The government is changing some of the rules regarding the exempt status of income earned inside an insurance policy. The change is effective January 1, 2017.

    Life insurance inside a corporation has been an effective tax planning strategy. The changes will reduce the effectiveness of the tax planning. However, existing policies issued before January 1, 2017 will quality for grandfathering.

    As a result of these changes it is a good idea to put your policy in place before the deadline. Do not wait for the last minute start the process now. Even if you do not have extra money today to invest inside your insurance policy it can be beneficial to set it up now so

    Start by calling your life insurance agent. Ask about corporate owned life insurance for tax benefits.

  • Loans or Guarantees to a Business

    If you provide a loan or a loan guarantee to a business it is essential that there is a written agreement even if it is for your spouse or child. I am not talking about whether they are trustworthy. That is whole other discussion. I am just talking about the tax consequences if it is not paid back.

    A good illustration of this is a Tax Court of Canada case. In this situation a mother guaranteed a business loan for her son’s corporation. She tried to deduct the losses on her tax return. It was denied. She had no expectation of investment income so no deduction is allowed.

    What could she have done differently? She could have had an agreement that the corporation had to pay her an annual guarantee fee. This would have made all the losses deductible.

    Another common situation is a loan. The same principle applies in this situation as well. There needs to be a loan agreement detailing the terms. The interest rate needs to be specified.

    When people go into these arrangements for relatives they still need a written agreement or tax deductions will be lost.

    The Allowable Business Investment Loss (ABIL) can be used for these losses but there is a requirement that there was a potential of investment income. The written signed agreement provides you the evidence needed.