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Corporate Insurance

Life Insurance and the Capital Dividend Account

Many business owners are unaware that corporate owned life insurance combined with the Capital Dividend Account (CDA) provides an opportunity to distribute corporate surplus on the death of a shareholder to the surviving shareholders or family members tax-free.

Income earned by a corporation and then distributed to a shareholder is subject to tax integration which results in the total tax paid between the two being approximately the same as if the shareholder earned the income directly. Integration also means that if a corporation is in receipt of funds which it received tax-free, then those funds should be tax free when distributed to the shareholder.

The Capital Dividend Account is a notional account which tracks these particular tax-free amounts accumulated by the corporation. It is not shown in accounting records or financial statements of the corporation.  If there is a balance in the CDA it may be shown in the notes section of the financial statements for information purposes only.

Generally, the tax-free amounts referred to, are the non-taxable portions of capital gains received by the corporation and the death benefit proceeds of life insurance policies where the corporation is the beneficiary.

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The Corporate Estate Transfer

If you are the owner of a successful company it is likely that you have retained profits or surplus cash in your corporation.  If this is the case, chances are also good that this invested surplus is exposed to a high rate of corporate income tax.  If this describes your company then you may be a candidate for the Corporate Estate Transfer.  This strategy provides tax sheltered growth as well as maximizing the estate value of your company upon your death.

What is a Corporate Estate Transfer?

The Corporate Estate Transfer is an arrangement in which the company purchases a tax exempt life insurance policy on the life of the shareholder using corporate funds that are not needed for immediate business purposes. In doing so, the transferred surplus grows tax-deferred while the death benefit of the life insurance policy increases the value to the estate when the shareholder dies.

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Family Business Planning Strategies

67% are at Risk of Succession Failure

If you are an owner in a family enterprise, the chances of your business transitioning successfully to the next generations is not very good.  This has not changed over the years. Statistics show a failure rate of:

  • 67% of businesses fail to succeed into the second generation
  • 90% fail by the third generation

With 80% to 90% of all enterprises in North America being family owned, it is important to address the reasons why transition is difficult.

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The Clock is Ticking!

Don’t Put Off Your Decision to Buy Life Insurance

2016 is an opportune year to buy life insurance.  New laws affecting the taxation of life insurance come into effect on January 1, 2017. After this date new policies will not perform as well as they do currently.

The good news is that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid at death still remain tax free.  What has been affected is the amount of cash value that may accrue in a policy and the tax-free distribution of death proceeds from a life insurance policy owned in a corporation.

How will this impact your existing and future policies?

Adjustment to the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve

Whole Life and Universal Life policies are valuable vehicles in which to accumulate cash value. The limit of how much can be invested is governed by the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve (MTAR).  If the cash value ever exceeds the MTAR limit, the policy is deemed to be “offside” and will be subject to accrual taxation.

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Protecting Your Business

While most business owners realize the benefits of corporate-owned insurance, many do not realize that flexible life insurance products such as universal life can provide them with the protection they need as well as a source of cash for business purposes.

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