For many Canadians the majority of their wealth is held in personally owned real estate. For most this will be limited to their principal residence, however, investment in recreational and real estate investment property also forms a substantial part of some estates. Due to the nature of real estate, it is important to utilize estate planning to realize optimum gain and minimize tax implications.
Key Considerations for Real Estate Investment
- Real estate is not a qualifying investment for the purposes of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption.
- Leaving taxable property to a spouse through a spousal rollover in the will defers the tax until the spouse sells the property or dies.
- Apart from the principal residence, real estate often creates a need for liquidity due to capital gains, estate equalization, mortgage repayment or other considerations.
- Professional advice is often required to select the most advantageous ownership structure (i.e. personal, trust, holding company).
On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget. The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children. As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.
Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.
For Seniors and Savers
Increase in Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Limit
- Effective January 1, 2015 the annual contribution limit has been increased from $5,500 to $10,000;
- As a consequence, the automatic indexing of the annual contribution limit has been eliminated;
- On April 24, the CRA announced that even though this provision is not law as yet, they will allow increased deposits to a TFSA effective immediately.
Tax time is almost upon us and there are some recent changes which will affect many Canadian residents. The important changes to keep in mind are as follows:
The Family Tax Cut
This is the watered down version of income splitting plan that was introduced by the Harper government in 2011. The provisions allow couples with children under the age of 18 living with them to shift income from a higher income spouse to a lower income spouse so that the combined taxes payable will be reduced. The most that can be taxed in the lower-income spouse’s hands is $50,000 resulting in a federal non-refundable tax credit which will provide maximum savings of $2,000. Read more