Federal price range: Capital good points tax, extra might goal high-income earners

Jamie Golombek: Ottawa says it is seeking to shut tax loopholes that profit the rich and companies

Article content material

We’ve a date. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will ship Canada’s federal price range plan on March 28, giving us lower than two weeks to invest about what might — or might not — be included therein, which additionally means time is operating out to do any vital planning earlier than any potential tax adjustments.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Nobody is aware of with any certainty what will probably be within the upcoming price range, however we are able to glean some perception on its potential themes from the 226-page pre-budget Report of the Standing Committee on Finance issued final week, which contained 230 separate suggestions for tax adjustments and spending.

Article content material

Among the many proposals, the next suggestion might set the tone: “Undertake a public evaluate to determine federal tax expenditures, tax loopholes and different tax avoidance mechanisms that significantly profit high-income people, rich people and enormous companies and make suggestions to remove or restrict them.”

With that ominous theme in thoughts, listed below are some potential tax adjustments that would goal higher-income Canadians, together with some potential planning suggestions.

Commercial 3

Article content material

High tax bracket

The highest federal tax charge of 33 per cent at the moment kicks in at an revenue of greater than $235,675 for 2023, which is a 6.3 per cent bump within the threshold over 2022 on account of the excessive inflation we’ve been experiencing over the previous 12 months. The NDP’s pre-election platform hoped to extend the highest charge by two share factors to 35 per cent. If enacted, this might convey the highest mixed marginal tax charge, as soon as provincial tax is factored in, to roughly 56 per cent in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and to 57 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The same proposal to bump up the highest charge for the very best revenue earners was not too long ago included in United States President Joe Biden’s price range announcement earlier this month. He referred to as for a high federal revenue tax charge of 39.6 per cent, up from 37 per cent, for taxpayers incomes greater than US$400,000.

Article content material

Commercial 4

Article content material

Surplus strips

The federal government might determine to close down a preferred personal company tax-planning association that some refined taxpayers have been using to distribute company surplus (primarily, retained earnings for tax functions) from their company at capital good points charges, slightly than on the larger charges for Canadian dividends, or by way of the fee of a wage or bonus.

The Canada Income Company has beforehand tried to problem surplus strip transactions, however the courts have usually held that this sort of planning is appropriate, and doesn’t violate the final anti-avoidance rule, for the reason that Revenue Tax Act doesn’t include a normal coverage requiring shareholders to take away their surplus by way of a dividend slightly than a capital achieve.

Commercial 5

Article content material

The federal government tried to close down this sort of planning as a part of its personal company tax reforms in 2017, however these proposals have been in the end deserted after vital public criticism.

Different minimal tax

Final 12 months’s federal price range famous that “some high-income Canadians nonetheless pay comparatively little in private revenue tax as a share of their revenue.” To handle this, the federal government introduced a proper evaluate of the choice minimal tax (AMT), the outcomes of which have been initially supposed to return out in final fall’s financial replace. As a substitute, the federal government acknowledged {that a} “detailed proposal and path for implementation” could be launched within the upcoming price range.

After all, we have already got a federal AMT at a 15-per-cent charge. The major the reason why some high-income Canadians pay low efficient charges of tax has nothing to do with nefarious tax planning. For essentially the most half, high-income earners are doing nothing greater than claiming registered retirement financial savings plan deductions, charitable donations and dividend tax credit, and incomes half-taxable capital good points.

Commercial 6

Article content material

South of the border, Biden’s latest price range included a proposal to introduce a brand new 25-per-cent minimal tax on people whose internet value is greater than US$100 million. This new tax could be totally different, in that it might be imposed on each revenue and unrealized capital good points for the wealthiest 0.01 per cent.

Capital good points inclusion charge

Lastly, no dialogue of potential price range adjustments could be full with out no less than bearing on the capital good points inclusion charge. At the moment set at 50 per cent, it’s possible you’ll recall that the NDP’s platform proposed a hike to 75 per cent.

In preparation for the price range discussions, Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, emeritus professor at Simon Fraser College’s College of Public Coverage, simply launched a paper entitled Pathways to Reform of Capital Good points Taxation in Canada that considers the case for rising taxes on capital good points in Canada, and the implications for the upcoming reform of the AMT.

Commercial 7

Article content material

Kesselman exhibits there’s a excessive focus of capital good points amongst comparatively few taxpayers and at very excessive incomes, and means that concentrating on an elevated capital good points inclusion charge, both on massive good points above a sure greenback quantity or by filers with very excessive incomes, would sharply cut back the variety of affected taxpayers, “easing each administration and compliance in addition to public acceptance.”

Biden’s price range proposed an identical measure. The U.S. at the moment taxes lengthy‐​time period capital good points and dividends at a high charge of 20 per cent federally, plus internet funding revenue tax (NIIT) of three.8 per cent. The U.S. price range proposed taxing capital good points at a brand new high marginal revenue tax charge of 39.6 per cent (plus elevating the NIIT to 5 per cent) for taxpayers with greater than US$1 million of annual revenue.

Commercial 8

Article content material

If a change have been introduced to Canada’s capital good points inclusion charge, it might doubtless be efficient as of price range day (March 28). This implies traders who concern a bump within the inclusion charge may contemplate accelerating any planning, together with a possible rebalancing of their portfolios by taking good points now, thereby locking in a 50-per-cent inclusion charge. There are additionally extra refined tax methods that would purchase you a while for those who’re not sure what may occur to the inclusion charge on price range day.

Jamie Golombek, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP, is the managing director, Tax & Property Planning with CIBC Personal Wealth in Toronto. [email protected].


In the event you appreciated this story, join extra within the FP Investor e-newsletter.



Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a vigorous however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback might take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the positioning. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We’ve enabled e mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an e mail for those who obtain a reply to your remark, there may be an replace to a remark thread you observe or if a person you observe feedback. Go to our Neighborhood Pointers for extra info and particulars on the way to modify your e mail settings.

Be part of the Dialog