Kevin Greenard: Estate planning for corporations

Kevin Greenard: Estate planning for corporations

In my introductory accounting textbooks, it talks about how a company can’t die. It additionally mentions that every one corporations have a number of voting shareholders. The voting shareholder(s) appoint a number of administrators to supervise the company. In a smaller skilled company or enterprise, the proprietor is usually the only real voting shareholder and sole director. Although the proprietor of the enterprise might die, the enterprise doesn’t.
In the absence of an in depth plan, or shareholder settlement, your executor would sometimes take management of the shares and appoint a brand new director that might make the choice on whether or not to take care of or wind down the company. Despite the company persevering with to exist after the proprietor’s passing, the proprietor remains to be deemed to have disposed of the shares of the non-public firm, for proceeds equal to their honest market worth.

Surplus money
The gathered surplus money inside a company is also known as retained earnings. The retained earnings are basically an accumulation of earnings. The surplus money is usually used to buy investments, corresponding to fastened revenue, frequent shares, actual property and different passive investments. Typically, these kind of investments will generate revenue (i.e. curiosity revenue, capital positive aspects, dividend revenue, rental revenue) over time that can also be taxable inside the company. Essentially, earnings on earnings. Passive revenue inside a company is topic to a better degree of taxation than lively enterprise revenue.

Tax legal responsibility upon dying of proprietor
Upon dying, all property are deemed to be offered at their honest market worth for tax functions. These property usually are not solely uncovered to tax on the company degree, but in addition at a private degree when the dividends are paid out of the company which can lead to a major tax legal responsibility. An often-eye-opening train for any proprietor of a company is to ask their accountant what the mixed tax legal responsibility can be in the event that they had been to go away.
Excess surplus money
Shifting again to surplus money. As surplus money will get constructed up, this turns into the nest egg for our consumer’s retirement. Often at instances the excess money is greater than our purchasers will ever require to reside comfortably. The objectives will shift to maximizing returns, minimizing taxes and guaranteeing that the best quantity of wealth is obtainable for switch to the subsequent technology.
The good thing about time
When we start working with company purchasers, we’ll request the most recent copy of the monetary statements, monetary plan, and have a dialog with our consumer’s accountant. If we see a considerable quantity of surplus money, we may have a dialogue about what planning steps have been taken to cut back double taxation, or to keep away from a major tax invoice sooner or later. The extra years now we have, the extra time is obtainable to implement a technique, and the extra seemingly we’re to be efficient in minimizing the tax legal responsibility.
Passive investments inside a company
As famous in our column Investing Under a Corporate Umbrella, passive curiosity revenue is taxed at a mixed 50.67 per cent (comprised of the Federal tax fee of 38.67 per cent plus the 12 per cent BC tax fee). Like people, a company funding account should decide the portion in money, fastened revenue, and equities. The money part would be the quantity equal to the money stream necessities for the subsequent 12 months. With respect to fastened revenue inside a company, we’ll spotlight the above tax charges and the online potential return. Below now we have outlined the fastened revenue returns.
Fixed revenue inside a company
Fixed revenue charges are close to historic lows. The fundamental types of fastened revenue are authorities bonds, company bonds, and assured funding certificates (GIC). If an investor purchases a 10-year authorities bond, the yield is roughly 1.3 per cent. A basket of funding grade company bonds, with a length as much as 10 years, has a yield of roughly 3.1 per cent.
Bonds pay curiosity revenue. A one-year GIC has a yield of 0.91 per cent, stretching all the best way to 1.92 per cent if a five-year GIC is bought. If we common the durations between one to five-years, the common GIC yield is roughly 1.3 per cent.
Government bonds, company bonds, and GICs all pay curiosity revenue. The after-tax fee of return on authorities bonds is 0.64 per cent [1.30 per cent x (1 – 50.67 per cent)], on company bonds is 1.53 per cent [3.10 per cent x (1 – 50.67 per cent)], and on GICs is 0.95 per cent [1.92 per cent x (1 – 50.67 per cent)].
Fixed revenue various
Before exploring a hard and fast revenue various, we wish our enterprise purchasers to totally perceive what their tax legal responsibility can be in the event that they do no planning. We additionally spend time educating our purchasers that the online returns on fastened revenue inside a company are minimal, and actually, are unfavourable after revenue taxes, funding counsel charges, and inflation are factored in.
If our enterprise house owners are dedicated to an property technique that can improve returns, we are able to map out a technique that can improve returns, cut back property taxes, and significantly improve the online property worth that passes onto the subsequent technology. The approach we clarify this to our enterprise purchasers is that as a substitute of buying fastened revenue inside the company, take into account a company property reallocation technique.
Corporate property reallocation technique
The technique entails the acquisition of a everlasting life insurance coverage coverage. The company would personal the coverage, pay the premiums and would even be the beneficiary of the life insurance coverage coverage. The coverage might be structured on both a single or joint life foundation.
Clients can select an insurance coverage product with assured values or settle for a product with some market threat, which can lead to increased values. Premiums for the coverage might be taken from the funds sometimes used to buy fastened revenue, from funds used to buy different passive investments, or from extra money stream from operations not required by the company.
The coverage might be structured as a “fast pay,” that means the premium can be payable for a pre-determined variety of years (i.e. 10 years), supplied the coverage performs as anticipated.
At dying of the insured(s), the life insurance coverage dying profit would pay out a tax-free dying profit on to the company. The company would obtain credit score to its capital dividend account (CDA) for the insurance coverage proceeds minus the insurance coverage coverage’s adjusted price base (ACB). In our article Understanding Tax-free Capital Dividends, we outlined how capital dividends could be paid out tax-free to the enterprise proprietor’s property.
Ideal candidates for reallocation technique
Clients who’re over 45 years previous that personal a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC). They need to be in good well being to qualify for the insurance coverage and have vital money ranges or passive investments in a holding firm.
The particular person would additionally like a hard and fast revenue various and are dedicated to long-term planning and gradual development. The company property reallocation technique seems to be to cut back company taxes and maximize the shareholder’s property worth at dying.
Client illustration
Through the monetary planning course of, we had labored with a enterprise proprietor with $3.6 million in a holding firm. The firm was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, each aged 60. Currently the corporate has 20 per cent in money (or $720,000) and 80 per cent invested in equities (or $2,880,000).
We in contrast the choice of buying conventional fastened revenue investments with the choice of utilizing these funds for the Corporate Asset Transfer Strategy. For illustration functions we first used a state of affairs the place Mr. and Mrs. Smith put $72,000 into GICs yearly for 10 years.
We did one other state of affairs the place they dedicated to placing $72,000 per yr, for ten years, into a company owned everlasting life insurance coverage technique. The preliminary dying good thing about the coverage is $948,800; nevertheless, we suggest that Mr. and Mrs. Smith overfund the coverage to reinforce the dying profit.
In order for example the potential worth to Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s holding firm, we’re going to use a conservative life insurance coverage product referred to as Participating Whole Life with the intent of paying greater than the minimal annual premium over the subsequent 10 years. Another interesting function is that when a dividend is credited to the coverage, it can’t be errored as a result of market efficiency. This makes these kind of plans very best as a hard and fast revenue various.
To make our instance, we’re going to use a taking part entire life product. Please observe that now we have partnerships with a lot of the main insurers in Canada, and choose the insurer relying on every consumer’s particular person state of affairs.
The present dividend fee on the taking part entire life product in our illustration is six per cent. To be conservative with our evaluation, we’re going to cut back the present dividend fee from six per cent to 5 per cent (Current much less 1.0 per cent).
Comparing tax exempt insurance coverage to GIC
We are going to imagine that the Smiths are at the moment 60 years previous. The illustration now we have ran assumes premium funds of $72,000 are made for the primary 10 years, after which no additional premium funds are made. We have assumed the Smiths having a life expectancy (LE) to age 91.
If the Smith’s invested in a GIC for this 31-year interval, they might have $853,051 inside the company. If they had been to tug this cash out, by means of a dividend fee, they might web $478,273. This can be a non-eligible dividend fee (see Clarifying the confusion round eligible and ineligible dividends) and the tax fee can be 48.89 per cent.
Alternative funding choice – GIC at 1.3 per cent

Accumulation at age 91 — Net Investment Balance
Net Estate Value after withdrawing from company (after tax)


As famous above, the present common yield for a mixture of one to five-year GIC charges is at the moment 1.3 per cent. We have additionally carried out a stress take a look at calculation illustrating GIC charges at 3.0 per cent and 5.0 per cent beneath:
Alternative funding choice – GIC at 3.0 per cent

Accumulation at age 91 — Net Investment Balance
Net Estate Value after withdrawing from company (after tax)


Alternative funding choice – GIC at 5.0 per cent

Accumulation at age 91 — Net Investment Balance
Net Estate Value after withdrawing from company (after tax)


The above figures are taken from illustrations now we have run. Reach out to us right now and we are able to present further info on the illustrations and stroll by means of them with you.
Tax-exempt insurance coverage technique
As an alternative choice to the GIC choice, let’s take a look at the tax-exempt insurance coverage technique, which we seek advice from because the Corporate Estate Bond.
The Corporate Estate Bond would have a money give up worth of $1,705,779 and an after-tax property worth of $1,913,407.
The money give up worth is the gathered worth of the coverage as an asset inside the company. The after-tax property worth is a mixture of the dying profit which is paid tax free into the company and could be withdrawn from the company to the property tax free to the extent that it will probably create a capital dividend account credit score.

Before Tax Redemption Value
Net Estate Value (After-Tax)


This technique is usually missed by enterprise house owners because it seems overly advanced.
To overcome the complexity, we’ll ask our insurance coverage guide to even be current to interrupt the steps down. We discover that utilizing visible stream charts and evaluating this technique to options makes the choice simpler for purchasers. We have conversations with our purchasers’ accountants as properly to make sure that they totally perceive the advantages of this technique.
Some purchasers additionally usually are not open to speaking about insurance coverage merchandise in the event that they really feel they’ve greater than sufficient capital to reside comfortably for the remainder of their lives. This technique is to reinforce the property, so our purchasers can go away much more to the subsequent technology. The technique works because it takes benefit of shifting a part of our consumer’s portfolio (the fastened revenue part) from a low yielding and totally tax-exposed surroundings to a tax-deferred surroundings.
Corporate property bond with company borrowing
An further layer of flexibility additionally exists with this technique — utilizing the insurance coverage coverage to borrow cash. A coverage holder can use the Cash Surrender Value constructed up inside the coverage as collateral to safe a sequence of loans. The company might then use the borrowed cash to speculate again of their enterprise. If the mortgage is structured accurately, the company could possibly deduct the curiosity incurred on the financial institution mortgage towards its taxable revenue. The tax financial savings on having the ability to deduct the curiosity prices helps offset the curiosity expense paid every year.
Asset combine inside company
Our company purchasers with the Corporate Estate Bond would then have a portfolio that’s extra closely weighted in direction of blue chip equities, and a portion in money equivalents and short-term cash market to satisfy their one to two-year money stream wants if company borrowing shouldn’t be utilized. There could be lots of further worth to utilizing a tax-exempt insurance coverage plan as one’s fastened revenue various inside a company. Provided our purchasers are dedicated to a long-term technique, tax-exempt company owned insurance coverage is value exploring.
Kevin Greenard CPA CA FMA CFP CIM is a Portfolio Manager and Director, Wealth Management with The Greenard Group at Scotia Wealth Management in Victoria. Insurance providers are supplied by Scotia Wealth Insurance Services Inc. His column seems each week at Call 250.389.2138, e mail [email protected] or go to

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