Tax Loss Selling

Over the last few weeks, the financial market has taken a downturn amidst fears over Coronavirus.

Understandably, you are concerned with your portfolio, it’s important to stay level-headed to avoid making financial missteps. However, staying level-headed doesn’t necessarily mean you sit there and do nothing. In fact, one consideration you can look is taking an active tax management approach.

Tax loss selling is a strategy to crystallize or realize any capital losses in your non-registered accounts so it can be used to offset any capital gains. There is no benefit to selling in your tax free savings account (TFSA) or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

You can apply capital losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore we’ve outlined several situations that make sense for tax loss selling.

To better understand how tax-loss selling works, imagine a scenario in which someone invests $100,000, putting $50,000 in “Investment A” and $50,000 in “Investment B.”

At the end of one year, Investment A has risen by $10,000 and is now worth $60,000. Investment B has declined by $10,000 and is now worth $40,000.

Without tax-loss selling, the investor has a realized gain of $10,000 from Investment A, and has a potential tax bill of $1,500 (assuming he or she sells the shares and pays the 15% capital gains tax on the profit).

On the other hand, with tax-loss selling, selling Investment B to offset gains from Investment A. At the end of the year, instead of paying a $1,500 tax, the investor only has a potential tax bill of $0, for a potential tax savings of $1,500.

With the investor’s tax liability reduced by $1,500, that savings becomes money that can be invested back in the portfolio, used to maximize RRSP contributions, pay off debt, or spend as one pleases. 

What Situations make sense for tax loss selling?

  • If you have an investment with a considerable capital gain, review through your current investments to see if there are any investments to sell at a loss.

  • Receiving a tax refund for a previous year. Keep in mind, you can apply capital losses back 3 years, therefore if you sold a property within the last 3 years for a considerable gain and paid the tax. This year, you could sell other investments at a loss and apply them back and get some tax paid back.

  • For tax deferral, with tax losses you can apply these losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore you may want to trigger a loss today because if you are planning to sell that property in the next year or so, it may rebound and therefore you will lose the chance to offset the gains.

  • Lastly, you may have an investment in your portfolio that’s a dud. It might be time to move on and put your money into a different investment so that you can apply the loss in the future.

Tax Loss Selling is Complicated

There are specific conditions required by CRA that must be met in order for this strategy to work such as making sure your loss is not declared a “superficial loss” (these rules are very restrictive). A superficial loss is when you sell and trigger a capital loss, you cannot deduct the loss if you or an affiliate purchase an identical security within 30 days before or after your settlement date.

Another condition is that the sale of assets is prior to the year-end deadline (this varies by calendar year). You also need to make sure you have accurate information on the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your investment. When you file your taxes, any losses must be first used to offset capital gains in the current tax year, then any remaining losses can be carried back.

Before engaging in tax loss selling, you should contact us directly so we can make the strategy works for you.

Coronavirus & Market Uncertainty – $82 billion in aid for Families and Businesses

On March 18th, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a further $82 billion in support including $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses. This is in addition to the $20 billion announced days earlier which includes $10 billion available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to help small and medium-sized businesses.

To Support Canadians

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure will be in effect as of March 15, 2020.

  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.

    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;

  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or

  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process. Number to be provided

Longer-Term Income Support for Workers

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.

Income Support

For low and modest income families, the federal government will double the maximum annual Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), providing an average income boost of:

  • $400 for low-income income individuals and

  • close to $600 for couples.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.

Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support.

Retirees

For Retirees, the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

Students

6 month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.

Tax Filing Deadline deferred

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

For Tax preparers and Taxpayers to reduce the need to meet, Digital Signatures will be accepted.

Mortgage Payment Deferral

Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

To Support Businesses

Helping Businesses Keep their Workers

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 

The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

Financing for Businesses

The BDC provides financing for:

  • Small Business Loans – up to $100,000 can be obtained online – here

  • Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support daily operations with Working Capital Loans

  • Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with Purchase Order Financing

Previously Announced Measures

To further support businesses and households, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, cut the overnight rate to 0.75%.

For those with mortgages, the president of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Evan Siddall, announced that they are working with lenders to allow deferral of mortgage payments for up to 6 months

More details on mortgage deferral will be made available later this week.

For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government eliminated the waiting period for EI Benefits; you can get up to $573 a week for an entire 14-day quarantine.

If you need further, please contact me by clicking below:

Coronavirus & Market Uncertainty – Federal Government $20 billion economic aid package

On March 13th, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, outlined Canada’s response to COVID-19 including new investments to help protect Canadians and businesses. The total value of the aid package could be up to $20 billion across the country which includes $10 billion available through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to help small and medium-sized businesses.

The BDC provides financing for:

  • Small Business Loans – up to $100,000 can be obtained online – here

  • Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support daily operations with Working Capital Loans

  • Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with Purchase Order Financing

To further support businesses and households, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, cut the overnight rate to 0.75%.

For those with mortgages, the president of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Evan Siddall, announced that they are working with lenders to allow deferral of mortgage payments for up to 6 months

More details on mortgage deferral will be made available later this week.

For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government eliminated the waiting period for EI Benefits; you can get up to $573 a week for an entire 14-day quarantine.

If you need further, please contact me by clicking below:

Coronavirus & Market Uncertainty- What you should do.

Over the last week, the financial market has taken a downturn amidst fears over Coronavirus. The S&P 500 had its worst weekly drop since the financial crisis in 2008, after setting all-time highs the prior week.*

Understandably, investors are anxious about their money. If you are concerned with your portfolio, you’re not the only one, however during times of market volatility, it’s important to stay levelheaded to avoid making financial missteps.

Keep Calm

In situations like these, it’s important to keep perspective. This is not the first time the market has taken a downturn, market corrections are a natural part of the investment cycle and over long term, individuals that remain invested can use the volatility as an opportunity to buy will be rewarded.

The media can make it seem like each market downturn is worse than before. In reality though, volatility doesn’t hurt investors but if selling in a downturn, it will lock in losses.

Keep Up-to-Date

Currently, there isn’t enough information to know how the Coronavirus will affect the market, over the short, medium and long term however it’s important to know that the financial market doesn’t like uncertainty. Therefore, as further developments come to light, there will likely be a correction to the market.

How have markets reacted to virus outbreaks in the past?

The table and chart below, show how the S&P 500 has performed during similar virus outbreaks in the past. While the impact can be negative, the long-term impact has been limited. In all past scenarios markets were higher 12 months after the virus was identified.**

Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P., CitiResearch, FactSet. As at February 27, 2020. The starting date for the 12-month return is
the month each virus was identified.

Keep in mind your portfolio is diversified

We know market downturns can be stressful and being bombarded by media reports doesn’t help but keep in mind your portfolio is diversified It’s important to remember that your portfolio is tailored to your unique investment time horizon, personal situation and financial goals. If you do have questions about your portfolio, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Review your investments

This is a good time to review all your investment accounts including your TFSA, RRSP or RRIF to ensure you are diversified. If you haven’t reviewed the accounts that we don’t manage, please reach out to our office and we can provide you with recommendations that align with your financial goals.

Keep in touch

We’re here for you and hope to serve you by helping you make objective and educated financial decisions. These decisions will help you stay the course so you can achieve your financial goals.

If you have friends or family that need help with their investments, we are happy to offer a complimentary review. We will discuss what their financial goals are and what makes the most sense for their situation. Often by working with a financial advisor, it can help them feel more confident about their finances.

At any time, should you wish to discuss or review your investments, please contact us. We’re here to support you.

Real Estate or Investments?

One of the age-old financial quandaries asked of financial advisors is “shall I invest in property or funds?”. Predictably, the answer is not at all straightforward and depends on many factors, including your own financial style, personality and circumstances. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each choice to help you to be better informed about which could be the most lucrative option for you:

Benefits of investing in funds

It’s all too easy to go along with the generally-accepted myth that investing in property is a sure-fire way to secure your financial future. After all, house prices have appreciated in general terms for several years now and have become a very popular way for young people to invest for the future – this could also be, in part, down to the fact that their parents have benefited from the property booms of the past and made their own money this way, therefore presume the same will work for their children.

It’s fair to say, then, that investing the stock market is a much less common and popular way for people to invest their money. Despite market crashes, long term fund ownership is hands down the greatest creator of wealth in history and high quality funds generally not only increase their profits every year but also pay out increased cash dividends too.

Other advantages of fund ownership include the fact that you can diversify your portfolio easily, borrow against your funds easily and also benefit from the fact that funds are much more liquid than real estate, giving you maximum financial flexibility.

So, why do fewer people invest in funds than real estate?

It could be due to the two market crashes that have occurred since 2000, making people wary of getting involved in what they perhaps see as a complex and inherently risky way to make money. Many fail to take the long-term view of funds and the fact that, to financially benefit in the best way, you need to ride the highs and lows for a number of years to get a good return on your initial investment.

Another reason could be the fact that many people underestimate the real cost of home ownership. Additional costs such as maintenance, insurance and mortgage interest must be factored into investment calculations but are often not, making property a seemingly more attractive investment option.

Drawbacks of investing in funds

You really have to be in this game for the long term to see your money grow consistently and many people don’t have the discipline or patience to hold their nerve and keep their money in the same place for a prolonged period. This can often result in cashing in one’s funds too early and missing out on long term benefits. Similarly, because the prices of funds can fluctuate so much, many are too nervous about investing and don’t see the opportunities to purchase more funds at reduced prices to benefit them in the long term.

Benefits of investing in real estate

Many individuals in their twenties and thirties who are just starting out thinking about how best to secure their financial future feel more comfortable with investing in property and the notion of “owning one’s own home” – likely brought about by their parents’ influence, as discussed above. They perhaps feel more confident in the process, terminology and philosophy of real estate and believe that they are more likely to succeed in this area.

Another benefit could be the fact that, by purchasing a property, you feel that you own something tangible, as opposed to the money invested in funds and shares which could be said to exist only online or on paper.

Finally, many take comfort from the fact that it is potentially harder to be defrauded in relation to real estate as there are so many varied, physical checks that one can perform to verify the facts, such as property inspections, tenant background checks etc, whereas with funds, a lot of trust has to be given to the management company or auditors.

Drawbacks of investing in real estate

There are a number of hidden costs to real estate, particularly if your property is unoccupied for a period of time and you are still liable to pay taxes, maintenance etc. It’s also true that the maintenance of a property can be a time consuming as well as an expensive business, due to the requirement to deal with routine as well as emergency issues.

What’s more, it’s true that the actual value of real estate hardly ever increases in inflation-adjusted terms, therefore the returns can be healthy but the true value of the property doesn’t actually change. It’s due to this that many feel that investing in funds is a much more solid and lucrative way to receive good returns.

Talk to us, we can help you determine what works best for you.