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Category Archives: Tax Planning

Terry Broaders

An RRSP Urban Myth

Did you hear that Canada’s new plastic polymer bills contain a special agent that makes them smell like maple syrup?  That’s a great story but that’s all it is; just a story.  It’s another urban myth just like many myths surrounding RRSPs.

One myth we hear often is that RRSPs are a terrible idea because “you lose the lucrative dividend tax credit and the 50% capital gains reduction; that it is always better to invest outside of an RRSP.”   It’s been proven time and time again that investing within an RRSP is more advantageous than investing in a non-registered account.

Let’s consider a simple example.

Assume an individual has saved $10,000 and she’s wondering whether she should invest it inside her RRSP or in a non-registered account. We’ll further assume her marginal tax rate is 40% and that she buys an investment that triples in value over a 20-year period.

Would she be better off investing inside or outside her RRSP?

To answer that question, we need to consider the tax refund.  Assuming she has income tax deducted from her paycheque, a $10,000 contribution to her RRSP will generate a $4,000 tax refund because she’s in a 40% tax bracket.  So, that $10,000 RRSP contribution wouldn’t actually cost her $10,000; it would cost her just $6,000 ($10,000 minus the $4,000 refund).  Stated another way, at a 40% marginal tax rate, $10,000 inside an RRSP (which contains pre-tax dollars) is equivalent to $6,000 in a nonregistered account (which contains after-tax dollars).  This is because if you are paid $10,000 and you are in a 40% marginal tax rate the government would take $4,000 leaving you with $6,000.

Now, let’s return to the example, using these numbers as our starting points. First, investing inside the RRSP: The $10,000 would triple to $30,000 after 20 years; that’s an average annual return of 5.65%. If she then sells the investment and withdraws the money, she’ll pay $12,000 of income tax (40 per cent of $30,000) and be left with a net $18,000.

Now, investing outside the RRSP: The $6,000 would grow to $18,000 after 20 years. If she then sells the investment, she’ll pay capital gains tax of 20 per cent (half of 40 per cent) on the $12,000 difference between her sale and purchase prices. After deducting $2,400 in tax, she’ll be left with just $15,600.

Verdict: The RRSP produces a superior return. Notice that the difference between the RRSP and non-registered totals ($18,000 versus $15,600) is equal to the capital gains tax ($2,400) that applies in the non-registered scenario. Far from “losing the 50% capital gains reduction,” the RRSP avoids capital gains tax entirely.

The RRSP will always come out ahead if you assume a constant marginal tax rate and if you start with amounts that are equivalent on an after-tax basis. That’s because capital gains, dividends and interest are not taxed in an RRSP, but they are taxed in a non-registered account.  With an RRSP, the only tax is on withdrawals. People love to complain about the tax on withdrawals because it looks so large, but it’s really just the original tax they deferred plus the growth of that tax over time. As the example above showed, even after paying tax on withdrawals, the RRSP investor still wins. If an investor’s marginal tax rate is lower in retirement as it nearly always is, the benefit of RRSPs is even stronger.

What if someone’s marginal tax rate is higher in retirement?  This would be extremely unusual as most people simply make less money when retired versus while working, But in this case wouldn’t that make RRSPs a bad choice? Not necessarily says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning with CIBC Wealth Advisory Services. In a research paper available at goo.gl/uaMJr9 he examined various scenarios.  His analysis showed that, even assuming a fairly drastic 10%-percentage-point increase in the marginal effective tax rate, RRSPs would still enjoy an advantage over non-registered accounts given a long enough investing horizon. That’s because the benefits of tax-free compounding would eventually outweigh the impact of a higher METR on withdrawals.

So given the choice between an RRSP and a non-registered investment the RRSP is the superior choice.

Anthony Sabti

Corporate Class Switching Deadline Extended – Will Take Effect January 1, 2017

In March, the 2016 Federal Budget announced that the tax-deferred switching advantage of corporate class funds would be ending this year. Originally, the budget called for the regulation change to take effect on October 1, 2016; however, the regulation change will now take effect on January 1, 2017.

Until this year, an investor was able to use this fund structure in a non-registered account and switch from one corporate class fund to another – within the same fund company – on a tax-deferred basis.  For example, an investor could switch from ABC Canadian Equity Fund Corp. Class to ABC Global Equity Fund Corp. Class without incurring a capital gain. With a regular fund structure, the investor would normally pay capital gains taxes on the profit incurred on the fund being sold.

While this is unfortunate news, corporate class funds will continue to offer the advantage of tax-efficient distributions.  These funds will restructure any income distribution (including interest income) in the form of capital gains or dividends, and are taxed at a lower rate than interest income.

Since the announcement was made, we have reviewed and will continue to review all non-registered portfolios at client meetings for any changes we would like to make before the rule change takes place. If you have a non-registered account with us and would like to see if we should act on your portfolio before the end of the year, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Frank Mueller

Weekly Update – April 8, 2016

TSX REBOUNDS FRIDAY ON STRONG JOBS NUMBERS, OIL SURGE

The S&P/TSX Composite closed the week at 13,396.73, down 0.3% for the week. At a 2.9% gain year-to-date, Toronto’s main index continues to trail only New Zealand’s index – the world’s best 2016 performer.

While down much of the week, a Friday surge, spurred by encouraging jobs numbers and a 6.6% jump in oil, helped the TSX to cut its losses for the week.

Strong Canadian jobs numbers for March posted a stronger-than-expected increase. A potential knock-on effect of this news could be felt on April 13th, if the Bank of Canada decides not to cut rates again. Before the jobs numbers were released, there was speculation of a rate cut happening again with hopes of further economy stimulation.

Oil enjoyed a healthy jump to finish the week, as data from the Energy Information Administration showed a decreasing U.S. production for the 10th time in 11 weeks, as well as decreased crude stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate May futures closed at $39.72USD per barrel, almost a 50% increase from the February lows, while Brent June futures closed at $41.92USD per barrel. A meeting of oil-producing countries, scheduled for April 17th in Doha, is highly anticipated, as an agreement to freeze output would buoy oil’s price further. John Kilduff, partner at New York energy-focused Hedge Fund Again Capital LLC, stated “We’re still hemmed in a range below $40. Breaking through would be very bullish for the market”.

However, many analysts aren’t believers in an extended oil rally, citing Iran’s goal of winning market share, as well as the world total supply surplus as the main reasons not to believe the hype. Without Iran being on board with a supply cut, other producers cutting supply would only lead to a loss in market share to Iran.

 

Blog Posts

To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question

How To Take The Bite Out At Tax Time

We Are Not Burger King, And That’s A Good Thing

 

SOURCES: Globe Investor

Odette Morin

We are not Burger King, and that’s a good thing!

Burger kin

Do you remember the Burger King ads that ran years ago? They always ended with “Have it your way”. It was a positive message that conveyed the importance of client satisfaction.

Fast-forward to today and the You First tax checklists (I bet you didn’t see that coming!). Despite all appearances, asking you to complete these lists our way also represents a desire to satisfy our clients.

After all, the less time we spend asking questions and trying to organize your information, the less it will cost you, and the more likely you’ll benefit from our below market tax preparation rates.

In addition, those clients who complete the checklists as required benefit from a 20% discount on their total. Those who don’t will have to pay full price.

So, while Burger King might hold the lettuce, we’re holding onto our outstanding value.

When you complete the checklists as instructed, we’re able to enter the data into our tax software and in the order which the system requires. It’s efficient and cost-effective.

However, even the slightest discrepancy can result in extra time for us.

We’ve had clients deliver organized, colour-coded and exceptionally detailed information. Yet, because it differed from our software’s system, the time we invested increased, as did our cost.

The fact is, we want to spend all of our time saving you money and making you money. Nevertheless, if you want us to spend time on you unnecessarily, then have it your way (but it will cost you!)

You can find all of our checklists here.

 

Thank you for preparing our Tax checklists

 

Odette Morin

How to take the bite out at tax time

Amy Lou

Most of you know our little pet, Amy Lou. She weighs 7 pounds and stands no more than a foot tall. Yet, despite her stature, she guards our workplace fiercely.

After all, there’s just no office more important.

I realized as she was barking at someone today that we’re similar – and no, not because of her bark! You see, we both protect what matters to us. In my case, it’s my clients. And, while I don’t bark, I do ask a lot of questions particularly at tax time.

The reason for this is two-fold. For one, I want to maximize all the opportunities and deductions available to you. I also want to insulate you from preventable predicaments with the Canadian Revenue Agency.

That’s where my protective nature comes in, as does that of our entire team.

By asking a lot of questions and requesting documentation to justify the figures presented, we can ensure that you’re very well armed for a CRA review or assessment – which have become more frequent.

It used to be that people would file their returns, documents intact, via regular mail. However, all that’s changed. Nowadays, returns tend to be filed electronically and don’t include documentation. As such, random checks have become more commonplace.

By the way, should you be picked, don’t panic. It’s not an audit. In addition, by managing your returns as thoroughly as we do, we’re in a good position to help you present what the CRA requires in due time and in the best way.

If you’ve been thinking, “that Odette is like a dog with a bone!” now you know why. So please be sure to complete our helpful tax return checklists and have all your documents organized.

Get our tax checklist here

 

Frank Mueller

Weekly Update – April 1, 2016

TSX FINISHES MARCH UP 4.9% DESPITE LOSSES TO END THE WEEK

The S&P/TSX Composite closed the week at 13,440.44, and as March came to a close, the TSX enjoyed its strongest monthly advance since October of 2011 by posting a 4.9% gain. At a 2.7% gain year-to-date, Toronto’s main index remains behind only New Zealand’s index as the world’s best 2016 performer.

The Thursday and Friday TSX losses were led, as usual, by drops in crude oil and resources such as gold.

Oil fell below $37USD per barrel, wiping out much of it’s gains year-to-date. Comments by Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, were a major reason for the drop, as he stated Saudi Arabia won’t freeze output unless other major oil producers do so. Meanwhile, world-wide oil production continues at between 1-2 million barrels per day of surplus. As weather warms with the change to Spring, demand could wane. Add all these factors together, and further drops in oil’s valuation is a very real possibility.

Strong US jobs numbers for March – our southerly neighbour added 215,000 jobs – paced expectations by about 10,000, improving the overall outlook about the US economy. Adding to the positive US news was speculation about a sooner-than-expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

Naturally, US jobs and Fed rate hike news weighed on gold, and the metal was down by 1% before settling at $1,223.50USD at market close. For the first quarter of 2016, gold has surged to a 16% increase in price. This represents the strongest quarterly rise in decades.

TAX TIME HAS COME AGAIN

Usually, the deadline for individuals not self-employed is April 30th. However, in years – such as 2016 – where April 30th falls on a weekend or holiday, the CRA considers your return to be filed on time if they receive the return/payment on the next business day. The 2016 exception date is Monday, May 2nd.

Self-employed persons must still pay any balances outstanding on/before May 2nd, but they can file their return on or before June 15th.

If you are the executor of the estate for a deceased person who died in 2015, you might have to file a 2015 tax return for that person.

Some helpful links:

T4011 Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons 2015

What To Do Following A Death

When Do You Have To Pay Your 2016 Instalments?

 

Sources: Globe Advisor, Canada Revenue Agency Website