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2017 Federal Budget – Proposed Tax Changes

September 18, 2017

On July 18, 2017, the Department of Finance released its consultation policy paper on the taxation of private corporations first announced in Budget 2017, along with proposed legislation on some of the topics addressed.

The Minister’s introductory letter acknowledges the Government’s objective of reducing taxes on the middle class and raising taxes on the richest one percent of Canadians. The proposed changes will, however, have much broader implications than the Government’s stated mandate. If enacted, the proposals will significantly affect most Canadian private corporations, including family businesses, farmers, independent contractors, self-employed tradespeople, and incorporated professionals. Furthermore, new income-splitting proposals specifically target stay-at-home spouses and young Canadians who are attending post-secondary education.

Here is a quick summary of some of the key tax changes proposed by the Federal Government:

  1. Do you employ family members?  The Government wants to scrutinize their compensation to apply a much higher tax rate on income they consider “unreasonable”.
  2. Do you pay dividends to family members?  The Government is proposing tax dividends to children between the ages of 18 to 24 at the highest combined tax rate.  Dividends to non-active spouses will be under scrutiny as well.
  3. Do you invest the profits from your business? The Federal Government is proposing to tax that income at an effective rate of 70%.
  4. Do you want to pass your business on to your children? Tough new rules make it difficult for younger kids to get the capital gains exemption.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are the engine of the Canadian economy – estimates range from 85 to 90% of all businesses in Canada are SMEs.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Empire CPA team by filling out the contact form below.

Canadian and foreign tax laws are complex and have a tendency to change on a frequent basis. As such, the content published above is believed to be accurate as of the date of this post. Before implementing any tax planning, please seek professional advice from a qualified tax professional. Empire, Chartered Professional Accountants will not accept any liability for any tax ramifications that may result from acting based on the information contained above.

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