Archive for the ‘business loss’ Category

LOANS TO A RELATIVE’S BUSINESS: What Happens When It Goes Bad?

You’ve loaned money to a family member’s corporation. Perhaps it was an investment, maybe it was a favor, or both. Or, perhaps, it was made for a completely separate reason. Regardless, sometimes the loan may go bad and you are not able to collect on the debt. What happens from a tax perspective when this occurs?

If the loan was made to earn income and other conditions are met, you may be able to write-off half against your regular income as an allowable business investment loss (ABIL). A recent tax court case shed some light on defining whether the loan was made to earn income.

In a November 3, 2016 Tax Court of Canada case, at issue was whether an ABIL could be claimed in respect of the loan from a taxpayer to his daughter’s start-up company. Within approximately two years, operations had ceased and the daughter had claimed personal bankruptcy. The loan agreement stipulated that interest at 6% was to be charged from the onset, but no payments would be made for approximately the first two years, which, as it would turn out, was after the business eventually ceased. The Minister argued that no interest was charged, and therefore, there was no intent to earn income. This was partially based on accounting records of the daughter’s company which were inconsistent in their reflection of accrued interest.

Taxpayer wins

Despite the conflicting records, the Court opined that the interest rate included in the agreement was legitimate and that there was intent to earn income. The ABIL was allowed. The Court did not opine on whether the intention to earn income requirement would have been met if the agreement only stipulated that interest would begin to be charged or accrued at the time that repayment commenced (i.e. interest free loan for first two years, but interest generating thereafter).

Action Point: Loans to businesses of relatives are more closely scrutinized by CRA due to the inherent possibility that it was made for non-income earning reasons. If considering a loan to a relative’s business, ensure that the income earning nature is clearly documented.

 

Issued from the office of Yale & Partners LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants, Chartered Accountants, Toronto http://cdn4.yaleandpartners.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/TTT121.pdf

 

Dying without a Will

A will is a document that says how you wish property to be divided after your death.

In Alberta, if you die without a will or if you leave property that is not disposed of by will, the Wills and Succession Act determines what will happen to your property.

 If you die leaving children but no spouse, then everything is divided equally among your children. If any of your children died before you, but left children (your grandchildren) who survive you, are entitled to share the portion of your estate which your child would have received if he or she was alive.

If you are married or in an adult interdependent partnership and you have children who are also the children of your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner, your spouse or adult interdependent partner is entitled to receive your entire estate.

 If you are married or in an adult interdependent partnership and you have children who are not also the children or your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner, your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner will be entitled to receive either 50% of your estate or an amount set out in the Act at the same time of your death, whichever amount is greater. Your children are entitled to share the balance of your estate equally. If any of your children died before you, but left children (your grandchildren) who survive you, those grandchildren are entitled to share the portion of your estate which your child would have received if he or she was alive.

If you leave no spouse or children or descendants, your estate goes to your nearest kin, in the following order: to your parents in equal shares, or to your surviving parent; if both of your parents are dead, then to your brothers and sisters in equal shares. The children of deceased brother and sisters inherit their parent’s share. If you have no surviving nieces or nephews, then your estate would be left to your next of kin according to different degrees of blood relationships. For example, your estate would pass first to your grandparents. If your grandparents have died before you, your estate will be divided equally among your surviving aunts and uncles. If you do not have surviving aunts and uncles, your estate will be divided among your cousins. If you do not leave any traceable next of kin, your estate goes to the provincial government and is used for universities to provide funding for scholarships or fields of research.

The Wills and Succession Act does not consider the needs of each particular family and some unfair situations may result.

A surviving parent may go through needless inconvenience when the other parent dies without a will. For example, where part of the deceased’s estate is to go to the children and the children are under 18 years of age; their share may be held in trust for them by the Public Trustee of Alberta.

As a result, a parent or guardian with small children may only be allowed to use that money if he or she applies to the Public Trustee each time she needs money to buy something for the children. The Public Trustee invests the money held in trust, and charges an administrative fee for acting as trustee for the children.

When the surviving spouse is elderly and the children of the deceased are adults who are able to earn a living, it may be the case that the surviving spouse needs the inheritance more than the adult children do. However, without a will, the estate will not necessarily pass entirely to the surviving spouse. This problem could be avoided by making a will which would leave the entire estate to the surviving spouse.

If you do not have any traceable relatives, you probably still wish to decide what happens to your estate when you die. You may prefer to leave your estate to a charitable organization or a friend rather than to the provincial government. You can state your preference in a will. If you leave any portion of your estate to a charitable organization, your estate will receive a tax benefit as a result of the donation.

Alberta has additional legislation that affects what happens to your estate if you die without a will. For example, The Dower Act, which prevents a married person from selling, mortgaging, or willing away the homestead without the spouse’s consent, entitles the surviving spouse to the use of the homestead for the remainder of his or her life, subject to the interests of any mortgagee or other registered creditor. Under the Dower Act, a homestead is the land upon which there is a dwelling house occupied by the owner (that is the deceased spouse, prior to his or her death), as longs as there are no joint owners on title to the land. The surviving spouse is allowed to occupy the dwelling house during his or her lifetime, or can rent the land and receive the income. This is the case regardless of the terms of the will or the provisions of the Wills and Succession Act.

If you die without a will and the share going to your dependent family members under the Wills and Succession Act is not enough for their proper maintenance and support, your dependent family members may apply to the court for more money. The judge, in such cases may make changes as he or she sees fit. According to the Family Maintenance and Support provisions of the Wills and Succession Act, dependent family members include your spouse or adult interdependent partner, children under the age of 18, and children over the age of 18 who are unable to earn a living due to a mental or physical disability. These provisions also apply where a will is made but does not make adequate provision for dependent family members. If you leave a will, you can specifically address the individual needs of your spouse and minor or disabled children. You can also state your reasons for not leaving a larger portion of your estate to certain of your family members. For example, if you and your spouse have signed a pre-nuptial agreement in which you agree to keep your finances separate, you may wish to make reference to that agreement in your will.

In summary, if you die with a will in Alberta, there are laws that determine what happens to your estate. You should make a will if you want to decide what will happen to your estate when you die, rather than have the provincial legislation do it for you.

http://clg.ab.ca/programs-services/dial-a-law/dying-without-a-will/

 

Business Investment Loss – Denied

In a Tax Court of Canada case, a mother had guaranteed the business loans for her son’s corporation. Unfortunately, the corporation failed and subsequently the mother paid off the loans. The mother claimed business investment losses for the amounts repaid.

Her only motivation for the guarantee was to assist her son’s business. She did not charge a guarantee fee and thus there was no possibility of investment income.

The Tax Court disallowed the business investment losses for the mother because she did not make the loan guarantees to earn income. Solution – Charge an annual fee.

Contact Us

Padgett Business Services

1511 10 Street SW Calgary, AB T2R 1E8
Phone: (403) 220-1570

Email: Padgett Calgary

Daniela H. Barber Professional Corporation

Chartered Professional Accountant

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