Small Businesses! Applications for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance starts May 25th

Lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19

The Application portal for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) opens at 8:00am EST on May 25th. The description from the CMHC website:

“Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:

  • reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants

  • meet operating expenses on commercial properties

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.”

Application Dates

Due to expected high volumes of applications, the application dates will be as follows:

  • Monday – Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program

  • Tuesday – Property owners who are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program

  • Wednesday – All other property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories

  • Thursday – All other property owners in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec

  • Friday – All

Eligibility

From the CMHC website:

“To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the commercial property owner must:

  • own commercial real property* which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants

  • enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%

  • ensure the rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant includes:

    • a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds, and  

    • a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation

The commercial property owner is not and is not controlled by an individual holding federal or provincial political office.

CECRA will not apply to any federal-, provincial-, or municipal-owned properties, where the government is the landlord of the small business tenant.

Exceptions

  • Where there is a long-term lease to a First Nation, or Indigenous organization or government, the First Nation or Indigenous organization or government is eligible for CECRA for small businesses as a property owner.

  • Where there are long-term commercial leases with third parties to operate the property (for example, airports), the third party is eligible as the property owner.

  • Also eligible are post-secondary institutions, hospitals, and pension funds, as well as crown corporations with limited appropriations designated as eligible under CECRA for small businesses.

NOTE: Small businesses that opened on or after March 1, 2020 are not eligible.

* We define commercial Real Property as a commercial property with small business tenants. Commercial properties with a residential component and multi-unit residential mixed-use properties would equally be eligible with respect to their small business tenants.

NOTE: Properties with or without a mortgage are eligible under CECRA for small businesses.

What is an impacted small business tenant?

Impacted small business tenants are businesses — including non-profit and charitable organizations — that:

  • pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement)

  • generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level)

  • have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues **

NOTE: Eligible small business tenants who are in sub-tenancy arrangements are also eligible, if these lease structures meet program criteria.

** Small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same period in 2019 to measure revenue losses. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020.

For Full Details and to apply:

Expanded eligibility for CEBA $40,000 interest-free loan

“If you are the sole owner-operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and you pay employees through dividends, you will now qualify.” – PM Justin Trudeau

Eligibility

The Prime Minister outlined the expanded eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account and highlighted companies such as hair salon owners, independent gym owners with contracted trainers and local physio businesses will now be eligible.  

The eligible amounts are being expanded to include businesses with 2019 total payroll between $20,000 – $1.5 million.

How do I apply?

Prior to applying, please make sure you have this information readily available:

  • Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (BN 15 digits)

  • 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid (T4SUM)

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with:

There are restrictions on the funds can be used. From their website https://ceba-cuec.ca/:

“The funds from this loan shall only be used by the Borrower to pay non-deferrable operating expenses of the Borrower including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service, and may not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.”

Apply starting Friday for Canada Emergency Student Benefit! Help on the way for seniors.

Students can apply for $1,250 through the Canada Emergency Student Benefit starting Friday

From canada.ca:

“The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of:

  • $1,250 for each 4-week period

  • $2,000 for each 4 -week period, if you have dependants or a disability”

Seniors to receive up to $500 one-time payment

The Government of Canada will be providing help to vulnerable seniors by providing a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for Old Age Security (OAS). For seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), they will receive an additional $200.

Extended! Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended beyond June

On May 8th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) beyond June. This measure gives qualifying employers up to $847 per employee each week so they can keep people on the payroll.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive the wage subsidy, the Government of Canada website states you must:

  • be an eligible employer. Eligible employers include:

    • individuals (including trusts)

    • taxable corporations

    • persons that are exempt from corporate tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act), other than public institutions:

      • non-profit organizations

      • agricultural organizations

      • boards of trade

      • chambers of commerce

      • non-profit corporations for scientific research and experimental development

      • labour organizations or societies

      • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders

    • registered charities

    • partnerships consisting of eligible employers

    Public institutions are not eligible for the subsidy. This includes municipalities and local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals.

  • have experienced an eligible reduction in revenue.

  • have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020

Online Calculator

The Canada Revenue Agency launched an online calculator to help businesses determine the amount they can expect from the wage subsidy program.  

Guide to Covid-19: Government Relief Programs in Canada

The intention for our “Guide to Covid-19: Government Relief Programs in Canada” is to help businesses and individuals to cut through the noise and make sure they’re getting all the help they can receive from the federal and provincial programs.

Federal programs include:

  • Small Business Wage Subsidy

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

  • Canada Emergency Business Account

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit

  • Student Loan Programs

Individual provincial programs include:

  • Utilities

  • Housing

  • Student Loan Programs

75% Commercial Rent Assistance Program

On April 24th, the Federal Government in partnership with the provinces and territories unveiled the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance which provides rent relief to businesses.

“I can announce that we’ve reached agreements with all provinces and territories to lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been strongly affected by COVID-19 for April, May and June” – PM Justin Trudeau

From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s website:

“The government is also providing further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 

  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.”

What if I have no revenue and can’t pay the remaining 25%?

For businesses who are unable to pay the remaining 25%, they should apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) through their bank which provides a $40,000 interest-free loan until Dec 31, 2022. $10,000 (25%) of the $40,000 loan is eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is repaid on or before December 31, 2022.

$1,000 BC Emergency Benefit for Workers applications start May 1st

On May 1st, the BC Government will start taking applications online for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers. Telephone applications will start on May 4th but it is strongly recommended that you apply online as they anticipate high call volumes. This benefit provides a one time payment of $1,000 to residents of BC whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.

Eligibility

The BC government website states:

“To be eligible for the emergency benefit, you must:

  • Have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020

  • Meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • Have been approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, even if you haven’t received a federal benefit payment yet

  • Be at least 15 years old on the date you apply

  • Have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return

  • Not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance

If you receive a payment and we later determine that you are not eligible for it, you may be required to repay it with penalties and interest.”

What you need to apply

You will need the following information:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • Individual Tax Number (ITN) OR

  • Temporary Tax Number (TTN)

As well as your direct deposit information for your bank.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit: Students will be eligible for $1,250 a month from May through August

Canada Emergency Student Benefit – $1,250/month from May through August or $1,750/month for those taking care of someone else or have a disability

Great news for students worried about financially making ends meet. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit which provides $1,250/month from May through August or $1,750/month for those taking care of someone else or have a disability.

“Right now you might be worried about how to make ends meet. You probably can’t work your normal job and that might be a big problem for rent or for groceries. So we’re bringing in the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) to help. With this benefit you’ll get $1,250 a month from May to August and if you take care of someone else or have a disability that amount will go up to $1,750 each month” – PM Justin Trudeau

On eligibility, the Prime Minister added:

“This benefit is designed for you. If you’re a post-secondary student right now. If you’re going to college in September or if you graduated in December 2019. It’s there for you even if you have a job but you’re only making up to $1,000 a month. The period for the benefit will start on May 1st and your payments will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency.”

Canada Student Service Grant – $1,000 to $5,000 to support students helping fight against COVID-19

For students looking to volunteer to help fight COVID-19, the Canada Student Service Grant provides $1,000 to $5,000:

“Of course the paying job isn’t the only valuable way to spend your summer. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts or just give back. If you are volunteering instead of working we’re going to make sure that you have support too. Students helping in the fight against COVID-19 this summer will soon be eligible for $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours through the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). Your energy and your skills can do a lot of good right now” – PM Justin Trudeau

Details of these programs will be posted on the Government of Canada website. Keep checking their website for more details:

Apply for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy starting April 27th | Calculate your subsidy

Apply for CEWS starting April 27th

On April 21st, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Revenue Agency will accept applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) starting Monday, April 27th. This new measure gives qualifying employers up to $847 per employee each week so they can keep people on the payroll.

To be eligible to receive the wage subsidy, the Government of Canada website states you must:

  • be an eligible employer. Eligible employers include:

    • individuals (including trusts)

    • taxable corporations

    • persons that are exempt from corporate tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act), other than public institutions:

      • non-profit organizations

      • agricultural organizations

      • boards of trade

      • chambers of commerce

      • non-profit corporations for scientific research and experimental development

      • labour organizations or societies

      • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders

    • registered charities

    • partnerships consisting of eligible employers

    Public institutions are not eligible for the subsidy. This includes municipalities and local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals.

  • have experienced an eligible reduction in revenue.

  • have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020

Online Calculator

The Canada Revenue Agency launched an online calculator to help businesses determine the amount they can expect from the wage subsidy program.  

BC: Reduces commercial property tax for businesses by average of 25%, help local governments

The province of British Columbia is providing additional support to businesses by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%. In addition, the provincial government introduced new measures to support local governments facing revenue shortfalls.

“We know that B.C. communities and businesses are suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “That is why our B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan is focused on the health and safety of British Columbians, direct support for people and businesses and economic recovery for our province. We are providing further support by making additional temporary property tax changes to provide provincewide relief for business and local governments to help weather the pandemic, continue to deliver the services people count on and be part of our province’s economic recovery.”

– Minister of Finance, Carol James

From the BC government website:

“The Province is taking significant new steps to support B.C. businesses, non-profits and other organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic by:

  • further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.

  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.

Responding to key concerns from local governments, the Province is addressing cash flow and revenue shortfalls with new measures that provide additional support:

  • authorizing local governments to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital reserves to help pay for operating expenses, such as employee salaries.

  • delaying provincial school tax remittances until the end of the year. This will provide significant relief to local governments facing cash flow issues.

  • providing local governments greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year.

  • These measures will provide local governments with the resources to meet their operational costs and required remittances to regional districts, regional hospital districts, TransLink and transit authorities, BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and other taxing authorities. This will ensure that other minor taxing authorities can count on receiving the full amount they bill to municipalities and the Province’s surveyor of taxes before Aug. 1, 2020.”

New Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance | Canada Emergency Business Account Expanded

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

On April 16th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support for to help small businesses with their rent for the months of April, May and June.

The program is being worked out with the provinces and more details will be available shortly.

“Businesses and Commercial property owners are also facing specific challenges because of COVID-19 so we plan on introducing the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. This program will provide support to help small businesses with their rent for the months of April, May and June. To implement this program we have to work with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships and we hope to have more details very soon” – PM Justin Trudeau

Canada Emergency Business Account

The eligible amounts are being expanded to include businesses with 2019 total payroll between $20,000 – $1.5 million.

There are restrictions on the funds can be used. From their website https://ceba-cuec.ca/:

“The funds from this loan shall only be used by the Borrower to pay non-deferrable operating expenses of the Borrower including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service, and may not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.”

Expanded eligibility for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) & Boosted wages for Essential Workers

From his speech this morning (April 15th), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced:

“Today, we’re announcing more help for more Canadians. This includes topping up the pay of essential workers. At the same time, we’ll also be expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to reach people who are earning some income as well as seasonal workers who are facing no jobs and for those who have run out of EI recently. Expanding the CERB to include people who earn up to $1,000 per month. Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter, or a contractor who can pickup some shifts, or you have a part-time job in a grocery store.”

Eligibility for CERB

On eligibility for CERB, the Prime Minister stated:

“If you earn $1,000 or less a month, you’ll now be able to apply for CERB.

If you were expecting a seasonal job that isn’t coming because of COVID-19, you’ll now be able to apply.

If you’ve run out of EI since January 1st, you can now apply for CERB as well

And for others who still need help, including post secondary students and businesses worried about commercial rent, we’ll have more to say to you very soon.”

Wage Boost for Essential Workers

On topping up wages for Essential Workers, PM Justin Trudeau said:

“Our government will work with the provinces and territories to boost wages for essential workers who are making under $2,500 a month, like those in our long-term care facilities”

The government website is being updated with the new qualifications, for full details and to apply click below:

Applications for the Canada Emergency Business Account starts TODAY!

The new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is available starting TODAY and is available through major banking institutions: TD, Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC, RBC, National Bank, HSBC and Canadian Western Bank.

The CEBA will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced until December 31, 2022. Up to $10,000 of that amount will be eligible for loan forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022.

Eligibility

Organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019

How do I apply?

Prior to applying, please make sure you have this information readily available:

  • Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (BN 15 digits)

  • 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid (T4SUM)

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with:

Rules changed to allow more struggling business owners access to CERB, Wage Subsidy. Summer jobs program increased to 100%

Accepting Applications starting April 6th – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The sheer volume of applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will likely overwhelm the system. If you or someone you know need to apply for this benefit, we suggest you prepare TODAY before the applications begin:

  • Double check your myCRA account username and password

  • Direct Deposit is setup

    • 3 – 5 days via Direct Deposit vs 10 days via cheque in the mail

You should double check your myCRA username and password by signing in at:

If you do not have direct deposit setup with CRA, you can set it up TODAY at:

To help manage the volume, the CRA has setup specific days for you to apply based on month of birth.

If you were born in the month of:

  • January | February | March: Mondays – Best day to apply is April 6th

  • April | May | June: Tuesdays – Best day to apply is April 7th

  • July | August | September: Wednesdays – Best day to apply is April 8th

  • October | November | December: Thursdays – Best day to apply is April 9th

  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are open for any birth month

Eligibility

The benefit will be available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;

  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;

  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and

  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

Tax Loss Selling

Over the last few weeks, the financial market has taken a downturn amidst fears over Coronavirus.

Understandably, you are concerned with your portfolio, it’s important to stay level-headed to avoid making financial missteps. However, staying level-headed doesn’t necessarily mean you sit there and do nothing. In fact, one consideration you can look is taking an active tax management approach.

Tax loss selling is a strategy to crystallize or realize any capital losses in your non-registered accounts so it can be used to offset any capital gains. There is no benefit to selling in your tax free savings account (TFSA) or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

You can apply capital losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore we’ve outlined several situations that make sense for tax loss selling.

To better understand how tax-loss selling works, imagine a scenario in which someone invests $100,000, putting $50,000 in “Investment A” and $50,000 in “Investment B.”

At the end of one year, Investment A has risen by $10,000 and is now worth $60,000. Investment B has declined by $10,000 and is now worth $40,000.

Without tax-loss selling, the investor has a realized gain of $10,000 from Investment A, and has a potential tax bill of $1,500 (assuming he or she sells the shares and pays the 15% capital gains tax on the profit).

On the other hand, with tax-loss selling, selling Investment B to offset gains from Investment A. At the end of the year, instead of paying a $1,500 tax, the investor only has a potential tax bill of $0, for a potential tax savings of $1,500.

With the investor’s tax liability reduced by $1,500, that savings becomes money that can be invested back in the portfolio, used to maximize RRSP contributions, pay off debt, or spend as one pleases. 

What Situations make sense for tax loss selling?

  • If you have an investment with a considerable capital gain, review through your current investments to see if there are any investments to sell at a loss.

  • Receiving a tax refund for a previous year. Keep in mind, you can apply capital losses back 3 years, therefore if you sold a property within the last 3 years for a considerable gain and paid the tax. This year, you could sell other investments at a loss and apply them back and get some tax paid back.

  • For tax deferral, with tax losses you can apply these losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore you may want to trigger a loss today because if you are planning to sell that property in the next year or so, it may rebound and therefore you will lose the chance to offset the gains.

  • Lastly, you may have an investment in your portfolio that’s a dud. It might be time to move on and put your money into a different investment so that you can apply the loss in the future.

Tax Loss Selling is Complicated

There are specific conditions required by CRA that must be met in order for this strategy to work such as making sure your loss is not declared a “superficial loss” (these rules are very restrictive). A superficial loss is when you sell and trigger a capital loss, you cannot deduct the loss if you or an affiliate purchase an identical security within 30 days before or after your settlement date.

Another condition is that the sale of assets is prior to the year-end deadline (this varies by calendar year). You also need to make sure you have accurate information on the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your investment. When you file your taxes, any losses must be first used to offset capital gains in the current tax year, then any remaining losses can be carried back.

Before engaging in tax loss selling, you should contact us directly so we can make the strategy works for you.

BC Hydro customers to get 3 months bill relief | ICBC providing Autoplan payment deferral

BC Hydro customers to get 3 months bill relief

For residential customers

If you or your spouse/partner have lost employment or have become unable to work due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for three months of bill credit based on your average consumption.

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Relief Fund for residential customers:

  • You need to be a residential account holder and have had your account prior to March 15, 2020

  • You need to meet the eligibility criteria of the B.C.Emergency Benefit for Workers

  • You or your spouse/partner have lost your job or have become unable to work (including self-employment) since March 15, 2020. Examples of being unable to work:

    • Being quarantined or sick with COVID-19

    • Taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19

    • Having children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures

  • You must be able to upload verification of eligibility, such as a copy of your application or approval for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Emergency Benefit for Workers, federal Employment Insurance or Record of Employment

There is a maximum of one COVID Relief Fund bill credit per household.

For small businesses

If you own a small business that needed to close due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to have your business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months.

Application form to open the week of April 13

The application is not open yet, but we expect it to open the week of April 6. Once it opens, there is no rush to apply. Eligible business customers can apply any time before June 30, 2020 to have their business’ bills waived for April, May and June.

ICBC providing Autoplan payment deferral

For customers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, ICBC will provide some relief during this challenging time. Customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty. Payment deferral is also available for fleets.

Do I Qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit & EI?

To help Canadians through this difficult time, the Federal Government created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and made changes to the Employment Insurance Program (EI). For those whose employment has affected by the Coronavirus, we have created a chart to help you figure out which program you qualify for and provide links to apply for each program.

The Federal Government has already made numerous changes to these programs so we will be updating this document whenever a change to the program is made.

Stay home and stay safe.

Help for Small/Medium Businesses & Entrepreneurs – 75% wage subsidy, $40,000 interest-free loan & more

March 27, 2019 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced programs and measures focused on helping Small & Medium Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs cope with the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these new measures, our hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again,” Trudeau said. “And for those of you who have already had to lay off workers, we hope you will re-hire them.”

Wage Subsidy increased to 75%

The Prime Minister has been under pressure from the small business community to boost the wage subsidy beyond the 10% initially announced to help keep people employed. Today, Mr. Trudeau announced the government will increase the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% to help keep employees on the payroll. This increase will be backdated to Sunday, March 15th.

“It is clear we have to do more, much more so we are bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses”

– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans that will be interest-free for the 1st year which will be guaranteed by the government. If you meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable.

“To help you bridge to better times, we are launching the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure banks will soon offer $40,000 which will be guaranteed by the government”

Defer GST, HST, Duty

The government will defer GST & HST payments, as well as duty and taxes owed on imports until June 2020.

“This is the equivalent of giving $30-billion of interest free loans to businesses”

Bank of Canada Rate Cut

Bank of Canada slashed its key overnight interest rate to 0.25%.

Full details and qualification requirements will be available on Monday.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

$2,000/month for 4 months – Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April.

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

BC Government supporting renters, landlords during COVID-19

$500/month towards rent

To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.  

The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.

“Nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our plan will give much-needed financial relief to renters and landlords. It will also provide more security for renters, who will be able to stay in their homes without fear of eviction or increasing rents during this emergency.” – Premier John Horgan

The funds will support renters experiencing a loss of income by helping them pay their rent and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf, to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. Benefiting people with low to moderate incomes, this supplement will be available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.

The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:

  • The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.

  • Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.

  • Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.

  • Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.

  • Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is  needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.

  • Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).

  • Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

How to apply for EI benefits for COVID-19 quarantines and other support programs

What are EI benefits for those quarantined with COVID-19?

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

Is there a waiting period?

For quarantine because of COVID-19, the one week waiting period is waived. Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)

  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

What benefits does EI offer?

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.

Who qualifies for EI sick-leave benefits?

Employed Canadians who pay EI premiums and self-employed people registered for access to EI may be eligible for sickness benefits.

There are a number of factors that determine eligibility. You need to demonstrate that:

  • you’re unable to work for medical reasons

  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week

  • you accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter

*As an example, 600 hours are equivalent to 20 weeks of work at 30 hours a week.

While you’re receiving sickness benefits, you must remain available for work if it weren’t for your medical condition.

If you are self-employed and pay into EI, you have to wait at least 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration before you are eligible for sickness benefits. You must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • The amount of time you spend on your business has decreased by more than 40% for at least one week because of your medical condition

  • You earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings during the calendar year before the year you apply for benefits. To receive benefits for 2020, you need to have earned at least $7,279 in 2019

What if I don’t qualify for EI?

In April, the government will be introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;

  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or

  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

Do you need a Doctor’s note?

According to the Government of Canada’s website, people claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate.

How do I get started with the application for EI to see if I qualify?

The application for Employment Insurance can be found here:

Support for Business Owners and Employees Covid 19

We know that clients have questions about the Federal government’s economic response plan, we have included a summary of the information below for business owners, employees and other support that’s available. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you.

For Business Owners

  • Wage Subsidy: To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Eligible for those with payroll under $1M.

  • Work-Sharing Program to support your Employees

  • BDC Loan Expansion Facility– Details and contact information on tapping into the expanded credit. You must have been in business for at least two years;  You must have more than $100,000 in annual gross revenues and should be profitable under normal operating conditions;  Owners and/or business should have good credit history; The program enables business owners to apply for a Loan or Line of Credit with BDC for up to $100,000 to be repaid within five years. The interest rate is set today at 3.3%, which is very low for a business loan. The application is done on-line, and applicants would need to have various financial documents available to upload to complete the application. The processing time is about 2-3 weeks at present.

  • Purchase Order Financial available through BDC

  • Facebook announces $100M grant program for small businesses– Facebook announced yesterday that it’s creating a $100 million grant program for small businesses. Applications aren’t open yet, but the company says this will include both ad credits and cash grants that can be spent on operational costs like paying workers and paying rent. It will be available to up to 30,000 businesses in the 30-plus countries where Facebook operates. Facebook has also created a Business Hub with tips and resources for businesses trying to survive during the outbreak.

For Employees

Tax support: 

  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1

  • Allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after August 31 (for amounts that are due after today and before September)

  • Temporarily boosting of the Canada Child Benefit payments

  • Banks deferring mortgage payments for up to 6 months- RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank & National Bank.

  • Emergency Care Benefit” which offers up to $900 biweekly (for up to 15 weeks) to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave.

  • Six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments. 

Coronavirus & Market Uncertainty – $82 billion in aid for Families and Businesses

On March 18th, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a further $82 billion in support including $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses. This is in addition to the $20 billion announced days earlier which includes $10 billion available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to help small and medium-sized businesses.

To Support Canadians

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure will be in effect as of March 15, 2020.

  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.

    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;

  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or

  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process. Number to be provided

Longer-Term Income Support for Workers

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.

Income Support

For low and modest income families, the federal government will double the maximum annual Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), providing an average income boost of:

  • $400 for low-income income individuals and

  • close to $600 for couples.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.

Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support.

Retirees

For Retirees, the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

Students

6 month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.

Tax Filing Deadline deferred

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

For Tax preparers and Taxpayers to reduce the need to meet, Digital Signatures will be accepted.

Mortgage Payment Deferral

Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

To Support Businesses

Helping Businesses Keep their Workers

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 

The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

Financing for Businesses

The BDC provides financing for:

  • Small Business Loans – up to $100,000 can be obtained online – here

  • Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support daily operations with Working Capital Loans

  • Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with Purchase Order Financing

Previously Announced Measures

To further support businesses and households, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, cut the overnight rate to 0.75%.

For those with mortgages, the president of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Evan Siddall, announced that they are working with lenders to allow deferral of mortgage payments for up to 6 months

More details on mortgage deferral will be made available later this week.

For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government eliminated the waiting period for EI Benefits; you can get up to $573 a week for an entire 14-day quarantine.

If you need further, please contact me by clicking below:

Coronavirus & Market Uncertainty – Federal Government $20 billion economic aid package

On March 13th, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, outlined Canada’s response to COVID-19 including new investments to help protect Canadians and businesses. The total value of the aid package could be up to $20 billion across the country which includes $10 billion available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to help small and medium-sized businesses.

The BDC provides financing for:

  • Small Business Loans – up to $100,000 can be obtained online – here

  • Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support daily operations with Working Capital Loans

  • Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with Purchase Order Financing

To further support businesses and households, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, cut the overnight rate to 0.75%.

For those with mortgages, the president of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Evan Siddall, announced that they are working with lenders to allow deferral of mortgage payments for up to 6 months

More details on mortgage deferral will be made available later this week.

For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government eliminated the waiting period for EI Benefits; you can get up to $573 a week for an entire 14-day quarantine.

If you need further, please contact me by clicking below:

Salary vs Dividend

As a business owner, you have the ability to pay yourself a salary or dividend or a combination of both. In this article and infographic, we will examine the difference between salary and dividends and review the advantages and disadvantages of each.

When deciding to pay yourself as a business owner, please review these factors:

  • How much do you need?

  • How much tax?

  • Other considerations including retirement and employment insurance.

How much do you need?

Determine your cash flow on a personal and corporate level.

  • What’s your personal after-tax cash flow need?

  • What’s your corporate cash flow need?

How much tax?

Figure out how much you will pay in tax. Business owners understand that tax is a sizeable expense.

  • What’s your personal income tax rate?

Depending on the province you reside in and your income, make sure you also include income from other sources to determine your tax rate. (Example: old age security, pension, rental, investment income etc.)

If you decide to pay out in dividends, check if you will be paying out eligible or ineligible dividends. The taxation of eligible dividends is more favorable than ineligible dividends from an individual income tax standpoint.

  • What’s your corporation’s income tax rate?

For taxation year 2020, the small business federal tax rate is 9% . Please also remember, if you pay out salary, salary is considered a tax-deductible expense, therefore this will lower the corporation’s taxable income versus paying out dividends will not lower the corporation’s taxable income.

Other considerations

If you pay yourself a salary, these options are available.

  • Do you need RRSP contribution room?

As part of this, 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.

  • Are you interested in contributing to the Canada Pension Plan?

This is unique to your circumstances and a cost-benefit analysis to determine the amount of contributions makes sense.

  • Do you need employment insurance (EI)?

For shareholders owning more than 40% of voting shares, EI is optional . There are situations worth careful thought such as maternity benefit, parental benefit, sickness benefit, compassionate care benefit, family caregiver benefit for children or family caregiver benefit for adults.

The infographic below summarizes the difference between Salary vs. Dividend.

We would also advise that you get in touch with your accountant to help you determine the best mix for your unique situation.

2020 BC Budget

BC’s Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2020 budget on
February 18, 2020. The budget projects:

  • For 2020, a surplus of $227 million

  • For 2021, a surplus of $179 million

  • For 2022, a surplus of $374 million

Personal Tax Changes

Personal income tax rates

Effective January 1, 2020, a new top British Columbia personal income tax rate of 20.5% (up from 16.8%) that will apply to individuals with taxable income exceeding $220,000. As a result, the charitable donation tax credit will also increase to 20.5% for charitable donations over $200 for taxpayers in the new bracket.

Home Owner Grant

BC will decrease the threshold for the phase-out of the home owner grant from $1.65 million to $1.525 million. For properties above the threshold, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of assessed value in excess of the threshold.

Real property contractors

Effective February 19, 2020, the budget allows real property contractors who perform value-added work to goods and then install those goods into real property outside the province to apply for refunds of PST paid on those goods.

Training Tax Credit

Extended to the end of 2022

Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit

Extended to the end of 2023

Corporate Tax Changes

Film Incentive BC and production services tax credit

Effective February 19, 2020, the budget increases the accreditation certificate fee for the Production Services Tax Credit from $5,500 to $10,000.

Production Services Tax Credit Pre-Certification Notification Introduced

Effective July 1, 2020, corporations intending to claim the production services tax credit
must notify the certifying authority of their intent within 60 days of first incurring an
expenditure eligible for the tax credit.

Training Tax Credit

Extended to the end of 2022

Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit

Extended to the end of 2023

New Mine Allowance

Effective date to be specified, extended to the end of 2025

PST Registration Requirement

Effective July 1, 2020, Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services will be required to register as tax collectors if specified B.C. revenues exceed $10,000. Additionally, all Canadian sellers of vapour products will be required to register if they
cause vapour products to be delivered to B.C. consumers.

Sales Tax Changes

Carbonated Beverages

Effective July 1, 2020, carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners will no longer qualify for the PST exemption for food products. PST will also apply to beverages that are dispensed through soda fountains, soda guns or similar equipment, along with
all beverages dispensed through vending machines (except vending machines wholly
dedicated to dispensing beverages other than sweetened carbonated beverages, e.g., coffee
or water machines)

Carbon Tax Rates Aligned with Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop Rates

Effective April 1, 2020, the B.C. carbon tax rates for 2020 and 2021 are aligned with
the federal carbon pricing backstop methodology, where applicable. As part of this
alignment, the current B.C. rates for shredded and whole tires are also being replaced
with a new category for “combustible waste”. Combustible waste includes tires in
any form, asphalt shingles as a new taxable combustible and any prescribed material,
substance or thing.
B.C. carbon tax rates are being updated to ensure they are in line with the latest science
on emissions. The previous rates were set in 2008 and are today considered to be based
on old science. For some fuel types, the rates are lower than their original scheduled rates.
For example, the tax rate for gasoline will be 9.96 cents per litre on April 1, 2020, rather
than 10.01 cents per litre. For some fuel types, the rates are higher than their original
scheduled rates. For example, the tax rate for natural gas will be 8.82 cents per cubic
metre on April 1, 2020, rather than 8.55 cents per cubic metre. The new rates will be
available on the Ministry of Finance’s website.
The B.C. carbon tax rates will be reviewed as part of the federal government’s review of
the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in 2022.

Tax Rate for Heated Tobacco Products Introduced

Effective April 1, 2020, a default tax of 29.5 cents per heated tobacco product is
introduced. For specific heated tobacco products, this default can be changed by
regulation. A heated tobacco product is a product that contains tobacco and is designed
to be heated, but not combusted, in a tobacco heating unit to produce a vapour for
inhalation.

Property Transfer Tax

Exemption from Additional Property Transfer Tax for Certain Canadian-Controlled
Limited Partnerships Introduced

Effective on a date to be specified by regulation, a new exemption from additional
property transfer tax will be introduced for qualifying Canadian-controlled limited
partnerships. This exemption will treat Canadian-controlled limited partnerships in a
manner more consistent with Canadian-controlled corporations. It will ensure that new
housing developments are treated similarly irrespective of whether the development is
being undertaken by a Canadian-controlled corporation or Canadian-controlled limited
partnership.

The entire BC Budget can be found at https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2020/downloads.htm#gotoNewsReleases

RRSP Tax Savings Calculator for the 2019 Tax Year

RRSP Tax Savings Calculator

RRSP Deadline: March 2, 2020

This is the deadline for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for the 2019 tax filing year. You generally have 60 days within the new calendar year to make RRSP contributions that can be applied to lowering your taxes for the previous year.

If you want to see how much tax you can save, enter your details below!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us on how we can help you achieve your retirement dreams.

*Supported Browsers: Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Apple Safari

Business Owners: 2019 Tax Planning Tips for the End of the Year

Now that we are nearing year end, it’s a great time to review your business finances. With the federal election over and no major business tax changes for this year, 2019 is a good year to make sure you are effectively tax planning. Please keep in mind that your business may be affected by the recent tax on split income (TOSI) and the passive investment income rules given they came into effect in 2018. These rules can be complicated, please don’t hesitate to consult us and your accountant to determine how this can affect your business finances.

We are also assuming that your corporate year end is December 31, however if it’s not, this is useful when your business year end comes up.

Below, we have listed some of the key areas to consider and provided you with some useful guidelines to make sure that you cover all of the essentials. We have divided our tax planning tips into 4 sections:

  1. Tax checklist

  2. Remuneration

  3. Business tax

  4. Estate

1) Business Year-End Tax Checklist

Remuneration

 ☐ Salary/Dividend mix

 ☐ Accruing your salary/bonus

 ☐ Stock option plan

 ☐ Tax-free amounts

 ☐ Paying family members

Business Tax

 ☐ Claiming the small business deduction

 ☐ Shareholder loans

 ☐ Passive investment income: eligible/ineligible dividends

 ☐ Corporate reorganization

Estate

 ☐ Will review

 ☐ Succession plan

 ☐ Lifetime capital gains exemption

2) Remuneration

What’s your salary/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 own situation consider the following factors:

  • Your current and future cash flow needs

  • Your personal income level

  • The corporation’s income level

  • TOSI rules

  • Passive investment income rules

Please also consider the difference between salary and dividends:

Salary

✓ Provides RRSP contribution

✓ Reduces corporate tax bill

• Payroll tax

• Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contribution

• Employment Insurance contribution

Dividend

• Doesn’t provide RRSP contribution

• Doesn’t reduce corporate tax bill

• No tax withholdings

• No Canada Pension Plan contribution

• No Employment Insurance contribution

✓ Receive up to $50,000 of ineligible dividends at a low tax rate depending on province

As part of this, 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 2019, salaries of $151,278 will provide the maximum RRSP room of $27,230 for 2020.

Is it worth accruing your salary or bonus this year?

You could consider accruing your salary and / 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 2019 and the source deductions are not required to be remitted until actual salary or bonus payment in 2020.

Stock Option Plan

If your compensation includes stock options, please check if you will be affected by the new proposed stock option rules. This caps the amount of certain employee stock options eligible for the stock option deduction at $200,000 after December 31, 2019. The rules will not affect you if your stock options are granted by a Canadian controlled private corporation.

Tax Free Amounts

If you own your corporation, pay 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 salary to family members who undertake work for your incorporated business is worth considering as you could receive a tax deduction against the salary that you pay them, providing that said salary is “reasonable” in relation to the work done. In 2019, the individual can earn up to $12,069 and pay no federal tax. This also provides the individual with RRSP contribution room, CPP and allow for child-care deductions. Bear in mind additional costs that are incurred when employing someone, such as payroll taxes and contributions to CPP.

3) Business Tax

Claiming the Small Business Deduction

Are you able to claim a small business deduction? The federal small business tax rate decreased from 9% in 2019 (from 10% in 2018) and not anticipated to increase in 2020. From a provincial level, there will be changes in the following provinces:

Small Business Tax Rate

Therefore, a small business deduction in 2019 is worth more than in 2020 for these provinces.

Should you repay any shareholder loans?

Loaning funds from your corporation at a low or zero interest rate means that you are considered to have benefited from a taxable benefit at the CRA’s 2% interest rate, less actual interest that you pay during the year or thirty days after it. 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 31st year-end and it loaned you funds on November 1, 2019, you must repay the loan by December 31, 2020, otherwise you will need to include the loan as taxable income in your 2019 personal tax return.

Passive investment income

If your corporation has a December year- end, then 2019 will be the first taxation year that the new passive investment income rules may apply to your company.

New measures were introduced in the 2018 federal budget relating to private businesses which also earn passive investment income in a corporation that also operates an active business.

There are two key parts to this, as follows:

  • Limiting access to dividend refunds. Essentially, a private company will be required to pay ineligible dividends in order to receive dividend refunds on some taxes which, in the past, could have been refunded when an eligible dividend was paid.

  • Limiting the small business deduction. This means that, for the companies mentioned above, the small business deduction can be reduced at a rate of $5 for every $1 over between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income, or eliminated if investment income exceeds $150,000. Please note that Ontario and New Brunswick have indicated that they will not follow the federal rules.

If your corporation earns both active business and passive investment income, you should contact us and your accountant directly to determine if there are any planning opportunities to minimize the impact of the new passive investment income rules.

Think about when to pay dividends and dividend type

When choosing to pay dividends in 2019 or 2020, you should consider the following:

  • Difference between the yearly tax rate

  • Impact of tax on split income

  • Impact of passive investment income rules

With the exception of 2 provinces, Quebec and Ontario, the combined top marginal tax rates will not be changing from 2019 to 2020 on a provincial level. Therefore, it will not make a difference if you choose to pay in 2019 or 2020.

Combined Marginal Tax Rate

In Quebec and Ontario, because there are slight increases in the combined marginal tax rate, there are potential tax savings available if you choose to pay dividends in 2019 rather than in 2020.

When deciding to pay a dividend, you will need to decide to pay out eligible or ineligible dividends, you should 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

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, when ineligible dividends are paid out, they are subject to the small business deduction, therefore the dividend gross-up is 15% while eligible dividends that are subject to the general corporate tax rate have a dividend gross-up is 38%. It’s important to talk to a professional to determine what makes the most sense when determining the type of dividend to pay out of your corporation.

Combined Personal Top Marginal Tax Rate on Dividends

Corporate Federal Tax Rate and Gross-up factor

Corporate Reorganization

It might be time to revisit your corporate structure given the changes to private corporation rules on income splitting and passive investment income to provide more control on the distribution of dividend income. Another reason to reassess your structure is to segregate investment assets from your operating company for asset protection. (Keep in mind 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.

4) Estate

Ensure your will is up to date

In particular, if your estate plan includes an intention for your family members to inherit your business, ensure that this plan is tax effective following new tax legislation from January 1, 2016. In addition, review your will to make sure that any private company shares that you intend to leave won’t be affected by the new TOSI rules.

Succession plan

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 2019, the exemption is $866, 912) where the gain is completely exempt from tax. The exemption is a lifetime cumulative exemption; therefore, you don’t have to claim the entire amount at once.

The issues we discussed above can be complex. Contact us and your accountant if you have any questions, we can help.

Financial Planning for Business Owners

Financial Planning for business owners is often two-sided: personal financial planning and planning for the business.

Business owners have access to a lot of financial tools that employees don’t have access to; this is a great advantage, however it can be overwhelming too. A financial plan can relieve this.

A financial plan looks at where you are today and where you want to go. It determines your short, medium and long term financial goals and how you can reach them. For you, personally and for your business.

Why do you need a Financial Plan?

  • Worry less about money and gain control.

  • Organize your finances.

  • Prioritize your goals.

  • Focus on the big picture.

  • Save money to reach your goals.

For a business owner, personal and business finances are connected. Therefore both sides should be addressed: Personal and Business.

What does a Financial Plan for a Business include?

There are 2 main sides your business financial plan should address: Growth and Preservation

Growth:

  • Cash Management- Managing Cash & Debt

  • Tax Planning- Finding tax efficiencies

  • Retaining & Attracting Key Talent

Preservation:

  • Investment- either back into the business or outside of the business

  • Insurance Planning/Risk Management

  • Succession/Exit Planning

What does a Personal Financial Plan include?

There are 2 main sides your financial plan should address: Accumulation and Protection

Accumulation:

  • Cash Management – Savings and Debt

  • Tax Planning

  • Investments

Protection:

  • Insurance Planning

  • Health Insurance

  • Estate Planning

What’s the Financial Planning Process?

  • Establish and define the financial planner-client relationship.

  • Gather information about current financial situation and goals including lifestyle goals.

  • Analyze and evaluate current financial status.

  • Develop and present strategies and solutions to achieve goals.

  • Implement recommendations.

  • Monitor and review recommendations. Adjust if necessary.

Next steps…

  • Talk to us about helping you get your finances in order so you can achieve your lifestyle and financial goals.

  • Feel confident in knowing you have a plan to get to your goals.

Why You Should Consider Critical Illness Insurance

If I did a straw poll, I’m sure I’d find that the majority of those asked have some form of life insurance. The reasoning behind taking out this cover is usually centered around the desire to provide protection and security to their family and loved ones in the event of their death, which is clearly an admirable objective. But, if I asked the same group of people who of them had critical illness insurance – essentially, a policy that pays out if you become too ill to work – in all likelihood the number would be much smaller.

Why is this? It makes sense on paper that people would want to sustain their level of income in the event that they become disabled or too ill to work, yet some of the most common objections include the price, a preference to save themselves for such an event (often known as being self-insured) or simply a sense of denial that this could ever happen to them.

Critical illness insurance varies from policy to policy but typical conditions that it covers in Canada includes heart attack, stroke and cancer. Unlike other types of insurance that provide income replacement, if you are seriously ill, critical illness insurance provides a lump sum benefit that can be used in any way you choose.

The benefits of critical illness insurance

Whilst taking out any kind of insurance policy comes down to personal choice and one’s own individual circumstances, many independent financial experts recognize the benefits that critical illness insurance can offer. Here are some of them:

  • Whilst saving and self-insuring can seem like an attractive alternative, it simply isn’t an option for many. Even if you are fortunate enough to have the means to save for such an eventuality, you would need to be able to guarantee a solid and consistent return on your investment for it to outweigh the financial benefit of critical illness insurance – some estimates put this at a rate of around 10% return for 20 years.

  • Whilst some employers do offer company disability plans, they typically do not pay out the full amount of your pay cheque on an ongoing basis, which can have the potential to have a serious impact on your personal finances, just when you need such a worry the least. What’s more, one of the major advantages of a critical illness policy is that, if you are able to return to work and therefore begin earning again, you still have the benefit of the lump sum that has been paid out under the policy – offering you an incomparable measure of financial freedom to potentially pay off your mortgage or put your kids through university. Essentially, offering you much more financial freedom.

In short, there are no perfect answers in the area of your personal finances, but if you are looking for an option that has the potential to offer you a real sense of peace of mind to secure the financial future of you and your family, critical illness insurance is certainly an interesting avenue to explore.

Estate Planning for Business Owners

Writing an estate plan is important if you own personal assets but is all the more crucial if you also own your own business. This is due to the additional business complexities that need to be addressed, including tax issues, business succession and how to handle bigger and more complex estates. Seeking professional help from an accountant, lawyer or financial advisor is an effective way of dealing with such complexities. As a starting point, ask yourself these seven key questions and, if you answer “no” to any of them, it may highlight an area that you need to take remedial action towards. 

  • Have you made a contingency plan for what will happen to your business if you are incapacitated or die unexpectedly?

  • Have you and any co-owners of your business made a buy-sell agreement?

  • If so, is the buy-sell agreement funded by life insurance?

  • If you have decided that a family member will inherit your business when you die, have you provided other family members with assets of an equal value?

  • Have you appointed a successor to your business?

  • Are you making the most of the lifetime capital gains exemption ($848,252 in 2018) on your shares of the business, if you are a qualified small business?

  • Are you taking care to minimize any possible tax liability that may be payable by your estate in the event of your death?

Estate freezes 

The process of freezing the value of your business at a particular date is an increasingly common way of protecting your estate from a large capital gains tax bill if your business increases in value. To achieve this, usually the shares in the business that have the highest growth potential are redistributed to others, often your children, meaning that they will be liable for the tax on any increase in their value in the future. In exchange, you will receive new shares allowing you to maintain control of the business with a key difference – the value of the shares is frozen so that your tax liability is lower and that of your estate when you die will also be reduced. 

The Difference between Segregated Funds and Mutual Funds-Infographic

Segregated Funds and Mutual Funds often have many of the same benefits such as:  

  • Both are managed by investment professionals. 

  • You can generally redeem your investments and get your current market value at any time. 

  • You can use them in your RRSP, RRIF, RESP, RDSP, TFSA or non-registered account. 

There are key differences including:

  • Contract

  • Fees

  • Guarantees

  • Resets

  • Creditor Protection

  • Probate

Contract:

  • Segregated Funds: Policy owner, Annuitant and Life Insurance company

  • Mutual Funds: Account holder, Mutual fund and Investment Company

Fees

  • Segregated Funds: Management Expense Ratio & Insurance Fee (Typically higher)

  • Mutual Funds: Management Expense Ratio

Why is this important?  

  • Since Segregated funds are offered by life insurance companies, they are individual insurance contracts. Which means….

  • Maturity Guarantees

  • Death Benefit Guarantees

  • Maturity and death benefit resets

  • Potential Creditor Protection (depends on the setup)

  • Ability to Bypass Probate

Mutual Funds do not have these features with the exception of possible creditor protection of RRSP, RRIF dependant on provincial legislation.

What are these features?

Maturity and Death Benefit Guarantees mean the insurance company must guarantee at least 75% of the premium paid into the contract for at least 15 years upon maturity or your death. 

Resets means you have the ability to reset the maturity and death benefit guarantee at a higher market value of the investment.

Potential Creditor Protection is available when you name a beneficiary within the family class, there are certain restrictions associated with this. 

Bypass Probate: since you name a beneficiary to receive the proceeds on your death, the proceeds are paid directly to your beneficiary which means it bypasses your estate and can avoid probate fees. 

We can help you decide what makes sense for your financial situation. 

When and Why You Should Conduct an Insurance Audit

As our lives grow and change with variable circumstances, new additions, and job transitions, our needs for insurance will also evolve. Additionally, economic fluctuations and external circumstances that influence your insurance policy will need frequent re-evaluation to ensure that you are making the most appropriate and financially favorable decisions. Perhaps you aren’t sure whether you should conduct an insurance audit or not. The following scenarios are usually a good indication that you should thoroughly assess and review your current policy contract: 

  • Bringing new life into your family? A new baby may not only prompt you to adjust your beneficiary information, but it is likely to change or influence your coverage needs.

  • Changing jobs? Probationary periods may not provide the same level of disability or accident insurance.

  • Is your policy nearing the end of its term? Be sure to compare prices for new policies as they can sometimes be more affordable as compared to renewing the current plan.

  • Has your marital status changed? Your insurance policy will likely need updating to reflect such.

The specific type of insurance policy you carry as well as personal details certainly influence coverage and premium prices, so if any of the following factors apply to you, be sure to update your policy accordingly. You might be eligible for a rate reduction. 

  • Changes to your overall risk assessment like smoking cessation, dangerous hobbies, high risk profession etc.

  • If you have experienced improvements to a previously diagnosed health condition.

  • Do your policy’s investment options still fall in line with current market conditions?

  • Have you used your insurance policy as collateral for a loan? Once that loan is paid off, collateral status should be taken off the policy.

Insurance policies generated for business purposes should also be regularly reviewed to make sure the policy still offers adequate coverage to meet the needs of the company and includes the appropriate beneficiary information. With life happening so quickly, it can be easy to forget about keeping insurance policies up to date, however, major changes can have a profound impact on coverage and premiums. Be sure to conduct insurance audits often to ensure your policies are still meeting your needs. 

Contact us to see how we can help. 

How to Make the Best of Inheritance Planning

How to Make the Best of Inheritance Planning

Inheriting an unexpected, or even an anticipated, lump sum can fill you with mixed emotions – if your emotional attachment to the individual who has passed away was strong then you are likely to be grieving and the thought of how to handle your new-found wealth can be overwhelming and confusing but also exciting. One of the best pieces of advice in this situation is to give yourself some time before making any binding financial decisions. The temptation to quickly put the money to so-called ‘good use’ or to rush out and spend it can be strong but you must allow the news to sink in and also take some time to consider your options before you embark on the process of dealing with the inheritance. In the short term, put the money away in a high interest savings account and take time to research and think carefully about your financial goals and objectives and how this inheritance can help you to secure and maximize your financial future in the best way.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with larger sums of money, here are some useful ideas of where to start.

Reduce your debt burden

If you have significant or high-interest debts, one of the safest options of all is paying this debt down. Not only will you achieve a guaranteed after-tax rate of return of your current interest rate, it can also add to your feeling of financial security and potentially offer you a more consistent financial picture. Debt often carries with it a significant interest rate – particularly on credit cards and overdrafts for example – so in many cases, eliminating this burden should be considered as one of your main priorities.

However, you may like to take careful note of the option below regarding investing the money instead as much depends on the prevailing interest rates and, of course, your appetite for risk, as you may well find an investment option with a potentially higher return more attractive.

Make investments

A particularly effective way of investing an inheritance is to add it to your retirement savings – especially if your nest egg is not looking quite as healthy as it should due to missed savings years for example. Those with lower or less reliable incomes should look upon this option as a great choice in particular.

Be charitable

After considering your own future financial needs, giving some of your wealth away to either charities or to family and friends is a good option to share out some of your inheritance to those who could benefit from it. What’s more, donating to charity can also offer you some tax breaks which may reduce your overall tax burden.

Many individuals see this philanthropic route as offering them the opportunity to do something meaningful and rewarding with their wealth and contributing towards their own sense of moral duty and emotional wellbeing.

Make a spending plan

Of course, you are likely to be keen to spend some of your wealth on yourself and your family, particularly if your financial situation means that you have previously had to be more careful and prudent with money than you would have liked. A great way to do this is to create a spending plan so that you can enjoy the benefits of spending, without it significantly eating into money set aside for your financial planning goals. You could, perhaps, aim to set aside 10% of the inheritance just for yourself and loved ones to enjoy. The proportion will naturally depend on your circumstances but, in principle, it’s a great idea as it allows you to balance sensible saving and investments with some short-term enjoyment of your wealth.

Talk to us, we can help.

2019 Federal Budget

2019 Federal Budget

The 2019 budget is titled “Investing in the Middle Class. Here are the highlights from the 2019 Federal Budget.

We’ve put together the key measures for:

  • Individuals and Families

  • Business Owners and Executives

  • Retirement and Retirees

  • Farmers and Fishers

Individuals & Families

Home Buyers’ Plan

Currently, the Home Buyers’ Plan allows first time home buyers to withdraw $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the budget proposes an increase this to $35,000.

First Time Home Buyer Incentive

The Incentive is to provide eligible first-time home buyers with shared equity funding of 5% or 10% of their home purchase price through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

To be eligible:

  • Household income is less than $120,000.

  • There is a cap of no more than 4 times the applicant’s annual income where the mortgage value plus the CMHC loan doesn’t exceed $480,000.

The buyer must pay back CMHC when the property is sold, however details about the dollar amount payable is unclear. There will be further details released later this year.

Canada Training Benefit

A refundable training tax credit to provide up to half eligible tuition and fees associated with training. Eligible individuals will accumulate $250 per year in a notional account to a maximum of $5,000 over a lifetime.

Canadian Drug Agency

National Pharmacare program to help provinces and territories on bulk drug purchases and negotiate better prices for prescription medicine. According to the budget, the goal is to make “prescription drugs affordable for all Canadians.”

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

The budget proposes to remove the limitation on the period that a RDSP may remain open after a beneficiary becomes ineligible for the disability tax credit. (DTC) and the requirement for medical certification for the DTC in the future in order for the plan to remain open.

This is a positive change for individuals in the disability community and the proposed measures will apply after 2020.

Business Owners and Executives

Intergenerational Business Transfer

The government will continue consultations with farmers, fishes and other business owners throughout 2019 to develop new proposals to facilitate the intergenerational transfers of businesses.

Employee Stock Options

The introduction of a $200,000 annual cap on employee stock option grants (based on Fair market value) that may receive preferential tax treatment for employees of “large, long-established, mature firms.” More details will be released before this summer.

Retirement and Retirees

Additional types of Annuities under Registered Plans

For certain registered plans, two new types of annuities will be introduced to address longevity risk and providing flexibility: Advanced Life Deferred Annuity and Variable Payment Life Annuity.

This will allow retirees to keep more savings tax-free until later in retirement.

Advanced Life Deferred Annuity (ALDA): An annuity whose commencement can be deferred until age 85. It limits the amount that would be subject to the RRIF minimum, and it also pushes off the time period to just short of age 85.

Variable Payment Life Annuity (VPLA): Permit Pooled Retirement Pension Plans (PRPP) and defined contribution Registered Retirement Plans (RPP) to provide a VPLA to members directly from the plan. A VPLA will provide payments that vary based on the investment performance of the underlying annuities fund and on the mortality experience of VPLA annuitants.

Farmers and Fishers

Small Business Deduction

Farming/Fishing will be entitled to claim a small business deduction on income from sales to any arm’s length purchaser. Producers will be able to market their grain and livestock to the purchaser that makes the most business sense without worrying about potential income tax issues. This measure will apply retroactive to any taxation years that began after March 21, 2016.

To learn how the budget affects you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

BC Budget 2019

BC Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2019 budget update on February 19, 2019. The budget anticipates a surplus of $274 million for the current year, $287 million for 2020 and $585 million in 2021.

The biggest announcements are:

  • BC Child Opportunity Benefit
  • Interest Free Student Loans

BC Child Opportunity Benefit

The BC Child Opportunity Benefit covers all children under 18 and can be applied for starting in October 2020. (This replaces the Early Childhood Tax Benefit where the benefit ended once a child turned six.)

Starting October 2020, families will receive a refundable tax credit per year up to:

  • $1,600 with one child
  • $2,600 with two children
  • $3,400 with three children

Families with one child earning $97,500 or more and families with two children earning $114,500 or more will receive nothing.

Interest Free Student Loans

The provincial portion of student loans will now be interest-free effective as of February 19, 2019.  The announcement covers both current and existing student loans.

Medical Services Premium

As previously announced in the last budget, effective January 1, 2020, the Medical Services Premium (MSP) will be eliminated. In last year’s budget update, MSP was reduced by 50% effective January 1, 2018.

Public Education System

The public education system will receive $550 million in additional support.

Healthcare

Pharmacare program will be expanded with an additional $42 million to cover more drugs, including those for diabetes, asthma and hypertension.

To learn how these changes will affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

What is a Segregated Fund

Long Term Care Insurance

Key Person Insurance

Perm Insurance vs Term Insurance

Mortgage vs Individual Insurance

Protecting Your Wealth with Insurance

Estate Maximization

Mutual Fund vs Seg Fund

Asset Allocation

RRSP vs TFSA