Generally speaking as a Toronto business advisor, incorporating your business offers numerous advantages. Most importantly you will be able to defer income from personal taxation. For example, in Ontario you can defer 34% in taxes if you are in the top Ontario income tax bracket by earning income through a corporation you own. Of course, the CRA is not always fond of this loophole, but the Canadian government wants small businesses to expand successfully. To this end, tax law is quite generous in which corporations are offered this 34% deferral. As I outline below, it is fairly easy to qualify.
There are a few qualifications:
(a) The corporation must not be a public company that is owned > 50% by Canadians
(b) The corporation cannot be an “incorporated employee,” i.e. a person who provides services to their employer via a corporation rather than directly (more about that in a future blog) or a corporation that derives more than 50% of their income from “passive” income dividends, such as rent, unless the corporation has more than 5 full time employees through the year
Of course, many people are not aware of the second requirement but, as a Toronto business advisor, I can assure you that CRA is. In the past few months, I have seen at least 4 form letters from CRA that, in more complex terms, state, “We think your corporation looks like a passive income corporation and we will tax your corporation at the highest tax rate possible unless you prove otherwise. You have 30 days to provide us with your proof.”
Given the relative simplicity of the law, if your corporation earns the majority of its income from rent or passive sources and the corporation does not have more than 5 full-time employees (they must be on the payroll), the company will have to pay the higher rate of tax. While a significant portion of this tax is refundable, your 34% deferral becomes about a 3% deferral.
If you are in this situation, please contact me to discuss how, as a Toronto business advisor, I can help you navigate the tax laws effectively.
William Khalilieh is a Chartered Professional Accountant, based in Oakville, Ontario, who provides practical tax and accounting solutions to individuals and their businesses in the Greater Toronto Area.
In one of my previous posts, I discuss how mutual fund corporations are becoming more popular because they offer tax-deferred investing. I explain how calculating the ACB of these investments can be challenging. As a Toronto chartered professional accountant, I’m often asked how mutual fund corporations can offer investors the ability to switch funds on a tax-deferred basis but mutual fund trusts cannot?
The answer is that corporations are allowed to do tax-free transactions with their shareholders that mutual fund trust holders cannot do with their unitholders. In particular, if you hold shares in a mutual fund corporation, you can move between the various classes of the corporation on a tax-deferred basis. Tax law does not recognize the trade of shares between classes of a single mutual fund corporation as a “sale” of the shares. Therefore, these trades are non-taxable.
The one advantage that mutual fund trusts have over mutual fund corporations is that trusts can allocate all of their income to investors, while mutual fund corporations can allocate only Canadian dividends and capital gains. For that reason, mutual fund corporations generally have equity investments. However, sellers of these investment products have come up with exotic variations of mutual fund corporations to attract investors, including classes to allow for investing in money market funds and offer so-called tax efficient classes (“T class”) by returning capital to investors.
Another consideration is cost. Typically, the mutual fund corporation will cost more in management fees than the equivalent mutual fund trust investment because the cost of the corporate structure is higher. However, this cost may be worth if if you want to switch to another fund on a tax-deferred basis.
Taxes are an important part in making any investment decision as after-tax return is what counts. This is where a Toronto chartered professional accountant becomes useful. Please contact me if you would like me to review your investment portfolio or any possible investment from a tax perspective.
William Khalilieh is a Toronto Chartered Professional Accountant based in Oakville, Ontario, who provides practical tax and accounting solutions to individuals and their businesses in the Greater Toronto Area.