Category Archives: Immigration

JULY 18 TAX PROPOSALS WILL ENCOURAGE FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF CANADIAN CORPORATIONS

On January 15 of this year, I published an article, as part of this Blog, entitled “Wealthy Immigrants to Canada Should Consider Foreign Ownership of Cancos” (see http://taxca.com/blog-2017-1/).

The thrust of that article was that better tax treatment of dividends and capital gains might result if family members, who were resident outside of Canada, held shares in Canadian corporations (“Canco”) that might be established by the immigrants.

Little did I know that, six months later, there would be proposals for major changes to our tax system that would add even more weight to the thesis in that article.

In particular:

Taxation of Dividends

The July 18 proposals will often have the effect of increasing the tax rate that will be applied to dividends paid to family members resident in Canada from Canco after 2017.

In contrast, the tax rate payable under Part XIII of the Income Tax Act (“the Act”) should remain at a maximum of 25% and can be lower if a tax treaty applies.

This would be the case regardless of whether the non-resident family member held real equity shares, or just so-called “dividend sprinkling shares”.

Taxation of Capital Gains

The July 18 proposals will often have the effect of limiting the ability of the family members in Canada to access to the “capital gains exemption” applicable to “qualified small business corporation shares”.

In contrast, unless the shares of Canco are “taxable Canadian property” (“TCP”), non-residents can realize unlimited amounts of capital gains from the disposition of Canco shares without liability for Canadian taxes.

As a result of changes that came into effect in 2010, the shares of Canco will generally not be TCP unless most of their value is derived from Canadian real estate.

Taxation of Compounding Income

The July 18 proposals will often have the effect of subjecting income earned by a Canadian resident, from the reinvestment of dividends received from Canco shares, to very high tax rates.

In contrast, that would not be an issue if the dividends are received by non-residents.

Taxation on Death

The July 18 proposals will often have the effect of increasing the tax burden faced by the estate of a Canadian resident who dies holding Canco shares.

In addition to the fact that there may be a capital gain that is taxed on death, there may now be an additional tax cost associated with obtaining funds from Canco to pay that tax. This is because of the fact that proposed amendments to section 84.1 of the Act will have the effect of eliminating the ability to create a “pipeline” to withdraw such funds from Canco on a tax-free basis.

In contrast, unless the shares of Canco are TCP, the estates of non-residents will not face any income tax burden as a result of the death of the shareholder.

Of course, as suggested in my original article, this type of planning is not necessarily restricted to recent immigrants to Canada when they form Cancos. Rather, any Canadian resident with a Canco could consider the possibility and benefits of reorganizing its share structure so that non-resident family members are now included. I have no doubt that the July 18 proposals will provide an impetus for such exploration in cases where it might not have been considered previously.

SPECIAL CANADIAN TAX CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS WITH WHOLLY-OWNED FOREIGN CORPORATIONS

      Wealthy immigrants to Canada will often have interests in a private foreign corporation (“Forco”). Certain related tax planning considerations have already been touched on elsewhere in the Canadian International Tax Blog-see the following two articles:    “How Wealthy Immigrants to Canada Can Use a Holding Company to Create a Tax-free Pipeline” “Special… Continue Reading

SPECIAL ELECTION FOR U.S EXPATS IN CANADA WITH S CORPORATIONS CAN AVOID DOUBLE TAX

Often, U.S. citizens who move to Canada are shareholders of U.S. S Corporations. This can potentially create double tax problems. Under Canadian tax law, the S Corporation is just like any other foreign corporation. Dividends received are generally fully taxable. In addition, if the S Corporation is a “controlled foreign affiliate”, the shareholder can be… Continue Reading

CANADIAN TAX PLANNING FOR FOREIGN INHERITANCES

Many immigrants to Canada will ultimately inherit substantial wealth from family members who did not follow them to this country.. Usually, those new Canadians are not aware of the Canadian income tax implications of those future inheritances and the fact that careful planning in that regard can often reap rewards, in terms of savings in… Continue Reading

HOW WEALTHY IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA CAN USE A HOLDING COMPANY TO CREATE A TAX-FREE “PIPELINE”

There is a little-known method by which wealthy immigrants to Canada can use a holding company (“Holdco”), either in Canada or offshore, to receive, otherwise taxable, money tax-free in Canada. This will be applicable in situations where that immigrant holds a significant interest in foreign a corporation (“Forco”), either alone, or with family members. This… Continue Reading

CANADA-(STILL) A TAX-FRIENDLY DESTINATION FOR FOR WEALTHY IMMIGRANTS!

Probably more than ever before, Canada is considered to be a highly desirable destination for wealthy immigrants. Many non-tax reasons can be cited, including Canada’s: Healthy diverse economy Natural resources that are the envy of the world, including abundant supplies of fresh water, oil and gas, potash, timber and gold Banking system that is considered… Continue Reading