Estate Planning for Blended Families

Blended families – where two people get married but have children from previous relationships – are becoming more common. It can be challenging enough to take care of the everyday logistics; from where to live to making sure everyone gets along. So trying to make sure you properly take of estate planning often doesn’t get taken care of.

In most families – blended or not – spouses leave everything to each other. Then, when the surviving spouse dies, the remainder is divided amongst all of the children. The problem with this setup is that there is no guarantee that the surviving spouse will not remarry and inadvertently disinherit the deceased’s children.

To make sure that everyone is treated fairly, it’s essential to consider how to handle each of the following estate planning issues for blended families:

  • Sharing the Family Home
  • Make the Most of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan
  • How to Share Non-Registered Investments and Other Assets
  • Why It’s Important to Select a Good Trustee
  • The Advantages of Life Insurance for Blended Family Estate Planning

It’s essential to have a full discussion with your spouse and children to avoid misunderstandings and reduce uncertainty. But you don’t have to do it alone! We can provide you with tailored solutions to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Sharing The Family Home

This can be challenging, depending on whether the blended family moves into a new home or into a house one spouse already owns. An option to consider is that the spouse who is moving into the home already owned by the other spouse can then purchase an interest in the family home. If this occurs, each spouse can own the home as tenants-in-common, enabling them to manage their interest in the house separately.

When it comes time for each spouse to draw up a will, provisions can be made for the surviving spouse to remain in the home until the time of their choosing (or death) before passing on the interest to their respective children.

Make the Most of a Registered Retirement Savings Plans

The best way to take advantage of the tax-free rollover from an RRSP is for each spouse to name each other the beneficiary. While it may be tempting to leave your RRSP to your estate or one or more of your children, this can have ramifications. If you leave it to your estate, it will have to go through probate and also be taxed. If you leave it an adult child, the RRSP won’t have to go through probate, but the entire RRSP will be considered taxable to the deceased in the year of death.

How to Share Non-Registered Investments and Other Assets

You can set up your estate planning so that your spouse can benefit from income-producing assets during their lifetime, without necessarily impacting the capital in those assets. Your children can then benefit from them after your spouse dies.

Each spouse can set up a spousal testamentary trust to contain their income-producing investments and assets. The surviving spouse will then receive all the income from the trust and the option to access the capital for specific needs (if specified in the trust). After the surviving spouse dies, the assets will pass to whoever was identified as the trust’s inheritors. You can make the inheritors your children. This ensures that both your spouse and your children are taken care of.

Why It’s Important to Select a Good Trustee

Trusts are a vital part of effective estate planning for blended families. This means that it’s critical to pick the right trustee – as they will control and manage the assets of the deceased’s estate as outlined in the deceased’s will. You may even want to consider multiple trustees or the services of a trust company. A strong but neutral trustee will help ensure that your wishes are followed without causing fighting amongst family members.

Advantages of Life Insurance for Blended Family Estate Planning

There are several advantages to using life insurance policies as part of your estate planning for blended families:

  • The death benefit is tax-free. You can have it paid out in cash directly or create trusts, so the capital goes to your spouse while they live and your children after your spouse dies.
  • Since you can name the beneficiary, you can control who inherits the proceeds. It’s not considered part of the will, so it cannot be included in any wills variation action (more commonly known as challenging the will).
  • If one spouse enters the marriage with significantly more wealth than the other, life insurance can help create a fair division of assets.

The Takeaway

No matter what choices you make about estate planning for your blended family, you must communicate openly and honestly with everyone in the family. This will help ensure that everyone is aware of the state of affairs and reduces misunderstandings and uncertainty about what the future may hold for everyone in the family.

Using professional advice while you are estate planning for blended families can help you create a solution that satisfies both spouses and their respective children’s objectives. Reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about your estate planning – I’m here to help!

Stay Ahead in 2024: A Comprehensive Checklist for Federal Tax Updates

With the upcoming 2024 Canadian tax rule changes, it’s important to review your financial strategies. We’ve identified the key changes that we expect to influence financial decisions for investors, business owners, incorporated professionals, retirees, and individuals with high income or net worth.


Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

Starting on June 25, 2024, the tax on capital gains is changing. Until now, you would only have to include half of your capital gains in your income for tax purposes. But after that date, you’ll have to include two-thirds of any capital gains over $250,000 on your tax return. This is also the case for employee stock options. 

Consequently, for corporations and trusts, they will have to include two-thirds of all their capital gains, no matter the amount. This is a significant change. 


Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE)

The budget proposes increasing the LCGE for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. This change increases tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.


Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, suggesting revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.


Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met. 


Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

This new tax measure offers a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years. However, it’s important to know that not all businesses qualify—this doesn’t apply to businesses in professional services, finance, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care.

Below is a checklist to help you navigate the tax adjustments and ensure your financial plans are updated and aligned with the new rules.


Investors

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate.

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Employee Stock Options: Adjust the timing of exercising stock options to align with the upcoming changes in inclusion rates.


Business Owners:

  • Corporate Investments: Assess the impact of increased inclusion rates on corporately held assets, exploring the timing of gains realization. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption: Maximize the benefits of the increased LCGE for qualifying business assets.

  • Employee Ownership Trust: Consider the advantages of transferring business ownership via an EOT.

  • Succession Planning: Update your succession plans to consider the potential impact of capital gains tax changes.

  • Entrepreneurs Incentive: Check if you are eligible to reduce capital gains taxes. 


Incorporated Professionals:

  • Investments: Assess both personal and corporate investments for the new inclusion rate. Determine the most tax-effective structure for holding and realizing gains from investments.

  • Succession Planning: Time the potential sale of your professional corporation to capitalize on the current LCGE.


Retirees:

  • Estate Planning: Update estate plans considering the impending increase in capital gains rates.

  • Life Insurance Coverage: Ensure life insurance is adequate to cover increased capital gains tax liabilities upon death.

  • Non-Registered Investments and Retirement Income: Review your strategy for non-registered investments to manage taxes on gains and adjust your retirement income plans to accommodate the upcoming changes in capital gains rates.


Individuals with High Income or Net Worth: 

  • Investments: Evaluate portfolios to identify where capital gains can be realized under the current lower inclusion rate. Review trust-held investments. 

  • Investment Property: Consider advancing the sale of such properties to benefit from the existing capital gains rate.

  • Estate Planning: Revise plans to address potential increases in capital gains taxes, ensuring estates are structured for tax efficiency.

  • Charitable Contributions: Align your charitable giving strategies with the new tax benefits and AMT considerations.

Please reach out to us to review your financial strategy together and ensure it aligns with the upcoming changes. 

2024 Federal Budget Highlights

On April 16, 2024, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, presented the federal budget.

While there are no changes to federal personal or corporate tax rates, the budget introduces:

  • An increase in the portion of capital gains subject to tax, rising from 50% to 66.67%, starting June 25, 2024. However, individual gains up to $250,000 annually will retain the 50% rate.

  • The lifetime exemption limit for capital gains has been raised to $1.25 million. Additionally, a new one-third inclusion rate is set for up to $2 million in capital gains for entrepreneurs.

  • The budget confirms the alternative minimum tax changes planned for January 1, 2024 but lessens their impact on charitable contributions.

  • This year’s budget emphasizes making housing more affordable. It provides incentives for building rental properties specifically designed for long-term tenants.

  • Introduces new support measures to aid people buying their first homes.

  • Costs for specific patents and tech equipment and software can now be written off immediately.

  • Canada carbon rebate for small business.

Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

The budget suggests raising the inclusion rate on capital gains after June 24, 2024:

  • Corporations and trusts, from 50% to 66.67%.

  • Individuals, on capital gains over $250,000 annually, also from 50% to 66.67%.

For individuals, the $250,000 annual threshold that applies to net capital gains—the amount remaining after offsetting any capital losses. This includes gains acquired directly by an individual or indirectly through entities such as partnerships or trusts. Essentially, this threshold acts as a deductible, considering various factors to determine the net gains eligible for the increased capital gains tax rate.

Individuals in the highest income bracket, who earn above the top marginal tax rate threshold, will face a higher tax rate on capital gains exceeding $250,000 due to these changes. Furthermore, the budget modifies the tax deduction for employee stock options to align with the updated capital gains taxation rates yet maintains the initial 50% deduction for the first $250,000 in gains. Regarding previously incurred financial losses, the budget plans to adjust the value of these net capital losses from past years so that they are consistent with the current gains, upholding the uniformity with the new inclusion rate.

The budget outlines transitional rules for the upcoming tax year that straddles the implementation date of the new capital gains rates. If the tax year begins before June 25, 2024, but ends afterward, capital gains realized before June 25 will be taxed at the existing rate of 50%. However, gains accrued after June 24, 2024, will be subject to the increased rate of 66.67%. It’s important to note that the new $250,000 threshold for higher tax rates will only apply to gains made after June 24.

Consequently, for individuals earning capital gains beyond the $250,000 threshold and who fall into the highest income tax bracket, new rates will be effective as outlined in the table below. Specifically, this pertains to individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $355,845 in Alberta, $252,752 in British Columbia, $1,103,478 in Newfoundland and Labrador, $500,000 in the Yukon, and $246,752 in all other regions.

Further details and guidance on these new rules are expected to be provided in future announcements.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption

The budget proposes raising the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) for qualified capital gains from $1,016,836 to $1.25 million, effective for sales made after June 24, 2024. Additionally, the exemption will once again be adjusted for inflation starting in 2026. This change aims to increase the tax benefits for individuals selling certain types of property, such as small business shares or farming and fishing assets.

Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive

The Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive is a new tax measure which provides a reduced inclusion rate on capital gains from the disposition of qualifying small business shares.

Qualifications for the incentive include:

  • Shares must be of a small business corporation directly owned by an individual.

  • For 24 months before selling, over half the corporation’s assets must be actively used in a Canadian business or be certain connected assets.

  • The seller needs to be a founding investor who held the shares for at least five years.

  • The seller must have been actively involved in the business continuously for five years.

  • The seller must have owned a significant voting share throughout the subscription period.

  • The incentive does not apply to shares linked to professional services, financial, real estate, hospitality, arts, entertainment, or personal care services sectors.

  • The shares must have been acquired at their fair market value.

  • The incentive allows for a reduced inclusion rate of 1/3 for up to $2 million in capital gains during an individual’s lifetime, with this limit being phased in over 10 years.

This measure will apply to dispositions after December 31, 2024.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The 2023 budget included updates to the AMT, with proposed changes outlined in the summer of 2023. The budget suggests revising the charitable donation tax credit for AMT calculations, increasing the claimable amount from 50% to 80%.

Further proposed changes to the AMT include:

  • Permitting deductions for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, social assistance, and workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Exempting employee ownership trusts (EOTs) entirely from AMT.

  • Allowing certain tax credits, like federal political contributions, investment tax credits (ITCs), and labour-sponsored funds tax credit, to be carried forward if disallowed under the AMT.

These changes would take effect for tax years beginning after December 31, 2023. Additionally, the budget proposes technical amendments that would exempt specific trusts benefiting Indigenous groups from the AMT.

Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) Tax Exemption

The budget proposes a tax exemption on up to $10 million in capital gains for individuals selling their businesses to an EOT if certain criteria are met:

  • Sale of shares must be from a non-professional corporation.

  • The seller, or their spouse or common-law partner, must have been actively involved in the business for at least two years prior to the sale.

  • The business shares must have been solely owned by the seller or a related person or partnership for two years before the sale, and mainly used in active business.

  • At least 90% of the EOT’s beneficiaries must be Canadian residents after the sale.

  • If multiple sellers are involved, they must jointly decide how to divide the $10 million exemption

  • If the EOT doesn’t maintain its status or if the business assets used in active business drop below 50% at any point within 36 months after the sale, the tax exemption may be revoked.

  • For Alternative Minimum Tax purposes, the exempted gains will face a 30% inclusion rate.

  • The normal reassessment period for the exemption is extended by three years.

  • The measure now also covers the sale of shares to a worker cooperative corporation.

This exemption is valid for sales occurring from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2026.

Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

The budget proposes enhancements to the HBP for 2024 and beyond, effective for withdrawals after April 16, 2024. These include:

  • Raising the RRSP withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000 to support first-time homebuyers and purchases for those with disabilities.

  • Extending the grace period before repayment starts from two to five years for withdrawals made between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2025, deferring the start of the repayment period and thereby providing new homeowners additional time before they need to commence repayments

Interest Deductions and Purpose-Built Rental Housing

The budget proposes a selective exemption from the Excessive Interest and Financing Expenses Limitation (EIFEL) rules for certain interest and financing expenses related to arm’s length financing. This exemption is for the construction or purchase of eligible purpose-built rental housing in Canada and applies to expenses incurred before January 1, 2036. To qualify, the housing must be a residential complex with either at least four private apartment units, each with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living areas, or 10 private rooms or suites. Additionally, at least 90% of the units must be designated for long-term rental. This exemption will be effective for tax years starting on or after October 1, 2023, in line with the broader EIFEL regulations.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) – Purpose built rental housing

The budget introduces an accelerated CCA of 10% for new rental projects that start construction between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2030, and are completed by December 31, 2035. This accelerated depreciation applies to projects that convert commercial properties into residential complexes or expand existing residential buildings that meet specific criteria under the EIFEL rules. However, it does not cover renovations to existing residential complexes.

Additionally, these investments will benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive, which allows for immediate depreciation deductions for properties put into use before 2028. Starting in 2028, the regular depreciation rules, including the half-year rule, will apply.

Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)- Productivity-enhancing assets

The budget introduces immediate expensing for newly acquired properties that become operational between April 16, 2024, and December 31, 2026. This applies to specific categories such as:

  • Class 44- Patents and rights to patented information

  • Class 46- Data network infrastructure and related software

  • Class 50- General electronic data-processing equipment and software

Properties that are put into use between 2027 and 2028 will continue to benefit from the Accelerated Investment Incentive.

To qualify for this accelerated depreciation, the property must not have been previously owned by the taxpayer or someone closely connected to them, and it must not have been received as part of a tax-deferred deal. Also, if a tax year is shorter, the depreciation will be adjusted accordingly and will not carry over to the next year.

Canada Carbon Rebate for Small Businesses

The budget introduces a Canada Carbon Rebate for small businesses, offering a new refundable tax credit automatically. To be eligible, a Canadian-controlled private corporation must:

  • File a tax return for its 2023 tax year by July 15, 2024, for the fuel charge years from 2019-20 to 2023-24. For subsequent fuel charge years, it must file a tax return for the tax year that ends within that fuel charge year.

  • Employ 499 or fewer people across Canada during the year that corresponds with the fuel charge year.

The amount of the tax credit for each eligible business will depend on:

  • The province where the company had employees during the fuel charge year.

  • The number of employees in that province multiplied by a rate set by the Minister of Finance for that year.

  • The CRA will automatically calculate and issue the tax credit to qualifying businesses.

We can help!

Wondering how this year’s budget will impact your finances or your business? We can help – give us a call today!

Tax tips to know before filing your 2023 income tax

This year’s tax deadline is April 30, 2024. It’s important to make sure you’re claiming all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for. We’ve separated this article into 2 sections: 

  • What’s new for 2023

  • Individuals and Families

What’s New for 2023

Advanced Canada Workers Benefit (ACWB)

Automatic advance payments of the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) are now seamlessly distributed through the ACWB program to individuals who received the benefit in the last tax year. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who received the CWB in the previous tax year will automatically receive the ACWB payments. Only individuals who filed their 2022 tax return before November 1, 2023, are eligible for the ACWB payments.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the ACWB program eliminates the need to file Form RC201. Recipients are no longer required to fill out this form. Instead, starting in 2023, individuals should report the amounts from their RC210 slip on Schedule 6, Canada Workers Benefit, of their tax return. Additionally, for eligible spouses, the option to claim the basic amount for the CWB is available regardless of who received the RC210 slip.

Deduction for Tools (Tradespersons and Apprentice Mechanics)

Starting in 2023, the maximum employment deduction for eligible tools of tradespersons has risen from $500 to $1,000. Consequently, the threshold for expenses eligible for the apprentice mechanics tools deduction has also been adjusted. 

Temporary Flat Rate Method for Home Office Expenses

For the year 2023, the temporary flat rate method for claiming home office expenses is not applicable. Consequently, taxpayers seeking to claim such expenses for 2023 must utilize the detailed method and obtain a completed Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, from their employer.

Federal, Provincial, and Territorial COVID-19 repayments

Repayments of COVID-19 benefits at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels, made after December 31, 2022, can be deducted and claimed.

First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

The FHSA is a registered plan designed to aid individuals in saving for their first home. Starting April 1, 2023, contributions made to an FHSA are typically deductible, and eligible withdrawals made from an FHSA for purchasing a qualifying home are tax-free. 

Property Flipping

Starting January 1, 2023, any profit generated from the sale of a housing unit (including rental properties) situated in Canada, or a right to acquire a housing unit in Canada, that you owned or held for less than 365 consecutive days prior to its sale is considered business income rather than a capital gain. This is applicable unless the property was already classified as inventory or the sale occurred due to, or in anticipation of specific life events. 

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC)

The MHRTC is a refundable tax credit designed to enable eligible individuals to seek reimbursement for specific renovation expenses incurred in establishing a secondary unit within an eligible dwelling. This enables a qualifying individual to live with their qualifying relative. If eligible, you can claim up to $50,000 in qualifying expenditures for each renovation project completed, with a maximum credit of $7,500 for each eligible claim. 

Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit

The Fuel Charge Proceeds Return to Farmers Tax Credit is now accessible to self-employed farmers and individuals involved in a partnership operating a farming business with one or more permanent establishments located in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, or Saskatchewan. If eligible, you may be entitled to a refund of a portion of your fuel charge proceeds. 

For Individuals and Families

Canada Training Credit (CTC)

The CTC is a refundable tax credit available to help Canadians with the cost of eligible training fees.

To qualify for the CTC, you need to fill out Schedule 11 for the following:

  1. Tuition fees and other applicable fees paid to an eligible educational institution in Canada for courses taken in 2023.

  2. Fees paid to specific organizations for occupational, trade, or professional examinations undertaken in 2023.

To be eligible for the CTC, you must meet all these conditions:

  • You resided in Canada for the entire year of 2023.

  • You were at least 26 years old but less than 66 years old at the end of the year.

  • Your most recent notice of assessment or reassessment for 2022 shows a Canada Training Credit Limit for 2023.

Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC)

The CCC is a non-refundable tax credit aimed at assisting individuals who provide support to a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent with a physical or mental impairment, as outlined by the CRA.

You might be eligible for the CCC if you aid:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner dealing with a physical or mental impairment.

  • Dependents such as children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, or nephews residing in Canada, who rely on you for consistent provision of basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

The amount you can claim varies depending on your relationship to the individual, your circumstances, their net income, and whether other credits are claimed for them.

Child Care Expenses

Child care expenses encompass payments made by you or someone else to arrange care for an eligible child. This care allows you to participate in income-earning activities, pursue education, or conduct research funded by a grant.

If you qualify, you can claim certain childcare expenses as deductions when you file your personal income tax return.

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit designed to support individuals with disabilities, or their family members who provide support, by reducing their income tax responsibilities.

To be eligible for this credit, individuals must have a significant and enduring impairment. Once approved, they can apply the credit when filing their taxes.

The DTC aims to ease some of the extra costs linked with the disability by lessening the individual’s income tax burden.

Moving

You can claim moving expenses you paid during the year if you meet these conditions

  • You moved to a new residence for work reasons, to start a business in a different area, or to attend a post-secondary program as a full-time student at a university, college, or other educational institution.

  • Your new residence must be at least 40 kilometres closer, determined by the shortest public route, to your new work location or educational institution.

Interest Paid on Student Loans

You might qualify to claim an amount for the interest paid on your student loan for post-secondary education if it was obtained under the following acts:

  • Canada Student Loans Act

  • Canada Student Financial Assistance Act

  • Apprentice Loans Act

  • Provincial or territorial government laws that are similar to the aforementioned acts.

Only you, or a person related to you, can claim the interest paid on the loan within the tax year 2023 or the preceding 5 years.

Donations and Gifts

When you or your spouse/common-law partner donate to eligible institutions, you might be eligible for federal and provincial/territorial non-refundable tax credits when you file your income tax and benefit return.

Normally, you can claim a portion or the full eligible donation amount, capped at 75% of your net income for the tax year.

Seeking guidance?

Wondering if you qualify for valuable tax credits or deductions? Reach out to us – as your financial advisor, we’re here to assist you in optimizing your finances and maximizing your savings.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/whats-new.html

Canada Training Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-45350-canada-training-credit.html

Canada Caregiver Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html

Child Care Expense: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21400-child-care-expenses.html

Disability Tax Credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

Moving: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-21900-moving-expenses.html

Interest Paid on Student Loans: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-31900-interest-paid-on-your-student-loans.html

Donations and Gifts: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-34900-donations-gifts.html

Empowering Your Family’s Financial Future: A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting

Taking charge of your family’s financial well-being through effective budgeting is a crucial step in securing a brighter future. We’ll explore the significance of budgeting and provide practical tips to help you manage your money wisely while ensuring the best possible support for your loved ones, including those with disabilities and their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Why Budgeting Matters for Families

Budgeting is a powerful financial tool that holds importance for all families:

  1. Financial Clarity: It offers a clear overview of your family’s income and expenses, helping you make informed decisions about allocating funds.

  2. Goal Achievement: Budgeting helps you allocate funds not only for your loved one’s RDSP but also for other family financial goals, such as saving for education or a home.

  3. Expense Control: It identifies areas where you can cut back on expenses, freeing up money for your family’s financial priorities.

  4. Debt Reduction: By tracking spending, you can allocate extra funds to pay down debt faster, ensuring your family’s financial stability.

  5. Emergency Preparedness: A budget provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, which can be especially critical for families with additional financial responsibilities.

Steps to Effective Budgeting for Families

  1. Calculate Income: Determine your total monthly income, including salaries, government benefits, and any disability-related support for your loved one.

  2. List Expenses: Categorize expenses into fixed (e.g., housing, utilities) and variable (e.g., groceries, entertainment).

  3. Set Financial Goals: Define short-term and long-term financial goals for your family, ensuring that your loved one’s RDSP contributions are part of the plan.

  4. Create a Budget: Use budgeting tools or apps to allocate income to expenses, savings, and financial goals without exceeding your income.

  5. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly track spending against your budget, making necessary adjustments to ensure your family’s financial health.

Tips for Successful Budgeting

  1. Be Realistic: Set achievable goals and create a budget that accommodates your family’s unique needs, including the financial responsibilities associated with the RDSP.

  2. Prioritize Savings: Ensure that contributing to your loved one’s RDSP is a top financial priority, but don’t forget to save for other family goals too.

  3. Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, which can benefit all family members.

  4. Review and Cut Expenses: Periodically review expenses to find areas where you can save and allocate more funds to your family’s financial priorities.

  5. Pay Yourself First: Treat savings, including RDSP contributions, as non-negotiable expenses, just like other essential bills.

  6. Seek Professional Advice: Consult a financial advisor who specializes in disability-related financial planning for tailored guidance.

Budgeting is your family’s pathway to financial security and ensuring a brighter financial future. By budgeting wisely and prioritizing your loved one’s financial well-being, you can control your family’s finances, reduce stress, and work towards a future filled with financial peace of mind. Remember, financial success for families means making informed choices that align with your values and aspirations. Start budgeting today to achieve financial wellness for your entire family, balancing the needs of all family members, including those who rely on the support of the RDSP.

Why Insurance Is So Important If You’re A Single Parent

Why Insurance Is So Important If You’re A Single Parent

Your kids mean everything to you – and you want to make sure they’re protected no matter what. As a single parent, you must have the right health and life insurance options in place to make that happen. We recommend you consider all of the following types of insurance:

  • Disability insurance

  • Critical illness insurance

  • Accident insurance

  • Life insurance

Disability insurance

Disability insurance can provide you with an income if you become disabled and cannot work – whether it’s for a short period of time or a long one.

Most workplaces offer disability coverage, but it’s tied to that particular job, so you’ll lose coverage if you leave that job. As well, the coverage from your employer’s plan may not be sufficient to cover your needs if you become disabled.

It’s particularly important for you to look into disability insurance if you work as a contractor or have a job with no benefits.

Critical illness insurance

Critical illness insurance can help you pay for the costs associated with various serious medical issues (such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke) that aren’t covered by any other health plans or disability insurance. As a single parent, you may find the payout from a critical illness insurance policy especially helpful for paying for extra childcare or lost income if you cannot work.

Accident insurance

Life is getting busier than ever – and there are more and more of us on the roads. Unfortunately, more people on the roads mean more accidents. If you buy accident insurance for yourself or your children, the payout from the policy can bring in some extra income at a critical time of need if any of you are in an accident. You can use an accident insurance payout to help pay for anything from lost income to private home care.

Life insurance

Life insurance is critical as a single parent as your children are dependent on your income. Generally, we suggest that you get a policy that is worth at least 10 times your annual income, but you may need more if you have a lot of debt or you need the money to last a long time.

Your children should be the beneficiaries of your policy and you can name a trustee (such as a grandparent or other relative) to look after the money on your children’s behalf until they reach a specified age.

We can help!

If you have questions about what kind of insurance is best for you, we’re happy to answer them! We’ll walk you through all your options and put together an insurance package that’s just right for you. Call us today!

Federal Budget 2023 Highlights

On March 28, 2023, the Federal Government released their 2032 budget. This article highlights the following financial measures:

  • New transfer options associated with Bill C-208 for intergenerational transfer.

  • New rules for employee ownership trusts.

  • Changes to how the Alternative Minimum Tax is calculated.

  • Improvements to Registered Education Savings Plans.

  • Expanding access to Registered Disability Savings Plans.

  • Grocery rebate.

  • Deduction for tradespeople tool expenses.

  • Automatic tax filing.

  • New Canadian Dental Care Plan.

Amendments To Bill C-208 Intergenerational Transfer Introduces Two New Transfer Options

Budget 2023 introduces two transfer options associated with the intergenerational transfer of a business:

  1. An immediate intergenerational business transfer (three-year test) based on arm’s length sales terms.

  2. A gradual intergenerational business transfer (five-to-ten-year test) based on estate freeze characteristics.

For the three-year test, the parent must transfer both legal and factual control of the business, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. The parent must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares within the same time frame. Additionally, the parent must transfer management of the business to their child within a reasonable time, with a 36-month safe harbour. The child or children must retain legal control for 36 months following the share transfer, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

For the gradual transfer option, the conditions are similar to the immediate transfer, but with a few differences. The parent must transfer legal control, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. They must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares and the balance of common growth shares within the same time frame. As well, within 10 years of the initial sale, parents must reduce the economic value of their debt and equity interests in the business to 50% of the value of their interest in a farm or fishing corporation at the initial sale time, or 30% of the value of their interest in a small business corporation at the initial sale time. The child or children must retain legal control for the greater of 60 months or until the business transfer is completed, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

The extended intergenerational transfer now applies to children, grandchildren, stepchildren, children-in-law, nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

The changes apply to transactions that occur on or after January 1, 2024. If the election is made, the capital gain reserve period is extended to ten years, and the limitation period for assessing a return is extended to three years for an immediate transfer and ten years for a gradual business transfer.

New Rules for Employee Ownership Trusts

The employees of a business can use an employee ownership trust (EOT) to purchase the business without having to pay the owner directly to acquire shares. Business owners can use an EOT as part of their succession planning.

Budget 2023 introduces new rules for using ownership trusts (EOTs) as follows:

  • Extending the five-year capital gains reserve to ten years for qualifying business transfers to an EOT.

  • A new exception to the current shareholder loan rule which extends the repayment period from one to fifteen years for amounts loaned to the EOT from a qualifying business to purchase shares in a qualifying business transfer.

  • Exempts EOTs from the 21-year deemed disposition rule that applies to some trusts. This means that shares can be held indefinitely for the benefit of employees.

Clean Energy Credits

The upcoming Budget 2023 is set to introduce a series of measures aimed at encouraging the adoption of clean energy. These measures include several business tax incentives such as:

  1. Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit: This is a refundable tax credit of 15% for investments in equipment and activities for generating electricity and transmitting it between provinces. The credit will be available to new and refurbished projects starting from March 28, 2023, and will end in 2034.

  2. Clean Technology Manufacturing Credit: This tax credit is worth 30% of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment for processing or manufacturing clean technologies and critical minerals. It applies to property acquired and put into use after January 1, 2024. The credit will be phased out starting in 2032 and fully eliminated in 2034.

  3. Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit: It offers a refundable tax credit ranging from 15% to 40% of eligible project expenses that produce clean hydrogen, as well as a 15% tax credit for certain equipment.

  4. Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit: This tax credit will be expanded to include geothermal systems that qualify for capital cost allowance under Classes 43.1 and 43.2. The phase-out will begin in 2034, and it will not be available after that date.

  5. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Investment Tax Credit (CCUS): The budget broadens and adjusts specific criteria for the refundable Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for CCUS. Qualified equipment now includes dual-purpose machinery that generates heat and/or power or utilizes water for CCUS and an additional process, as long as it meets all other requirements for the credit. The expense of such equipment is eligible on a proportionate basis, based on the anticipated energy or material balance supporting the CCUS process during the project’s initial 20 years.

  6. Reduced rates for zero-emission technology manufacturers: The reduced tax rates of 4.5% and 7.5% for zero-emission technology manufacturers will be extended for three years until 2034, with phase-out starting in 2032. The eligibility will expand to include the manufacturing of nuclear energy equipment and processing and recycling of nuclear fuels and heavy water for taxation years starting after 2023.

  7. Lithium from brines: Allow producers of lithium from brines to issue flow-through shares and expand the Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit’s eligibility to include lithium from brines.

Changes To How Alternative Minimum Tax Is Calculated

Budget 2023 proposed several changes to calculating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), including the following:

  • The capital gains inclusion rate will increase from 80 percent to 100 percent, while capital losses and allowable business investment losses will apply at a rate of 50 percent.

  • The inclusion rate for employee stock option benefits will be altered to 100 percent, and for capital gains resulting from the donation of publicly listed securities, it will be modified to 30 percent.

  • The 30 percent inclusion rate will also apply to employee stock option benefits if any deduction is available because underlying shares are also publicly listed securities that were donated.

  • Certain deductions and expenses will now be limited to 50 percent, and only 50 percent of non-refundable credits (excluding a special foreign tax credit) will be permitted to reduce the AMT.

  • The AMT tax rate will increase from 15 percent to 20.5 percent.

  • The AMT exemption will rise from the present allowable deduction of $40,000 for individuals to an amount indexed to the fourth tax bracket, expected to be $173,000 in 2024.

  • The AMT carryforward period will remain unaltered at seven years.

Improving Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)

Budget 2023 introduces the following changes to RESPs:

  • As of March 28, 2023, beneficiaries may withdraw Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) up to $8,000 (from $5,000) for full-time programs and $4,000 (from $2,500) for part-time programs.

  • Individuals who withdrew EAPs before March 28, 2023, may be able to withdraw an additional EAP amount, subject to the new limits and the plan terms.

  • Divorced or separated parents can now open joint RESPs for one or more of their children.

Expanding Access to Registered Disability Savings Plans

Qualifying family members, such as a parent, a spouse, or a common-law partner, can open an RDSP and be the plan holder for an adult with mental disabilities whose ability to enter into an RDSP contract is in doubt and who does not have a legal representative.

Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to extend the provision that allows this until December 31, 2026. To further increase access to RDSPs, the government also intends to expand the provision to include adult siblings of an RDSP beneficiary.

Grocery Rebate

The Budget 2023 will implement the Grocery Rebate, which will be a one-time payment managed through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) system. The maximum amount that can be claimed under the Grocery Rebate is:

  • $153 for each adult

  • $81 for each child

  • $81 for a single supplement.

The implementation of the Grocery Rebate will be gradual and will follow the same income thresholds as the present GSTC regulations.

Deduction for Tradespeople’s Tool Expenses

Budget 2023 increases the employment deduction for tradespeople’s tools to $1,000 from $500. This is effective for 2023 and subsequent taxation years.

Automatic Tax Filing

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will pilot a new automatic filing service for Canadians who currently do not file their taxes to help them receive certain benefits to which they are entitled.

The CRA also plans to expand taxpayer eligibility for the File My Return service, which allows taxpayers to file their tax returns by telephone.

Canadian Dental Care Plan

In Budget 2023, the federal government is investing in dental care for Canadians with the new Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family incomes of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those under $70,000.

The budget allows the CRA to share taxpayer information for the Canadian Dental Care Plan with an official of Employment and Social Development Canada or Health Canada solely to administer or enforce the plan.

Wondering How This May Impact You?

If you have any questions or concerns about how the new federal budget may impact you, call us – we’d be happy to help you!

Alberta 2023 Budget Highlights

On February 28, 2023, the Alberta Minister of Finance announced Alberta’s 2023 budget. We’ve highlighted the most important things you need to know about this budget.

No Changes To Corporate or Personal Tax Rates

Budget 2023 does not include any changes to the province’s corporate tax rates or personal tax rates.

Tax Credits

The budget confirms that the government will introduce a new Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit. This provides a 12% non-refundable tax credit on eligible capital investments of at least $10 million made on or after February 7, 2023, and unused credits can be carried forward for ten years.

The maximum allowable expenses for the Adoption Expenses Tax Credit have been increased to $18,210.

Lowered Education Property Tax

The budget decreases the mill rates used to calculate the education property tax as follows:

• Residential or farmland — $2.56 (down from $2.65) per $1,000 of equalized assessment

• Non-residential — $3.76 (down from $3.90) per $1,000 of equalized assessment.

Investments In Education, Tourism and Infrastructure

Budget 2023 makes the following investments in education, tourism and infrastructure:

  • Post-secondary education will be more affordable for students as Budget 2023 introduces reduced loan rates (to prime from the current prime plus one percent and extended repayment grace periods (now extended from six months to one year). Tuition increases will be capped at two percent as of Fall 2024.

  • $10 million over two years is committed to promoting rural tourism.

  • An $800 million investment will be made to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support green technology.

  • Alberta’s road and bridge network, a crucial element of its expanding economy, will receive funding of $2.3 billion over a three-year period for vital projects and programs aimed at its enhancement and expansion.

We can help!

Need help determining the impact of this year’s budget on your finances or business? Give us a call today!

Estate Planning for Young Families

Having a family is a blessing and can also bring a lot of worry. A lot of this worry can stem from not being prepared for a disaster like if something were to happen to you or your spouse.

We’ve put together an infographic checklist that can help you get started on this. We know this can be a difficult conversation so we’re here to help and provide guidance.

The Children

  • What will happen to the children if both parents were to pass away?

  • Who would take care of them and until what age?

  • What would happen if only parent were to pass away?

Make sure you have a will that:

  • Assigns a guardian for your children

  • If there’s an inheritance for the children, who will take care of this? Make sure you assign a trustee for the inheritance.

  • Always choose 2 qualified people for each position and communicate your intentions with them to ensure they’re up for the responsibility.

Assets and Liabilities

  • What are your assets? Create a detailed list of your assets such as: Home, Family Business Interest, Investments- Non registered, TFSA, RRSP, RDSP, RESP, Company Pension Plan, Insurance Policy, Property, Additional revenue sources, etc…

  • What are your liabilities? Create a detailed list of your liabilities such as: Mortgage, Loans (personal, student, car), Line of Credit, Credit card, Other loans (payday, store credit card, utility etc.)

  • Understand your assets-the ownership type (joint, tenants in common, sole etc.), list who are the beneficiaries are for your assets

  • Understand your liabilities- who’s on the hook for paying back the loan?

Make sure you have a will that:

  • Assigns an executor

  • Provide specific instructions for distribution of assets

  • Always choose 2 qualified people for each position and communicate your intentions with them to ensure they’re up for the responsibility. 

Ongoing Needs

What are your family’s ongoing needs?

  • List out the living expenses

  • List out income needs

  • Do you still need to pay for school?

  • Determine if you have enough (assets minus liabilities) to take care of the family.

Make sure you review your insurance.

  • Once you determine how much need there is, review your life insurance coverage to see if it meets your needs or if there’s a shortfall.

Execution: It’s good to go through this but you need to do this. Besides doing it yourself, here’s a list of the individuals that can help:

  • Financial Planner/Advisor (CFP)

  • Estate Planning Specialist

  • Insurance Specialist

  • Lawyer

  • Accountant/Tax Specialist

  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

  • Certified Executor Advisor (CEA)

There are definitely unique situations in many families and things can get complicated so please use this when you feel it’s applicable.

Next steps…

  • Contact us about helping you get your estate planning in order so you can gain peace of mind that your family is taken care of.