss ratio stands at 50%.

  • The TLR is primarily determined by two factors: the number of members participating in the employee benefit plan and the annual premium paid.

  • The loss ratios can vary based on the type of insurance. For instance, the loss ratio for property insurance is typically lower than that for health insurance.

Does my TLR Affect My Premiums Upon Renewal?
Generally, your TLR won’t have a significant influence on your premiums when renewing. However, a notable increase or decrease in the number of staff members participating in your group benefits plan might cause some impact.

Other factors influencing your renewal premiums include:

  • A substantial amount of health and dental claims made.

  • Changes in the general demographics of your employees, such as aging.

  • An increase in the cost of services covered by your group benefits plan.

  • General inflation.

Addressing Concerns About TLR:
As someone overseeing a group benefits plan, your objective is to ensure optimal value for your premium expenditure.

If you’ve been collaborating with the same insurance provider for an extended period, it’s beneficial to explore other available options. Comparing offerings can help ascertain if the rate and TLR you’re being offered align with current market standards.

It’s essential to consider how varying TLRs might influence the long-term viability of your group benefits plan. If you’re keen on gaining deeper insights, consider reaching out to industry experts or consultants for guidance.