Category Archives: Tax Planning

Anthony Sabti

2017 Financial Planning Checklist

Until the end of the year, we’ll be deviating from the usual “weekly brief” format. We believe it is a good time to take a final stock – pardon the pun – of your overall financial planning situation. Below is a checklist of some of the items we try to cover with you at your meeting. If you want to confirm an item on this list has been addressed, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our office will remain open during the holidays.


  • Portfolio mix. Different investments are taxed at different tax rates. If you invest in both registered and non-registered accounts, ensure you optimize your portfolio mix to ensure maximum tax-efficiency
  • The amount added to the TFSA room on January 1st, 2018 will be $5,500. This will bring the lifetime amount to $57,500. Consider putting funds into your TFSA to the extent you can make contributions (or via a transfer from your non-registered account). Ensure you don’t exceed your contribution room due to the significant penalty on over-contributions. If you have authorized us for CRA access, we can confirm your TFSA limit.
  • If you were planning on withdrawing from your TFSA, do so by the end of the year. The amount you withdraw will be added to your TFSA room at the start of 2018. If you withdraw in January 2018, you won’t get the room back until January 2019.
  • If you have investments in a non-registered account in a capital loss position, consider triggering the capital loss to offset capital gains realized during the year.
  • For non-registered accounts, delay purchases until January 2018 to minimize your allocation of taxable income for 2017 (after year-end distributions). For similar reasons, consider selling your mutual fund in a non-registered account before year-end as well (prior to year end-distributions).


  • Any donations you want to claim on your 2017 tax return must be made by December 31, 2017.  Donations must be made to a registered charity. Contributions above $200 result in a 29% federal tax credit. Keep the donation receipts! The CRA was more aggressive in requesting documentation to prove the donations were actually made.
  • If you are a first-time donor, you can claim an additional 25% credit on up to $1,000 of donations made after March 20, 2013.  2017 is the final year in which this credit can be claimed.
  • Public transit tax credit. This credit will be eliminated following the 2017 tax year. You can claim on your 2017 income tax return, only the cost pertaining of monthly passes for transit services for the period January 1 to June 30, 2017.
  • If you are over 65 with no private pension, consider withdrawing $2,000 from a RRIF account to trigger the $2,000 pension credit.
  • Home accessibility tax credits. If you incur eligible expenses of up to $10,000 to increase the mobility or safety of a senior, you will be able to claim the federal home accessibility home credit and BC senior’s home renovation tax credit.


  • The deadline to make an RRSP contribution for the 2017 tax year is March 1, 2018. If you have authorized us for CRA access, we can confirm your RRSP limit, factoring in any contributions you’ve made with us. An RRSP contribution has a tax savings potential of anywhere between 20%-47.7% for BC residents.
  • If you turned 71 this year, this is the final year you can contribute to an RRSP. Consider making an RRSP contribution in December of the year you turned 71 if your income in 2017 is higher than what you expect in later years.
    • If you turned 71 this year, you must wind up your RRSP by the end of the year. For most people, this means a conversion to a RRIF account with minimum annual withdrawals starting the following year.
  • Consider withdrawing funds from your RRSP if you have low income for the year.

Self-Employment / Business / Corporations

  • Consider 2017 income splitting opportunities (spouse, children, parents, etc.) as the rule changes that are likely to come for corporations in 2018 may eliminate this strategy moving forward.
  • The new rules will grandfather any existing passive investment income currently held in a corporation.  They will also allow passive income of up to $50,000 not subject to higher taxation. This means that under the new regime, you could add $1,000,000 (in addition to any grandfathered assets) generating income of 5% a year and be exempt.
  • If you are self-employed, consider purchasing capital assets before year-end. If the asset is available for use before the end of the year, you can claim one-half of the usual tax amortization for the year.
  • Consider paying a salary or bonus from your corporation to yourself in December. Usually, the payroll tax for this is due by January 15th (may be sooner depending on your remitter type).


  • If you have an RESP and your child has turned 17 in 2017, this is the final year of his/her grant eligibility.  If you have grant room remaining, you can contribute up to $5,000 in the final year, generating a $1,000 grant.
  • Pay child-care expenses for 2017 by December 31st, 2017 and get a receipt. Remember that boarding school and camp fees qualify for the child care deduction.
  • If your child qualifies for the disability tax credit, and if RDSP assets or income will not disqualify him/her from receiving provincial income support, consider setting up an RDSP to qualify for the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB – lifetime maximum of $20,000 per child). Contributions to an RDSP qualify for the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG – lifetime maximum of $70,000 per child)
  • Children’s fitness and art credit. Sadly, these tax credits have been completely phased out, and you won’t receive a credit for these costs on your 2017 return.


  • Note that MSP premiums will be cut in half for all taxpayers in 2018. The provincial government intends to eliminate all MSP premiums within four years.
Frank Mueller

Weekly Update – December 8, 2017

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill

TSX Rises on to End Week on a Positive

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose by 80.39 points Friday, a 0.50 per cent gain, to close at 16,096.07. On the week, the TSX managed a gain of 57.10 points (0.36 per cent). Nine of the 10 main groups rose on Friday.

Gold dropped $3.90 USD per ounce on Friday (0.31 per cent) to close the week at $1,245.90 per ounce. On the week, this represents a drop of $33.80 an ounce (2.64 per cent).

Increasing Chinese demand for oil, coupled with potential supply-side issues out of Africa, led oil up on Friday; however, oil was down for the week overall. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at $57.33 USD per barrel, up 64 cents (1.13 per cent), but was down 96 cents for the week, a drop of 1.65 per cent.

The Loonie sat at 77.87 cents to the Greenback on Friday (as of 2:14pm), a gain of 12 basis-points (0.17 per cent). On the week, the Canadian Dollar was down 1.02 cents (1.29 per cent).

U.S. Markets All Gain on Friday

Friday saw increases across the board on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was up was up 117.68 points (0.49 per cent) to close the week at 24,329.16.

The S&P 500 gained 14.52 points (0.55 per cent) to finish at 2,651.50.

The NASDAQ rose by 27.24 points (0.40 per cent) and settled at 6,840.08.

November jobs numbers propelled markets upward to end the week, a further signal of a strong economy. Analysts already expected a rate hike next week, and the strong jobs figures propelled this expectation.

CRA Confirms 2018 Tax-Free Savings Account Room

This week, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced the new Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) room for 2018 will be unchanged at $5,500.

How does this announcement affect your investment portfolio? Well, this is $5,500 of new space to shelter your investments from capital gains tax. Remember that you contribute net income to your TFSA because unlike the RRSP, you don’t get a tax savings on your contributions to a TFSA. However, you get the tax savings when you make withdrawals from your TFSA – you pay no capital gains whatsoever – and you also enjoy tax-sheltered growth while your money is in the TFSA itself.

If you have questions about how best to invest your money, be it to an RRSP, TFSA or to a Non-Registered account, give us a call and we can discuss your specific needs!

Weekly Market Wrap-Up

North America
The TSX closed at 16,097, up 58 points or 0.36% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 5.37%.
The DOW closed at 24,329, up 97 points or 0.40% over the past week. YTD the DOW is up 23.10%.
The S&P closed at 2,652, up 10 points or 0.38% over the past week. YTD the S&P is up 18.45%.
The Nasdaq closed at 6,838, down -10 points or -0.15% over the past week. YTD the Nasdaq is up 27.03%.
Gold closed at 1,246, down -8.00 points or -2.88% over the past week. YTD gold is up 9.49%.
Oil closed at 57.34, down -1.00 points or -1.71% over the past week. YTD oil is up 9.80%.
The USD/CAD closed at 0.77714, down -0.0108 points or -1.37% over the past week. YTD the USD/CAD is up 4.75%.

The MSCI closed at 2064, down -13 points or -0.63% over the past week. YTD the MSCI is up 17.74%.
The Euro Stoxx 50 closed at 3592, up 64 points or 1.81% over the past week. YTD the Euro Stoxx 50 is up 9.15%.
The FTSE closed at 7394, up 93 points or 1.27% over the past week. YTD the FTSE is up 3.51%.
The CAC closed at 5399, up 82 points or 1.54% over the past week. YTD the CAC is up 11.04%.
DAX closed at 13154, up 292.00 points or 2.27% over the past week. YTD DAX is up 14.57%.
Nikkei closed at 22811, down -8.00 points or -0.04% over the past week. YTD Nikkei is up 19.34%.
The Shanghai closed at 3290, down -28.0000 points or -0.84% over the past week. YTD the Shanghai is up 5.99%.

Fixed Income
The 10-Yr Bond closed at 2.38, up 0.0200 points or 0.85% over the past week.YTD the 10-Yr Bond is down -2.86%.

Sources: Globe Advisor, Yahoo! Finance,, Bank of Canada, Dynamic

Frank Mueller

Weekly Update – October 6, 2017

“Once the speculative tide starts running, few can resist its pull” – John Train

TSX Retreats on Sagging Oil

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index dropped 47.98 points (0.30%) on the day to close at 15,728.32. On the week, the TSX gained 88 points (0.56%).

The main drag on the TSX on Friday was the cost of a barrel of oil, which dropped by 3%. November Oil Futures shed $1.54USD per barrel to settle at $49.25USD per barrel.

Gold crept higher by 0.45% ($5.70USD per ounce) to finish the week at $1,278.90USD.

The Loonie rose by almost half a penny against the Greenback and settled at an even 80 cents USD.

S&P 500 Ends 6-Day Streak of Record Highs on Declining Jobs Numbers

U.S. non-farms jobs numbers declined for the month of September by 33,000 jobs, according to the Department of Labor. This marks the first monthly jobs decline in 7 years, when the U.S. was still digging its way out of the Great Recession. Analysts believe the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left many southern workers either temporarily displaced, or resulted in new hires being delayed.

The S&P 500’s 6-day streak of record highs was snapped due to the jobs data, settling at 2,549 on a loss of 2.74 points (0.11%); however, the previous streak of record highs lifted the S&P to a weekly gain of 1.19%.

Changes Coming to Canadian Tax Proposals

Finance Minister Bill Morneau confirmed on Wednesday that, after the close of the 75-day consultation window – the Federal Government’s tax proposals will be reviewed and will likely be changed somewhat.

The 3 major changes originally proposed by Minister Morneau centered mostly around Privately Controlled Canadian Corporations, and included: restricting income sprinkling/splitting, limiting passive investments within the corporation, and limiting business owners’ ability to convert regular income into capital gains. You can get a more complete picture of these initial proposals by reading Anthony’s blog.

It can reasonably be assumed that the pushback received during the 75-day consultation window was strong and steady, causing the Federal Government to reconsider the initial proposals. It should be noted, however, that there will not be another consultation period, so any changes made to the initial proposals will not be subject to future feedback.


North America
The TSX closed at 15723, up 88 points or 0.56% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 2.92%.
The DOW closed at 22774, up 368 points or 1.64% over the past week. YTD the DOW is up 15.24%.
The S&P closed at 2549, up 30 points or 1.19% over the past week. YTD the S&P is up 13.85%.
The Nasdaq closed at 6590, up 94 points or 1.45% over the past week. YTD the Nasdaq is up 22.42%.
Gold closed at 1277, down -19.00 points or -0.39% over the past week. YTD gold is up 12.21%.
Oil closed at 49.31, down -2.27 points or -4.40% over the past week. YTD oil is down -5.57%.
The USD/CAD closed at 0.8, changed 0.0000 points or 0.00% over the past week. YTD the USD/CAD is up 7.83%.

The MSCI closed at 2016, up 24 points or 1.20% over the past week. YTD the MSCI is up 15.00%.
The Euro Stoxx 50 closed at 3603, up 8 points or 0.22% over the past week. YTD the Euro Stoxx 50 is up 9.48%.
The FTSE closed at 7523, up 150 points or 2.03% over the past week. YTD the FTSE is up 5.32%.
The CAC closed at 5360, up 30 points or 0.56% over the past week. YTD the CAC is up 10.24%.
DAX closed at 12956, up 127.00 points or 0.99% over the past week. YTD DAX is up 12.85%.
Nikkei closed at 20691, up 335.00 points or 1.65% over the past week. YTD Nikkei is up 8.25%.
The Shanghai closed at 3349, changed 0.0000 points or 0.00% over the past week. YTD the Shanghai is up 7.89%.

Fixed Income
The 10-Yr Bond closed at 2.37, up 0.0400 points or 1.72% over the past week.YTD the 10-Yr Bond is down -3.27%.

Sources: Globe Advisor, Dynamic Funds

Anthony Sabti

Big Changes Coming for Incorporated Professionals

On July 18, 2017, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a consultation paper on proposed private corporation tax measures. These measures are designed to close tax advantages used by Canadians who use private corporations for income sprinkling, accumulating passive investment income and converting income into capital gains.

Most of the proposed changes are anticipated to be implemented on a go forward basis, effective for 2018. Many businesses will need to review their corporate and compensation structures and consider planning for changes to be in effect for 2018.

Which practices is the government focusing on?

1. Income-Splitting Using Private Corporations

Perceived Benefit: Shifting income that would otherwise be realized by a high-income individual to family members (usually a spouse) who are subject to lower personal tax rates (e.g., via dividends or multiplication of the lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE)).

Proposed Measure: Extend the existing “tax on split income” rules that previously applied to minors (“kiddie tax”) to certain adult individuals. The change would effectively impose a tax at the top personal rate on dividends paid to any related individual who provide no labor or capital contributions to the business.

Reasonable payments made to related parties who do help in the business would not be affected by this change.

In addition, a related individual would no longer qualify for the LCGE in respect of capital gains that are realized, or that accrue, before the taxation year in which the individual attains the age of 18 years. Also, there will be restrictions on using the LCGE for gains accruing through family trusts.

2. Holding a Passive Investment Portfolio Inside a Private Corporation

Perceived Benefit: Corporate income tax rates, which are generally much lower than personal rates, may facilitate the accumulation of earnings that can be invested in a passive portfolio, providing the owner with a significant tax deferral advantage.

Proposed Measure: The government is considering changes such that investments held within corporations are taxed at the same effective rate as investments held directly. According to the government, the tax advantage conferred on private corporations – the lower rate of tax –was never intended to be used to realize higher personal savings.

What are the Next Steps?

No decision, consultation only: Until October 2, 2017, the government will accept submissions and comments from Canadians. Those interested in having their say should submit their comments to email hidden; JavaScript is required

Odette Morin

Highlights to the 2017 Liberal Government 2nd federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the Liberal Government’s 2nd annual budget today called the “Innovation Budget”. Here are the key budget highlights:
  • The biggest and most welcome news for investors is that no changes were made to the capital gains tax, stock options or dividends inclusion. There were fears that the Liberal government was going to increase the taxation of capital investment gains but they decided to hold off on any tax hikes for now.
  • No major new taxes.
  • 2% tax increase on alcohol and tobacco.
  • Public transit tax credit is cancelled. Instead, the government will invest $20 billion over 11 years – to improve transit systems and encourage usage across Canada.
  • Cancellation of Canada Savings Bonds.
 New programs introduced
  • The budget follows through on promises to let parents take their Employment Insurance parental leave benefits over 18 months rather than 12, giving them the choice of taking the existing 55 per cent benefit rate over a year or 33 per cent over a year and a half. They also propose letting women start their maternity leave 12 weeks before their due dates rather than eight weeks prior.
  • On assistance for families, the government will be pledging $7 billion for affordable child care over 10 years to create up to 40,000 more spaces.
  • The government also plans to devote $6 billion over 10 years for home care and $5 billion over 10 years for mental health initiatives through individual deals with the provinces and territories.
  • $691.3 milions will be spent over five years to expand the caregiver benefit for Canadians supporting critically ill and injured family members.
  • Military spending will also be bumped at a cost of $8.5 billion in capital spending for nearly two decades down the road.
  • $395.5 millions over three years to expand the youth employment strategy.
  • $279.8 million over five years for the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
  • $57.8 million for mental health for federal inmates.
  • $50 million over two years for teaching initiatives to help children learn to code.
  • $27.5 million for programs to help newcomers get foreign credentials.
  • The government is committing money for skills, innovation and jobs, with $594 million set aside for this year, rising to $1.4 billion by 2021-22.
  • The most expensive item of this budget is spending on infrastructure and social programs, including $20.1 billion promised over 11 years for public transit.
  • $3.6 million over three years to create an LGBTQ secretariat at the Privy Council Office to advance human rights
  • $523.9 million over five years to prevent tax evasion and improve compliance. The budget forecasts the government will make an additional $2.5 billion over five years from those measures to catch fraud and tax evaders.
The federal deficit is projected to be $28.5 billion for the 2017-18 year, compared to $23 billion this year – both higher than projected in the fall. The budget offers no timeframe of when the government will balance the books. The budget predicts the economy will grow slightly this year, keeping the ratio of federal debt to GDP fairly flat, at 31.6 per cent in this year compared to 31.5 per cent last year.
Sources: CTV News, BNN, CBC & Globe & Mail.
Odette Morin

BC Government 2017 Budget Highlights

The BC Government delivered its 2017 budget this week. The biggest change is the Medical Service Premiums which will be reduced by half for families with annual income below $120k.
For your convenience, here are the key measures that may be of interest to your investors:
  • Medical Services Plan premiums will be reduced by 50% for households with an annual net income of up to $120,000. A typical family is expected to save $900 per year;
  • The small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced to 2 per cent from 2.5 percent, and accordingly the dividend tax credit for ineligible dividends decreased. This has a knock-on effect on the combined tax rate for investment income earned by Canadian-controlled private companies and paid out to shareholders;
  • The threshold for first time home buyer’s program exemption from property transfer tax will be increased from $475,000 to $500,000; and
  • A number of tax credits will be introduced or extended, including tax credits for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers and individuals with school-aged children for back-to-school expenses.
For more on budget highlights, please refer to the BC government’s summary at this link, or the detailed materials here.