Owners of very successful private corporations are well aware of the importance of cash flow. Many are protective of how they allocate corporate capital so that business ventures are adequately funded and investment opportunities are not missed.
The Immediate Financing Arrangement offers an opportunity to provide life insurance coverage and accumulate wealth on a tax-advantaged basis without impairing corporate cash flow.
What is an Immediate Financing Arrangement (IFA)?
An IFA is a financial and estate planning strategy that:
· Combines permanent, cash value life insurance with a conservative leverage program allowing the dollars allocated to the life insurance premiums to do double duty by still being available for business and investment purposes;
· In the right circumstances and when structured properly so that all possible tax deductions are used, an improvement in cash flow could result.
Who should consider this strategy?
IFA`s are not for everyone. For those situations that best match the necessary criteria, however, significant results can be achieved. The best candidates for an IFA usually are:
· Successful, affluent individuals who are active investors or owners of thriving privately held corporations who require permanent life insurance protection;
· Of good health, non-smokers, and preferably under age 60;
· Enjoying a steady cash flow exceeding lifestyle requirements;
· Paying income tax at the highest rate and will continue to do so throughout their life.
How does it work?
· An individual or company purchases a cash value permanent life insurance policy and contributes allowable maximum premiums;
· The policy is assigned to a bank as collateral for a line of credit;
· The business or individual uses the loan advances to replace cash used for insurance purchase and re-invests in business operations or to make investments to produce income. This is done annually;
· The borrower pays interest only and can borrow back the interest at year end;
· At the insured’s death the proceeds of the life insurance policy retire the outstanding line of credit with the balance going to the insured’s beneficiary;
· If corporately owned, up to the entire amount of the life insurance death benefit is available for Capital Dividend Account purposes.
Proper planning and execution is essential for the Immediate Financing Arrangement. However, if you fit the appropriate profile, you could benefit substantially from this strategy.
If you wish to investigate this strategy and whether it can be of benefit to you, please contact me and I would be happy to discuss this with you. As always, feel free to use the sharing icons below to forward this to someone who might find this of interest.
Many business owners know the important role that life insurance plays in effective corporate planning. Whether it be the funding of a shareholder’s agreement, life insuring corporate debt, or protecting against loss from the death of a key employee, life insurance is of great value in underpinning the financial success of a corporation. Just as life insurance needs for families change over time the same is also true for requirements of the business. If it has been some time since you have reviewed your corporate insurance needs then it is probably time for a corporate insurance audit. This is especially true if the company has enjoyed consistent or significant growth since the time the insurance was first implemented. The scope of the audit and the insurance related issues include the following:
Current corporately owned life insurance
Have the factors which affect pricing changed?
- If you were previously a smoker, do you now qualify as a non-smoker?
- If your policy was issued with a higher premium due to adverse health or other additional risk factors (such as participation in hazardous activities) would you now qualify for reduction?
If the current coverage is renewable term insurance should the policy be re-written now before it renews at a substantial increase?
Term Life Insurance policies usually have a conversion period until age 70 or 75 allowing the policy to be converted to a permanent policy without medical evidence. If the policy is nearing the end of the conversion period your options should definitely be explored, especially if you would no longer qualify for new life insurance. Are the beneficiary and ownership designations still compliant with current income tax regulations and Canada Revenue Agency policy? For example, if your corporately owned policy has a beneficiary designated other than the corporate owner, you may wish to review that arrangement to confirm that you are not attracting any shareholder benefit or other undue re-assessment risk. Also confirm that that the beneficiary designation is consistent with Capital Dividend Account planning.
Life insurance funding of the Shareholders Agreement
Has the share value of the company increased? If it has, then the amount of life insurance that the company owns to fund the shareholders agreement should be reviewed and increased. If new shareholders have been added to the agreement, then those new shareholders should be insured in similar fashion to the others. If the company continues to grow and thrive, it may be appropriate to change the type of life insurance held to something longer term or more permanent. For example, if it is obvious that ten-year renewable term insurance does not provide a long enough term, then the coverage should be changed to 20 year term or longer, or perhaps term to 100 or permanent coverage. Insurability can be lost at any time and the longer the term of the policy the longer the current premium will continue.
Insuring the human life value
Key person life insurance is used to reimburse a company for loss in the event of the death of an employee which would severely affect profitability or share value of the corporation. Periodically the company should review the policies it maintains for this purpose to ensure that the proper amount of coverage is in place. If there is no key person insurance determine whether there should be by identifying those employees whose death would adversely affect the bottom line of the corporation.
Life insurance collateral deduction
When considering the advantages of the Capital Dividend Account it is recommended that corporate debt be life insured. If a shareholder whose life is insured for this purpose dies and the insurance proceeds retire the outstanding bank debt, even though there may not be any residual proceeds remaining a Capital Dividend Account is created that is up to 100% of the death benefit. Capital dividends can be distributed tax free to the surviving shareholders making insuring corporate debt very advantageous. In addition, the corporation can deduct from income the net cost of pure insurance of the insurance policy.
If the corporation owns life insurance on a shareholder or key employee for this purpose check to make sure that the right amount of coverage is in place. If not, there should be an additional policy purchased or perhaps a re-write of existing coverage that results in the appropriate amount. If there is current collateral term insurance in place that has been issued with a rating due to less than ideal health or other factors it is recommended that an attempt be made to re-write that coverage. It is possible that the insured can now qualify for lower standard rates of insurance resulting in a lower premium.
If the current insurance was issued with an additional risk premium due to health or other issues this would be another reason to re-write the coverage. This is because substandard policies (those with a rating) issued after December 31, 2016 now have a higher net cost of pure insurance and therefore a higher collateral insurance deduction than those issued before this date.
Be careful to protect Generation 2 policies
The provisions of the Income Tax Act dealing with the taxation of life insurance policy were changed effective January 1, 2017. These changes modified certain factors that ultimately result in the amount of death benefit that can be credited to the Capital Dividend Account. Policies issued between December 1, 1982 and December 31, 2016 are referred to as Generation 2 policies and those contracts generally provide a larger CDA contribution, that Generation 3 policies issued in 2017 and later. As a result, unless there are extremely extenuating circumstances, those policies should be maintained in their current form.
Given the demands of running a business, it’s easy to put off what may seem to be a low priority item on your to do list. Life is unpredictable so it is advisable to always be prepared for events that are out of your control. Reviewing corporate insurance coverage periodically will help to ensure that the right amount and the proper plan is in place. With the help of an experienced advisor, an insurance audit can be very advantageous and have a positive effect on both the bottom line and the balance sheet of the corporation. If you think now is the right time, give me a call and I’ll be happy to assist. As always, please feel free to share this information with anyone that may find it of interest.
The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Here are some of the highlights:
Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
Alberta intends to bring in a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit with a maximum funding of $20 million per year, which aims to offer eligible companies with a benefit of 25% of eligible labour costs. This benefit relates to costs incurred after April 1, 2018 and is aiming to better support the interactive digital media sector in the province.
Alberta Investor Tax Credit
The 2018 budget extends the existing Alberta Investor Tax Credit until 2012-22. The existing program offers a 30% tax credit to both individuals and corporations who commit to making equity investments in eligible Alberta businesses, such as those involved in research, development, digital animation and various others.
Diversity & Inclusion Credit
Relating to the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit and Alberta Investor Tax Credit, the budget notes a 5% diversity and inclusion credit enhancement which could be claimed if the company offers employment to an individual from an under-represented group.
Capital Investment Tax Credit
The budget announces that the Capital Investment Tax Credit, a 10% non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million for a corporation’s eligible capital expenditures on manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure, will also be extended until 2021-22.
Alberta Child Benefit
The 2018 budget details increases to these benefits for families with 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus children, as well as increasing the phase-out threshold for family net income from $41,786 to $42,287.
Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit
Increases have also been announced in the budget to offer more benefits for working families who have income from employment of more than $2,760 per year. The phase-out threshold has been extended from a family net income of $41,786 to $42,287, as well as increases to the benefit amounts for each family size.
The budget covers the agreement made by Alberta to adhere to a structured tax framework with the Canadian government for a period of two years after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Specifically, either $1 per gram or 10% of the producer price (whichever is greater) will be collected and the province will receive 75% of this tax room, both to be collected by the federal government. In addition, an additional tax of a maximum of 10% of the retail price may also be collected by the province.
Education Property Tax
A freeze has been set on education property tax collection, but the current rates have increased as follows:
· From $2.48 to $2.56 per $1,000 or equalized assessment for residential/farmland property.
From $3.64 to £3.76 for non-residential property
The 2018 Ontario budget features a number of new measures and billions of dollars of enhanced spending across the spectrum, as announced by the province’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa. Read on for some of the key proposals.
A new sliding scale for personal income tax will be introduced, with seven personal income tax rates which will be applied directly to taxable income, in an attempt to eliminate Ontario’s surtax. The province estimates that approximately 680,000 will pay less tax as a result.
Access to further education will be income linked, with those families with an income of less than $90,000 per year receiving free tuition and families with an income of between $90,000 and $175,00 per year receiving financial aid for tuition costs.
Free Pre-School Child Care
Effective in the Fall of 2020, children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten can receive free licensed child care.
New Ontario Drug and Dental Program
For those without workplace benefits or not covered by OHIP+, this program offers up to 4.1 million Ontarians a benefit that pays up to 80% of expense up to a cap of $400 for a single person, up to $600 for a couple and $50 per child in a family with two children, regardless of their income.
Free Prescription Drugs
The budget announces the introduction of free prescription drugs for those aged 65 or older, resulting in an average of $240 per year in savings per senior.
Charitable Donation Tax Credit
The non-refundable Ontario Charitable Donation Tax Credit will be tweaked to increase the top rate, remaining at 5.05% for the first $200 but increasing to 17.5% for anything above $200.
Seniors’ Healthy Home Program
$750 is offered to eligible households with seniors of 75 years of age or older to help them to care for and maintain their residence.
R&D Tax Credit
The budget introduces a non-refundable tax credit of 3.5% on eligible costs relating to R&D, or an enhanced rate of 5.5% for eligible expenditures of $1 million plus. Note that this enhanced rate would not be payable to corporations where eligible R&D expenditures in the current tax year are less than 90% of eligible R&D expenditures in the tax year before.
Innovation Tax Credit
The existing Ontario Innovation Tax Credit will see changes to its credit rate in the following way:
· If a company has a ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenues of 10% or less, they will continue to receive the 8% credit.
· If their ratio is between 10% and 20%, they will receive an enhanced credit rate of between 8-12%, calculated on a straight line basis.
· If their ratio is 20% or more, they will receive an enhanced credit rate of 12%.
Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
Eligibility to receive this tax credit will be broadened to include film and television websites.
The government’s 2018 federal budget focuses on a number of tax tightening measures for business owners. It introduces a new regime for holding passive investments inside a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC). (Previously proposed in July 2017.)
Here are the highlights:
Small Business Tax Rate Reduction Confirmed
Lower small business tax rate from 10% (from 10.5%), effective January 1, 2018 and to 9% effective January 1, 2019.
Limiting Access to the Small Business Tax Rate
A key objective of the budget is to decrease the small business limit for CCPCs with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments. This will apply to CCPCs with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. It reduces the small business deduction by $5 for each $1 of investment income which falls over the threshold of $50,000. This new regulation will go hand in hand with the current business limit reduction for taxable capital.
Limiting access to refundable taxes
Another important feature of the budget is to reduce the tax advantages that CCPCs can gain to access refundable taxes on the distribution of dividends. Currently, a corporation can receive a refundable dividend tax on hand (known as a RDTOH) when they pay a particular dividend, whereas the new proposals aim to permit such a refund only where a private corporation pays non-eligible dividends, though exceptions apply regarding RDTOH deriving from eligible portfolio dividends.
The new RDTOH account referred to “eligible RDTOH” will be tracked under Part IV of the Income Tax Act while the current RDTOH account will be redefined as “non-eligible RDTOH” and will be tracked under Part I of the Income Tax Act. This means when a corporation pays non-eligible dividends, it’s required to obtain a refund from its non-eligible RDTOH account before it obtains a refund from its eligible RDTOH account.
Health and welfare trusts
The budget states that it will end the Health and Welfare Trust tax regime and transition it to Employee Life and Health Trusts. The current tax position of Health and Welfare Trusts are linked to the administrative rules as stated by the CRA, but the income Tax Act includes specific rules relating to the Employee Life and Heath Trusts which are similar. The budget will simplify this arrangement to have one set of rules across both arrangements.
BC Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2018 budget update on February 20, 2018. The budget anticipates a surplus of $219 million for the current year, $281 million for 2019 and $284 million in 2020.
Corporate and personal tax rates remain unchanged.
The biggest changes are:
- Elimination of Medical Services Plan (MSP Premiums) effective January 1, 2020
- Addition of the Employer Health Tax (EHT)
- Provincial Property Taxes
The Employer Health Tax and Medical Services Plan premiums:
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. Starting in 2019, the budget introduces the Employer Health Tax (EHT). The EHT is to help fund the elimination of the MSP premiums.
The Employer Health Tax will be calculated as a percentage of payroll:
Provincial Property Transfer Taxes
Effective February 21, 2018, the following will occur:
- The provincial property transfer taxes (PTT) will increase to 5% (from 3%) on residential property values above $3 million.
- The PPT applies to foreign purchasers of residential properties in BC will increase to 20% (from 15%) and the tax will extend to include the Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo and Central Okanagan Regional Districts.
- There is a new speculation tax on residential property in BC. This tax is targeted at foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. Starting in 2018, it’s a rate of $5/$1,000 of assessed value, in 2019, this will increase to $20/$1,000.
There will be a new affordable child care benefit that will reduce child care costs by up to $1,250 per month per child by 2020. The new benefit will apply in September 2018. Families with pre-tax incomes of $45,000 or less will receive the full benefit, (up to the cost of care) while those who make up to $111,000 will receive a reduced amount, scaling based on income. The government will be releasing an online benefit calculator to help parents budget.
The budget will provide up to $350/month directly to licensed child care providers to reduce fees. They will be the following:
- Up to $350/month for group infant/toddler care
- Up to $200/month for family infant/toddler care
- Up to $100/month for group care for children aged 3-5
- Up to $60/month for family care for children aged 3-5
To learn how these changes will affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Many business owners are unaware that corporate owned life insurance combined with the Capital Dividend Account (CDA) provides an opportunity to distribute corporate surplus on the death of a shareholder to the surviving shareholders or family members tax-free.
Income earned by a corporation and then distributed to a shareholder is subject to tax integration which results in the total tax paid between the two being approximately the same as if the shareholder earned the income directly. Integration also means that if a corporation is in receipt of funds which it received tax-free, then those funds should be tax free when distributed to the shareholder.
The Capital Dividend Account is a notional account which tracks these particular tax-free amounts accumulated by the corporation. It is not shown in accounting records or financial statements of the corporation. If there is a balance in the CDA it may be shown in the notes section of the financial statements for information purposes only.
Generally, the tax-free amounts referred to, are the non-taxable portions of capital gains received by the corporation and the death benefit proceeds of life insurance policies where the corporation is the beneficiary.
Life insurance proceeds received by a private corporation
The death benefit of a life insurance policy that is owned by a private Canadian corporation less the adjusted cost basis (ACB) of that policy, can be credited to the Capital Dividend Account. The government’s reasoning in deducting the ACB from the CDA credit is that if the corporation had paid the premiums to the individual shareholder to pay for the insurance, those payments would have been taxable.
In calculating the ACB, the following factors are taken into account:
- Premiums or deposits made to the policy increase the ACB;
- Policy loans, paying of dividends in a participating policy and partial dispositions reduce the ACB;
- Repaying policy loans, purchasing paid-up insurance and adding any term insurance riders increase the ACB;
- The annual net cost of pure insurance (NCPI) reduces the ACB.
The NCPI is the pure mortality cost of the life insurance and is contained in a table in the Income Tax Act. The NCPI, which increases each year with age, is applied to the net amount at risk in determining the reduction of the ACB for that policy year. The net amount at risk is defined as the total death benefit minus the cash value of the policy.
Normally, the ACB of the policy increases each year ultimately resulting in a total erosion. Once the ACB reaches zero, the full amount of the death benefit is eligible for Capital Dividend Account credit.
Frequently asked questions about the Capital Dividend Account
Does the corporation have to be Canadian controlled? No. It is only required that the company is a Canadian private corporation.
Can the corporation be publicly owned? No. Only private corporations qualify.
What is the tax treatment of a Capital Dividend paid to a non-resident shareholder? Capital dividends paid to a non-resident shareholder are subject to a withholding tax. In the absence of a resident of a country without a Canadian tax treaty the withholding tax is 25%. With a tax treaty, the rate will be reduced. For an individual living in the U.S. for example the withholding rate would be 15%. The capital dividend would most likely be taxable to the non-resident in their own country.
Does the company still get a CDA credit when a policy is assigned to a bank and the death benefit is paid directly to the lender? Yes. Although the proceeds of the life insurance policy may never actually be received directly by the corporation, it still creates a CDA balance equal to the total death benefit minus the ACB of the policy.
For many business owners the ability to have life insurance paid with lower taxed corporate dollars and still be able to have the proceeds eventually flow to their families on a tax free basis is an opportunity that should not be overlooked.
As always, please feel free to share this article with anyone you think would find it of interest.
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About Chris Geldert
Recognizing the difficulties navigating corporate structures and the insurance world I specialize in assisting business owners protect, realize and transfer the value of their business. I focus and guiding owners through the process, working with their various professionals, ensuring solutions are implemented to properly manage the risks and maximize the benefits. Above all I work to earn your business.