THE NEW LANDSCAPE OF "INCOME SPRINKLING"
DECEMBER 15, 2017 RELEASE
The New Landscape of Income Sprinkling
When the July 18, 2017 consultation paper was released by the Department of Finance, it became apparent the proposed tax changes would have a significant impact on business owners across Canada. Following thousands of submissions from business owners, advisors and other constituents, we have seen our Liberal government pull back on the limitation to the capital gains exemption and changes with respect to related party transactions, at least for now. Further, the changes to passive investments within a private corporation have been tabled until the 2018 Federal budget, at which point our Liberal government has stated further commentary will be provided. However, it was confirmed the changes to "income sprinkling" would be pursued, with an effective date of January 1, 2018.
After much anticipation for the revisions to the "income sprinkling" legislation, the Department of Finance released revised draft legislation on December 13, 2017 and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) released guidelines with respect to the implementation of this new legislation.
Please note the items discussed below are based on proposed amendments only and have not been introduced to legislation at this particular point in time. However, these proposals will more likely than not be passed as legislation, at which point the legislation will become effective January 1, 2018. The below analysis has been entirely based on CRA's release on December 13, 2017 labelled "Guidance on the application of the split income rules for adults".
The proposed amendments’ aim to expand the definition of Tax on Split Income (TOSI), which is a concept the Income Tax Act of Canada (ITA) has contained historically but only applied to minor child (under age 18), and has commonly been referred to as "Kiddie Tax". Where income is classified as TOSI, it automatically becomes taxable at the highest marginal tax rate, which is currently 54% in Nova Scotia. As such, it is prudent planning to ensure income is not caught under the TOSI rules.
The expanded definition of TOSI captures all dividends (including deemed dividends resulting from the redemption of shares) and interest, but not salary, paid by a private corporation to an individual from a related business and certain capital gains, unless one of the provided exclusions are met. In very general terms, a "related business" is essentially a business carried on by a related person. For the purposes of the ITA, related persons include parents, spouses, siblings, children and grandchildren, but does not include aunts, uncles and cousins. Each of the exclusions from TOSI have been briefly outlined below, following by various examples to illustrate the application of these exclusions.