FEDS CLARIFY INCOME SPRINKLING PROPOSAL

Advisor.ca http://www.advisor.ca/tax/tax-news/feds-clarify-income-sprinkling-proposal

The federal government provided revised income sprinkling measures, offering clarity about how its controversial changes to the Income Tax Act will be implemented.

Specifically, the feds provided bright-line tests for determining whether family members are significantly involved in a family business, and thus are excluded from potentially being taxed at the highest marginal tax rate (known as the tax on split income, or TOSI).

A key requirement is “regular, continuous and substantial” contribution to the business, says Walsh. Family members who fall into these categories won’t be subject to TOSI:

Family members who fall into these categories won’t be subject to TOSI:

  • The business owner’s spouse, provided the owner meaningfully contributed to the business and is aged 65 or over. This aligns with current pension income splitting rules.
  • Adults aged 18 or over who have made a regular, substantial labour contribution – generally an average of at least 20 hours per week – to the business during the year, or during any five previous years. The measure recognizes that post-secondary students may step back from the business during the school year. Hours will be prorated for seasonal businesses.
  • Adults aged 25 or over who own 10% or more of a corporation that earns less than 90% of its income from services, and isn’t a professional corporation. This is consistent with current tax rules concerning capital, and recognizes that some service-based or professional-based businesses often don’t require significant capital to do business. (Service- or professional-based businesses must pass the labour test, above). Business owners have until Dec. 31, 2018, to adjust to this exclusion.
  • People who receive capital gains from qualified small business corporation shares and qualified farm or fishing property,if they wouldn’t be subject to the highest marginal tax rate on the gains under existing rules. This is consistent with the feds’ withdrawal in October of the lifetime capital gains exemption measures.

Family members aged 25 or older who don’t meet any of these exclusions would be subject to a reasonableness test to determine how much income, if any, would be subject to the highest marginal tax rate.

In certain cases, adults aged 18 to 24 who have contributed to a family business with their own capital will be able to use the reasonableness test on the related income.

In a conference call, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said CRA audits will require proof when it comes to claiming an exemption for a family member.

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