Income Sprinkling Rule Changes

Questions about your business or personal taxes

The liberals have released their new proposals (on December 13, 2017) on income sprinkling (or income splitting) from private corporations. These rule changes have potentially large impacts on those corporations that practice income sprinkling. These rules are collectively referred to as Tax On Split Income, or “TOSI” rules.

The effective date of the changes is for 2018 and subsequent years. Year ends up to December 31, 2017 are under the old regime and not impacted by the rule changes.

The rules are fairly complex and the below is not a comprehensive analysis of all the ins and outs. The purpose here is to explain where the rules may apply to your situation and to prompt you to seek further guidance for your specific situation.

-The “split income” generally refers to dividends received from private corporations, but also includes capital gains on the disposition of shares and income allocations from a family trust.

-If you are caught under the new TOSI rules, the receiving individual is taxed at the highest marginal rate on that income, regardless of the actual marginal tax rate they fall into.

-For children below the age of 18, the TOSI rules will generally apply to income allocated to these individuals, except in very specific cases such as marital breakdown, death, or sale of a business. These rules were previously known as “kiddie tax” rules and have not changed considerably.

-For individuals between the age of 18-24, they may be subject to TOSI unless they have worked in the business in the current or five preceding years at an average of 20 hours per week through the year. There are some exceptions based on capital contributions to the business and related business rules which are quite technical and beyond the scope of this post.

-For individuals over 24, the TOSI rules may apply unless: 1) the 20 hours per week threshold described above is met, OR 2) less than 90% of the business income is from providing services, the business is not a professional corp and you own more than 10% of the shares of the business. If either of these do not apply than there is still some ability to sprinkle the income to these individuals if it is considered a reasonable return based on the contributions of that individual, the details of which are technical and beyond the scope of this post.

-There is an exception for those that are the age of 65 or older and are the person who contributed to the business. In this case you can split with a spouse, even if that spouse is under 65 years of age.

The above points are not all comprehensive and there are many other considerations to plan for. We are happy to discuss your personal situation and what the best strategy is going forward.