If you are seeking ways to save in the most tax-efficient manner available, TFSAs and RRSPs can provide significant tax savings. To help you understand the differences, we compare:
TFSA versus RRSP – Differences in deposits
TFSA versus RRSP – Differences in withdrawals
1) TFSA versus RRSP – Difference in deposits
There are several areas to focus on when comparing differences in deposits for 2021:
● Contribution Room
● Carry Forward
● Contribution and Tax Deductibility
● Tax Treatment of Growth
How much contribution room do I have?
If you have never contributed to a TFSA before, you can contribute up to $75,500 today. This table outlines the contribution amount you are allowed each year since TFSAs were created, including this year:
For RRSPs, the deduction limit is always 18% of your previous year’s pre-tax earnings to a maximum of $27,830. For example, if you earned $60,000 in 2020 then your deduction limit for 2021 would be $10,800 (18% x $60,000). If you earned $200,000, your deduction limit would be capped at the maximum of $27,830.
How much contribution room can I carry forward?
If you choose not to contribute to your TFSA at all one year or do not contribute the maximum amount in a year, you can indefinitely carry forward your unused contribution room. The only restrictions on this are that you must be a Canadian resident, older than 18, and have a valid social insurance number. If you make a withdrawal, then the amount you withdrew is added on top of your annual contribution room for the next calendar year.
For an RRSP, you can carry forward your unused contribution room until the age of 71. When you turn 71, you must convert your RRSP into an RRIF. If you make a withdrawal from your RRSP, you do not open up any additional contribution room.
Contributions and Tax Deductibility
Your TFSA contributions are not tax-deductible and are made with after-tax dollars.
Your RRSP contributions are tax-deductible and made with pre-tax dollars.
Tax Treatment of Growth
One of the reasons it’s essential to make both RRSP and TFSA contributions is that any growth in them is treated differently.
A TFSA is more suitable for short-term objectives like saving for a house down payment or a vacation – because all of the growth in it is tax-free. When you make a withdrawal from your TFSA, you won’t have to pay income tax on the amount withdrawn.
The growth in an RRSP is tax-deferred. This means you won’t pay any taxes on your RRSP gains until age 71, at which time, you convert RRSP into a RRIF and begin withdrawing money. RRSPs are better suited for long-term objectives, like retirement. Since you will have a lower income in retirement than when you are working, you will be in a lower tax bracket and, thus, not pay as much tax on your RRIF income.
TFSA versus RRSP – Differences in withdrawals
There are several areas to focus on when comparing differences in withdrawal for 2021:
For a TFSA, there are never any conversion requirements as there is no maximum age for a TFSA.
For an RRSP, you must convert it to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) if you turn 71 by December 31st of 2021.
Tax Treatment of withdrawals
One of the most attractive things about a TFSA is that all your withdrawals are tax-free! This is why they are recommended for short-term goals; you don’t have to worry about taxes when you take money out to pay for a house or a dream vacation.
With an RRSP, if you make a withdrawal, it will be taxed as income except in two cases:
The Home Buyers Plan lets you withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free, but you must pay it back within fifteen years.
The Lifelong Learning Plan lets you withdraw up to $20,000 ($10,000 maximum per year) tax-free, but you must pay it back within ten years.
How will my government benefits be impacted?
If you are making a withdrawal from your TFSA or RRSP, it’s essential to know how that will affect any benefits you receive from the government.
Since TFSA withdrawals are not considered taxable income, they will not impact your eligibility for income-tested government benefits.
RRSP withdrawals are considered taxable income and can affect the following:
Income-tested tax credits such as Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax Credit, and the Age Credit.
Government benefits including Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Employment Insurance.
How will a withdrawal impact my contribution room?
If you make a withdrawal from your TFSA, then the amount you withdrew will be added on top of your annual contribution room for the next calendar year. If you make a withdrawal from your RRSP, you do not open up any additional contribution room.
RRSPs and TFSAs can both be great savings vehicles. However, there are significant differences between them which can affect your finances. If you need help navigating these differences, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.
If you are seeking ways to save in the most tax-efficient manner available, TFSAs and RRSPs can both be effective options for you to achieve your savings goals more quickly. However, each plan does have distinct differences and advantages / disadvantages. We’ve separated our comparisons into 2 different infographics: deposits and withdrawals.
In the Deposit phase, we look at:
Tax Treatment of Growth
TFSA : $6,000 for 2021. If you never opened a TFSA, you can contribute up to $75,500 today.
$5,000 for each year from 2009 to 2012;
$5,500 for each of 2013 and 2014;
$10,000 for 2015;
$5,500 for each of 2016, 2017 and 2018
$6,000 for each of 2019, 2020 and 2021
RRSP : 18% of your 2020 pre-tax earned income or $27,830. So for example if you earned $60,000, then your deduction limit would be $10,800 (18% x $60,000). If you earned $200,000, then your deduction limit would be capped at the max limit of $27,830.
TFSA : You can carry forward your unused contribution room indefinitely, as long as your a Canadian resident, older than age 18 with a valid social insurance number. Withdrawals will usually result in new contribution room.
RRSP : You can carry forward your unused contribution room until the age of 71 when you have to convert your RRSP to a RRIF. Any withdrawals made from your RRSP will not result in new contribution room.
TFSA : You are contributing to your TFSA with After-tax dollars.
RRSP : You are contributing to your RRSP with Pre-tax dollars.
TFSA : Contributions are not tax deductible.
RRSP : Contributions are tax deductible.
Tax Treatment of Growth
TFSA : The growth inside a TFSA is tax free therefore it’s a great savings vehicle for immediate objectives such as a down payment for a home.
RRSP : The growth inside an RRSP is tax deferred, which means at withdrawal, you will need to pay tax, therefore it’s a good choice for long term goals such as retirement.
In the Withdrawals phase, we look at:
TFSA : With a TFSA, there’s no conversion.
RRSP : You must convert your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund by December 31st of the year you turn 71.
TFSA : You can make tax-free withdrawals.
RRSP : Your withdrawals are taxed as income except for withdrawals under the Home Buyers Plan, which you can withdraw up to $35,000 providing you pay within 15 years or Lifelong Learning Plan, which you can withdraw up to $20,000 ($10,000 per year) providing that the money is paid back within 10 years.
TFSA : Your withdrawals doesn’t affect eligibility for income tested government benefit because TFSA withdrawals aren’t included as taxable income.
RRSP : RRSP withdrawals are treated as taxable income therefore withdrawals may affect income tested tax credits such as Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax Credit and the Age Credit. Withdrawals may also affect government benefits you receive including Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Employment Insurance benefits.
TFSA : You can carry forward your unused contribution room indefinitely, as long as your a Canadian resident, older than age 18 with a valid social insurance number. Withdrawals will usually result in new contribution room to the following year’s contribution.
RRSP : Contribution room is based on your previous year’s earned income. You can carry forward your unused contribution room until the age of 71 when you have to convert your RRSP to a RRIF. Any withdrawals made from your RRSP will not result in new contribution room.
An additional different to note is that:
You are able to specify your spouse as your beneficiary with both your TFSA and your RRSP, however there is a key difference with how your savings are treated upon your spouse’s death. With an RRSP, there will be taxes payable upon the monies left in the plan by your children who inherit it, whereas with a TFSA, tax is only paid on the increase in the value of the plan since the date of death in the year that it is inherited by your children. What’s more, no tax is payable if the value that they receive is less than the value of the TFSA at the time of death.
In summary, your unique financial needs will provide information on what makes the most sense for you.
We’ve put together a financial calendar for 2021. It contains all the dates you need to know to make the most of your government benefits and investment options. Whether you want to bookmark this or print it out and post it somewhere prominent, you’ll have everything you need to know in one place!
We’ve provided information on:
The dates when the government distributes payments for the Canada Child Benefit, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS).
When GST/HST credit payments are issued – usually on the fifth day of January, April, July and October.
All the dates the Bank of Canada makes an interest rate announcement. A change in this interest rate (up or down) can impact a bank’s prime interest rates. This can then affect anything from the interest rate charged on your mortgage and line of credit to how much the Canadian dollar is worth against other currencies.
When you can start contributing to your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) for 2021, the contribution limit for 2021 is $6,000.
March 1st is the last day for your 2020 Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).
December 31st , 2021 is the last day for 2021 charitable contributions.
December 31st is the deadlines for various investment savings vehicle contributions, including your Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), as well as your RRSP if you turned 71 in 2021.
Tax filing deadlines for personal income tax, terminal tax returns for someone who died in 2020, self-employed individuals
Knowing all of this information here can help you keep on top of your finances if you’re expecting any government benefits. It can also make sure you don’t miss any critical tax or investment deadlines!
Tax packages will be available starting February 2021 – reach out to your accountant to get started on your taxes!
If you have any questions on how we can help with your 2021 finances, please contact us.
For the 2020 tax year, the Government of Canada introduced a temporary flat rate method to allow Canadians working from home this year due to Covid-19 to claim expenses of up to $400. Taxpayers will still be able to claim under the existing rules if they choose using the detailed method.
Each employee working from home who meets the eligibility criteria can use the temporary flat rate method to calculate their deduction for home office expenses.
To use this method to claim the home office expenses you paid, you must meet all of the following conditions:
You worked from home in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
You worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020
You are only claiming home office expenses and are not claiming any other employment expenses
Your employer did not reimburse you for all of your home office expensesWhat if your employer has reimbursed you for some of your home office expenses
You need to meet all of the above conditions to be eligible to use the Temporary flat rate method.
New eligible expenses
For the detailed method, the CRA has expanded the list of eligible expenses that can be claimed as work-space-in-the-home expenses to include reasonable home internet access fees. A comprehensive list of eligible home office expenses has also been created.
It’s a great time to review your business finances now that we are nearing year-end. Your business may be affected by recent tax changes or new measures to help with financial losses due to COVID-19. Figuring out the tax ramifications of these new measures can be complicated, so please don’t hesitate to consult your accountant and us to determine how this may affect your business finances.
We’re assuming that your corporate year-end is December 31. If it’s not, then this information will be useful when your business year-end comes up.
Below, we have listed some of the critical areas to consider and provide you with some helpful guidelines to make sure that you cover all the essentials. We have divided our tax planning tips into four sections:
Year-end tax checklist
Business Year-End Tax Checklist
Accruing your salary/bonus
Stock option plan
Paying family members
COVID-19 wage subsidy measures for employers
Claiming the small business deduction
Passive investment income including eligible and ineligible dividends
Lifetime capital gains exemption
What is your salary and dividend mix?
Individuals who own incorporated businesses can elect to receive their income as either salary or as dividends. Your choice will depend on your situation. Consider the following factors:
Your current and future cash flow needs
Your personal income level
The corporation’s income level
Tax on income splitting (TOSI) rules. When TOSI rules apply, be aware that dividends are taxed at the highest marginal tax rate.
Passive investment income rules
Also consider the difference between salary and dividends:
Can be used for RRSP contribution
Reduces corporate tax bill
Subject to payroll tax
Subject to CPP contribution
Subject to EI contribution
Does not provide RRSP contribution
Does not reduce a corporate tax bill
No tax withholdings
No CPP contribution
No EI Insurance contribution
Depending on the province¹, receive up to $50,000 of eligible dividends at a low tax rate provided you have no other sources of income
¹The amount and tax rate will vary based on province/territory you live in.
It’s worth considering ensuring that you receive a salary high enough to take full advantage of the maximum RRSP annual contribution that you can make. For 2020, salaries of $154,611 will provide the maximum RRSP room of $27,830 for 2021.
Is it worth accruing your salary or bonus this year?
You could consider accruing your salary or bonus in the current year but delaying payment of it until the following year. If your company’s year-end is December 31, your corporation will benefit from a deduction for the year 2020. The source deductions are not required to be remitted until actual salary or bonus payment in 2021.
Stock Option Plan
If your compensation includes stock options, check if you will be affected by the stock option rules that went into effect on January 1, 2020. These new rules cap the amount of specific employee stock options eligible for the stock option deduction at $200,000 as of January 1, 2020. These rules will not affect you if a Canadian controlled private corporation grants your stock options.
If you own your corporation, pay yourself tax-free amounts if you can. Here are some ways to do so:
Pay yourself rent if the company occupies space in your home.
Pay yourself capital dividends if your company has a balance in its capital dividend account.
Return “paid-up capital” that you have invested in your company
Do you employ members of your family?
Employing and paying a salary to family members who work for your incorporated business is worth considering. You could receive a tax deduction against the salary you pay them, providing that the salary is “reasonable” with the work done. In 2020, the individual can earn up to $13,229 (increased for 2020 from $12,298) and pay no federal tax. This also provides the individual with RRSP contribution room, CPP and allows for child-care deductions. Bear in mind there are additional costs incurred when employing someone, such as payroll taxes and contributions to CPP.
COVID-19 wage subsidy measures for employers
To deal with the financial hardships introduced by COVID-19, the federal government introduced two wage subsidy measures:
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program. With this, you can receive a subsidy of up to 85% of eligible remuneration that you paid between March 15 and December 19, 2020, if you had a decrease in revenue over this period. You must submit your application for the CEWS no later than January 31, 2021.
The Temporary Wage Subsidy (TWS) program. With this program, which reduces the amount of payroll deductions you needed to remit to the CRA, you can qualify for a subsidy equal to 10% of any remuneration that you paid between March 18, 2020, and June 19, 2020. You can claim up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 in total.
You can apply for both programs if you are eligible. If you qualify for the TWS but did not reduce your payroll remittances, you can still apply. The CRA will then either pay the subsidy amount to you or transfer it over to your next year’s remittance.
Claiming the Small Business Deduction
Are you able to claim a small business deduction? The federal small business tax rate decreased to 9% in 2019. It did not increase in 2020, nor is it expected to increase in 2021. From a provincial level, there will be changes in the following provinces:
Therefore, a small business deduction in 2020 is worth more than in 2021 for these provinces.
Should you repay any shareholder loans?
Borrowing funds from your corporation at a low or zero interest rate means that you are considered to have received a taxable benefit at the CRA’s 1% prescribed interest rate, less actual interest that you pay during the year or thirty days after the end of the year. You need to include the loan in your income tax return unless it is repaid within one year after the end of your corporation’s taxation year.
For example, if your company has a December 31 year-end and loaned you funds on November 1, 2020, you must repay the loan by December 31, 2021; otherwise, you will need to include the loan as taxable income on your 2020 personal tax return.
Passive investment income
If your corporation has a December year-end, then 2020 will be the second taxation year that the current passive investment income rules may apply to your company.
New measures were introduced in the 2018 federal budget relating to private businesses, which earn passive investment income in a corporation that also operates an active business.
There are two key parts to this:
Limiting access to dividend refunds. Essentially, a private company will be required to pay ineligible dividends to receive dividend refunds on some taxes. In the past, these could have been refunded when an eligible dividend was paid.
Limiting the small business deduction. This means that, for impacted companies, the small business deduction will be reduced at a rate of $5 for every $1 of investment income over $50,000. It is eliminated if investment income exceeds $150,000. Ontario and New Brunswick are not following these federal rules. Therefore, the provincial small business deduction is still available for income up to $500,000 annually.
Suppose your corporation earns both active business and passive investment income. In that case, you should contact your accountant and us directly to determine if there are any planning opportunities to minimize the new passive investment income rules’ impact. For example, you can consider a “buy and hold” strategy to help defer capital gains.
Think about when to pay dividends and dividend type
When choosing to pay dividends in 2020 or 2021, you should consider the following:
Difference between the yearly tax rate
Impact of tax on split income
Impact of passive investment income rules
Except for two provinces, Quebec and Alberta, the combined top marginal tax rates will not change from 2020 to 2021 at a provincial level. Therefore, it will not make a difference for most locations if you choose to pay in 2020 or 2021.
In Quebec and Alberta, as there will be increases in the combined marginal tax rate, you will have potential tax savings available if you choose to pay dividends in 2020 rather than 2021.
When deciding to pay a dividend, you will need to decide whether to pay out eligible or ineligible dividends. Consider the following:
Dividend refund claim limits: Eligible refundable dividend tax on hand (ERDTOH) vs Ineligible Refundable dividend tax on hand (NRDTOH)
Personal marginal tax rate of eligible vs. ineligible dividends (see chart below)
Given the passive investment income rules, typically, it makes sense to pay eligible dividends to deplete the ERDTOH balance before paying ineligible dividends. (Please note that ineligible dividends can also trigger a refund from the ERDTOH account.)
Eligible dividends are taxed at a lower personal tax rate than ineligible dividends (based on top combined marginal tax rate). However, keep in mind that when ineligible dividends are paid out, they are subject to the small business deduction; therefore, the dividend gross-up is 15% while eligible dividends are subject to the general corporate tax rate, a dividend gross-up is 38%. It’s important to talk to a professional to determine what makes the most sense when selecting the type of dividend to pay out of your corporation.
It might be time to revisit your corporate structure, given recent changes to private corporation rules on income splitting and passive investment income to provide more control on dividend income distribution.
Before you issue dividends to other shareholders in your private company (this includes your spouse, children, or other relatives), review the TOSI rules’ impact with us or your tax and legal advisors.
Another reason to reassess your structure is to segregate investment assets from your operating company for asset protection. You don’t want to trigger TOSI, so make sure you structure this properly. If you are considering succession planning, this is the time to evaluate your corporate structure as well.
Another aspect of corporate reorganization can be loss consolidation – where you consolidate losses from within related corporate groups.
Ensure your will is up to date
If your estate plan includes an intention for your family members to inherit your business using a trust, ensure that this plan is still tax-effective; income tax changes from January 1, 2016 eliminated the taxation at graduated rates in testamentary trusts and now taxes these trusts at the top marginal personal income tax rate. Review your will to ensure that any private company shares that you intend to leave won’t be affected by the most recent TOSI rules.
Consider a succession plan to ensure your business is transferred to your children, key employees or outside party in a tax-efficient manner.
Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption
If you sell your qualified small business corporation shares, you can qualify for the lifetime capital gains exemption (In 2020, the exemption is $883,384), where the gain is entirely exempt from tax. The exemption is a cumulative lifetime exemption; therefore, you don’t have to claim the entire amount at once.
The issues we discussed above can be complicated. Contact your accountant and us if you have any questions. We can help.
On November 30, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided the government’s fall economic update. The fall economic update provided information on the government’s strategy both for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its plan to help shape the recovery. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.
Corporate Tax Changes
Information on several subsidy programs was included in the update. These changes apply from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.
The government has provided an increase in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a maximum of 75% of eligible wages.
If you are eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (eligibility is based on your revenue decline), you can claim up to 65% of qualified expenses.
The Lockdown Support Subsidy has also been extended – if you are eligible, you can receive a 25% subsidy on eligible expenses.
Also, there were two other significant corporate tax changes:
Starting January 1, 2022, the government plans to tax international corporations that provide digital services in Canada if no international consensus on appropriate taxation has been reached.
The tax deferral on eligible shares paid by a qualifying agricultural cooperative to its members has been extended to 2026.
Personal Tax Changes
The following personal tax changes were included in the update:
The update confirmed the government’s plan to impose a $200,000 limit (based on fair market value) on taxing employee stock options granted after June 2021 at a preferential rate. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are not subject to these rules.
If you started working from home due to COVID-19, you could claim up to $400 in expenses.
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has temporarily been increased to include four additional payments. Depending on your income, you could receive up to $1200.
Additional modifications were proposed to how the “assistance holdback” amount is calculated for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). The goal of these modifications is to help RDSP beneficiaries who become ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit after 50 years of age.
Indirect Tax Changes
GST/HST changes impacting digital platforms were included in the update. They will be applicable as of July 1, 2021:
Foreign-based companies that sell digital products or services in Canada must collect and remit GST or HST on their taxable sales. Also, foreign vendors or digital platform operators with goods for sale via Canadian fulfillment warehouses must collect and remit GST/HST.
Short-term rental accommodation booked via a digital platform must charge GST/HST on their booking. The GST/HST rate will be based on the province or territory where the short-term accommodation is located.
And some good news on a GST/HST removal! As of December 6, and until further notice, the government will not charge GST/HST on eligible face masks and face shields.
A lot of changes came out of the fall update – and you may be feeling overwhelmed. But help is at hand!
Contact us to learn more about how these changes could impact your personal and business finances.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) $20,000 expansion available now
Now that we are reaching the end of the tax year, it’s an excellent time to review your finances. We’ve listed below some of the critical areas to consider and provide you with useful guidelines.
We have divided our tax planning tips into five sections:
Individual tax issues
Family tax issues
Managing your investments
Tax Deadlines for 2020 Savings
December 31, 2020:
If you reached the age of 71 in 2020, you can’t contribute to your RRSP after this date
Use up your TFSA contribution room
Contribute to an RESP to get the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the income-tested Canada Learning Bond (if eligible).
Contribute to an RDSP to get the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the income-tested Canada Disability Savings Bond (if eligible).
Investment counsel fees, interest and other expenses relating to investments
Some payments for child and spousal support
Fees for union and professional memberships
Student loan interest payments
Deductible legal fees
January 30, 2021
Interest on intra-family loans
The interest you must pay on employer loans to reduce your taxable benefit
March 1, 2021
Contributions to provincial labour-sponsored venture capital corporations
RRSP Repayment under Home Buyers Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan
Deductible contributions to a personal or spousal RRSP
Individual Tax Issues
To help Canadians deal with financial hardships due to job loss because of COVID-19, the Canadian government introduced several benefit programs. If you received any of these benefits, you should be aware of the tax ramifications.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was the first benefit program issued by the government and ran until September 26, 2020. If you received the CERB at all during 2020, the government will issue you at T4A, showing how much money you received from the CERB program. You must then declare that as income when filing your 2020 income tax return. Since no tax was taken off at the source, be sure to put aside money to pay for potential income taxes on your CERB income.
As of September 27, 2020, the government offered three replacement benefit programs:
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) This is for people impacted by COVID-19 who work but are not eligible for EI (e.g. self-employed).
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) This is for people who are employed cannot work due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid sick leave.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) This is for people who must miss work to care for a family member who has COVID-19.
For all three of these programs, the government will be withholding 10% in taxes upfront, but you may end up owing extra tax, depending on the rest of your income for 2020, so it’s important to set extra money aside for taxes.
Also, there is a unique condition for the CRB only. If you make over $38,000 in 2020 (excluding the CRB), you will have to pay back the CRB at a rate of 50 cents for each dollar of CRB you earned above the threshold.
If you paid interest on an eligible student loan in 2020, you can claim a non-refundable tax credit in the amount of interest you paid by December 31. In addition, you should be aware that student loan payments were frozen for six months – from March 30 to September 30. No interest accrued on student loans during that period.
Family Tax Issues
Check your eligibility for the Canada Child Benefit
(CCB) To receive the Canada Child Benefit in 2021/22, you need to file your tax returns for 2020 as the benefit is calculated using your family income from the previous year. Eligibility for the CCB depends on set criteria such as your family’s income, how many children you have, and how old they are. You may qualify for a full or partial amount, depending on whether you have full custody or shared custody.
Consider family income splitting
The CRA offers a prescribed low-interest rate on family loans. Therefore, it makes sense to consider setting up an income splitting loan arrangement with your family members. If you do this, you can potentially lock in a family loan at a low-interest rate of 1% and then invest the borrowed money into a higher return investment while benefitting from your family member’s lower tax status. Don’t forget to adhere to the Tax on Split Income rules.
Managing Your Investments
Use up your TFSA contribution room
If you can, it’s worth contributing the full $6,000 to your TFSA for 2020. You can also contribute more (up to $69,500) if you are 29 or older and haven’t made any previous TFSA contributions.
Contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a savings plan for parents and others to save for a child’s education. The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) will match up to 20% of your contributions up to a maximum of $2,500.
That means the CESG can add a maximum of $500 to an RESP each year. The grant room accumulates until your child turns 17. Therefore, any unused CESG amounts for the current year are automatically carried forward for possible use in the future years.
The income-tested Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is paid directly to a child’s RESP by the Canadian government to low-income families. No personal contributions are required to receive the CLB.
Contribute to a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a savings plan for parents and others to save for the financial security of a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). The government will pay a matching Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) up to 300% – depending on the beneficiary’s adjusted family net income and amount contributed.
Also, low-income Canadians with disabilities may be eligible for a Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB). If you qualify, it will be paid directly to your RDSP.
The government will pay matching grants or bonds into the RSDP up to and including the end of the year the recipient turns 49. Be aware that there is a 10-year carry-forward of CDSG and CDSB entitlements.
Donate securities to charity
Donating by year-end will provide you with tax savings. If you donate eligible securities or mutual funds, capital gains tax does not apply, and you can receive a tax receipt for their full market value. Also, the charity gets the full value of the securities.
Think about selling any investments with unrealized capital losses
It might be worth doing this before year-end to apply the loss against any net capital gains achieved during the last three years. The last trading date for 2020 for Canadian and US publicly traded stocks will be Tuesday December 29th in order to record the gain or loss in the 2020 taxation year.
Conversely, if you have investments with unrealized capital gains that cannot be offset with capital losses, it may be worth selling them after 2020 to be taxed on the income the following year.
Consider the timing of purchasing of certain non-registered investments
Suppose you are considering purchasing an interest-bearing investment like a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) with a maturity date of one year or more. In that case, you may consider delaying the purchase to the following year, so you don’t have to pay tax on accrued interest until 2021. You should also consider this with mutual funds that make taxable distributions before the end of 2020, consider delaying this until early 2021. Don’t pay taxes earlier than necessary.
Check if you have investments in a corporation
The new passive investment income rules apply to tax years from 2018 onwards. They state that the small business deduction is reduced for companies with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. Therefore, the small business deduction has entirely stopped for corporations that earn a passive investment income of more than $150,000.
Note – At a provincial level, both Ontario and New Brunswick do not follow the federal rules to limit access to the small business deduction.
Make the most of your RRSP
The deadline for making contributions to your RRSP for the year 2020 is March 1, 2021. The deduction limit for 2020 is limited to 18% of the income you earned in 2020, to a maximum of $27,230. This maximum amount is impacted by the following:
Any pension adjustment
Any previous unused RRSP contribution room
Any pension adjustment reversal.
Remember that deducting your RRSP contribution reduces your after-tax cost of making said contribution.
Check when your RRSP is due to end
If you reach the age of 71 during 2020, you must wind up your RRSP this year. You must make your final contribution to it by December 31, 2020.
Convert to RRIF before year-end
If you turned 65 during 2020 or are already older than 65, you’re entitled to a pension credit that can fully or partly offset the tax on the first $2,000 of eligible income annually. Consider setting up an RRIF before year-end to pay out $2,000 annually if you don’t have any other eligible pension income.
If you have any questions about your taxes for 2020, contact us – we can help you!
For businesses, non-profits and charities facing uncertainty and economic challenges due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada is now taking applications for the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). The CERS delivers direct and targeted rent support without the need to claim assistance through landlords and provides:
up to 65% of rent for businesses, charities and non-profits impacted by COVID-19.
an additional 25% Lockdown Support during a public health lockdown order.
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.
This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.
If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.
To be eligible to receive the rent subsidy, you must meet all four of the following criteria – you:
Meet at least one of these conditions:
You had a CRA business number on September 27, 2020
You had a payroll account on March 15, 2020, or another person or partnership made payroll remittances on your behalf
You purchased the business assets of another person or partnership who meets condition 2 above, and have made an election under the special asset acquisition rules These special asset acquisition rules are the same for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). OR
You meet other prescribed conditions that might be introduced Note: there are no prescribed conditions at this time
If you don’t have a business number but you qualify under condition b or c, you will need to set one up before you are able to apply for CERS. You do not need a payroll account to apply for CERS.
Are an eligible business, charity, or non-profit (eligible entity)
The Key Differences Between a Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Pension Plan
As an employer, you may be thinking about offering your employees a pension plan. If so, you have two main options: a defined benefit pension plan and a defined contribution pension plan. A defined benefit pension plan offers your employees a set amount of money when they retire, whereas a defined contribution pension plan does not.
There are four key areas you should be aware of for pension plans:
We will walk you through each of these to help give you a better understanding of the differences between the two types of pension plans.
In a defined benefit pension plan, both you, the employer, and the employee will contribute to the pension plan. The amount that you will have to contribute each year will depend on what kind of expenses the pension plan has, and the amount of funding it will require that year.
In a defined contribution pension plan, employees contribute a set amount each year into their pension. As an employer, you can choose to match or “top up” their contributions to a set amount that you define in advance.
For both types of plans, contributions are tax-deductible for the employee.
As an employer, you or your pension plan administrator will be responsible for managing the funds in a defined benefit pension plan. This applies whether the employee is actively contributing to the fund or has retired and is receiving funds from it.
With a defined contribution pension plan, you can let your employees choose how they want to invest their funds. This provides your employees with more flexibility and choice and takes the responsibility off you as the employer to manage pension funds. You will still need to arrange to have a selection of funds for your employees to select from.
In a defined benefit pension plan, an actuary will work with you (approximately every three years) to calculate how much money you will need to cover the pension expenses. The actuary must consider everything from cost of living adjustments to how many employees will be retiring.
In a defined contribution plan, the costs will be lower as less active management is required. Employees will receive whatever amount their investments are worth when they retire.
Both types of pension plans will help attract and retain employees. Since a defined benefit plan builds in value each year, it is more likely to attract employees interested in staying with your company for a long time. A defined contribution plan will still attract employees – but the pension will be less appealing than a defined benefit plan would be.
A defined benefit plan will cost you more to set up, maintain, and administer, but offers your employees more stability in their retirement. A defined contribution plan will give you and your employees more flexibility and cost you less to run.
Either type of plan will help you attract and retain employees.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is now open for applications.
As described on the Canada.ca website, the CRB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
This program replaces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and, if eligible, provides $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
To be eligible for the CRB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 2-week period you are applying for:
During the period you’re applying for:
you were not working for reasons related to COVID-19 OR
you had a 50% reduction in your average weekly income compared to the previous year due to COVID-19
You did not apply for or receive any of the following:
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
short-term disability benefits
workers’ compensation benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
You were not eligible for EI benefits
You reside in Canada
You were present in Canada
You are at least 15 years old
You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:
employment income (total or gross pay)
net self-employment income (after deducting expenses)
maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits
You have not quit your job or reduced your hours voluntarily on or after September 27, 2020, unless it was reasonable to do so
You were seeking work during the period, either as an employee or in self-employment
You have not turned down reasonable work during the 2-week period you’re applying for
You need all of the above to be eligible for the CRB.