Permanent life insurance, such as Whole Life or Universal Life, has long been accepted as a tax efficient way of accumulating cash for future needs. Soon the amount of funds that can be tax sheltered within a life insurance policy will be reduced by new tax rules which take effect January 1, 2017. These changes may make 2016 the best year to buy cash value life insurance.
The changes to the tax rules regarding life insurance have resulted in an update to the “exempt test” which measures how much cash value can accumulate in a policy before it becomes subject to income tax.
Highlights of the new rules and their effect
For Cash Value Life Insurance: Read more
Estate, trust and tax planners have long favoured testamentary trusts as vehicles to pass along assets to beneficiaries or heirs. A testamentary trust is generally a trust or estate that is created the day a person dies. Commonly, these trusts are established in a testator’s will.
A significant benefit to testamentary trusts had been that income earned and retained in the trust received the same graduated rate of income tax as an individual tax payer. Unfortunately, under the terms of Bill C-43, after January 1, 2016, all income retained in the trust will now be taxed at the highest rate of tax applicable in the province in which the trust is resident.
There will be two exceptions to this new rule – The Graduated Rate Estate (GRE) and a Qualified Disability Trust (QDT). Read more
On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget. The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children. As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.
Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.
For Seniors and Savers
Increase in Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Limit
- Effective January 1, 2015 the annual contribution limit has been increased from $5,500 to $10,000;
- As a consequence, the automatic indexing of the annual contribution limit has been eliminated;
- On April 24, the CRA announced that even though this provision is not law as yet, they will allow increased deposits to a TFSA effective immediately.
In August the Department of Finance published their changes to the taxation of life insurance as previewed in March 2013 Federal Budget. When final legislation is passed later this year, these changes will result in an updating to the “exempt test” which determines how much tax-deferred value can accumulate in a life insurance policy before it is subject to accrual taxation. The new rules take effect and will apply to policies issued January 1, 2016 and later.
Highlights of the new rules and their affect
For Cash Value Life Insurance:
- Effective with policies issued after 2015 the new rules will reduce the ability to tax-shelter accumulating cash values;