2015 Top Tax Stories

 In Investments, Retirement Income, Tax

It’s been a busy year on the tax front, and we’ve kept tabs on  2015’s biggest stories.

TRUSTS

These new rules will affect your estate planning including any existing and future trusts.

  • Eliminate the graduated rate taxation of testamentary trusts
  • Tax the accrued capital gains of certain trusts (such as a spousal trust) in the deceased beneficiary’s terminal return, instead of in the trust itself
  • Allow a charitable donation to be allocated between the deceased and their estate in certain circumstances

T1135

CRA’s revised Form T1135 requires taxpayers to provide significantly more information about their foreign property. What a relief! But don’t get too excited, because T1135 reporting is still no easy task.

RRIFS

Probably the most welcome of changes in Budget 2015 is lower minimum withdrawal rates for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). A long time coming, it was something that had to be done to bring the RRIF program rules up to modern realities.  Minimum RRIF withdrawals were lowered this year.

PROBATE IN ONTARIO

Valuing an estate for probate used to be a piece of cake. Not any more. The Ontario government felt some executors were lowballing estate values, so they stiffened up the reporting regime.

INSURANCE

Insurance is a complicated business, and new rules make it more so. In addition to modernized exempt testing that reflects the fact people are living longer, new rules impact corporate-owned life insurance and capital dividend account strategies. They also result in more tax for insured annuities.

 

CHARITABLE GIVING

New rules change the way clients plan for donations on death, giving executors more flexibility. This year also saw the government take steps toward extending favourable tax treatment to donations of private company shares and real estate.

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