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IPP – Why so many dentists have set this up to save taxes in 2018 and beyond

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As a dentist you know that from time to time you may be presented with a challenging case of a difficult extraction.  As a Wealth Advisor and Financial Planner, I can tell you we are also often presented with a case of a potentially difficult extraction but instead of it being a molar, our challenge is to how best extract funds in the most tax efficient manner from the Dental Professional Corporation (DPC) of a practicing dentist.

One of the methods which has become more popular, especially given the recent tax changes involving Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC), is the Individual Pension Plan or IPP.

An IPP is a defined benefit pension plan tailored to small business owners such as dentists.  It allows for the DPC, as sponsor of the plan, to fund a defined benefit style pension for the dentist and even their spouse if they are also employed by the practice. Thus, extracting corporate funds and directing them to a source which will provide tax efficient retirement income.

The amount of annual funding is similar to an RRSP in that it is a percentage of T4 earnings to a maximum annual limit; however, for an IPP that limit is even higher than the RRSP contribution limit – and grows each year.  In addition to the annual funding, the company can also contribute any past service earnings as well as a lump-sum terminal funding at retirement.  All these contributions are tax deductible to the corporation.  Like an RRSP, your investment choices are broad and any income or capital gains generated inside the plan are sheltered from taxes, but unlike an RRSP, all of the administration fees and investment management fees are tax deductible expenses to the corporation.

Because an IPP is a formal pension plan, it must be registered with the provincial government and must make annual filings and reporting.  In addition, a triennial valuation must be performed by an actuary.  The plan administrator will generally perform all these requirements and the cost for these is customarily included in the annual administration fee, which is tax deductible.

At retirement the plan can be set up to provide a regular stream of income by way of a pension or the commuted value of the pension can be transferred to a Locked-in Retirement Account or LIRA.

The difference in value over an RRSP at retirement can be significant.  One projection we had calculated for a 55-year-old dentist and his 50-year-old spouse had them with over $1 million more in the IPP than if they just went the RRSP route at retirement.

This will not only allow them to extract more money from the company in a very tax efficient manner, but it will also provide them with a known pool of capital at retirement, which will provide them with a predictable income stream through retirement.

Upon death of the annuitant the remainder of the plan can be transferred to a surviving spouse or if there is no surviving spouse, the annuitant’s estate.

However, there are some drawbacks to an IPP.  The most common drawback is that it limits contribution room to an RRSP. However, this limitation isn’t a major one for dentists since the bulk of retained earnings, is destined to provide for a retirement income in the future. Some of the other drawbacks are because regular contributions are required to be made, this can be problematic for businesses that don’t have regular income streams.  Another small limitation is that funds within the IPP can’t be accessed before the age of 55, but for most dentists these constraints are not an issue.

At TriDelta Financial we recognize that the recent tax changes, IPP’s have become a very effective tool for extracting funds efficiently from your DPC and should be given serious consideration by every incorporated dentist over the age of 45.

Alex Shufman
For more information, please contact:
Alex Shufman
Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Wealth Advisor
alex@tridelta.ca
(416) 733-3292 x 231

Arlene Pelley
For more information, please contact:
Arlene Pelley
Vice President, Wealth Advisor
arlene@tridelta.ca
Edmonton office: (780) 222-6502

RRSP – When an RRSP is not enough

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ted_financial_postRRSPs are simply one big tax game. The aim is to get at least the same (if not better) tax refund when you put money in, than you will be forced to pay when you ultimately withdraw from your RRSP or RRIF.

For those who make a high income – let’s say $300,000 in taxable income – RRSP contributions are great. Depending on the province, every dollar they contribute to RRSP’s effectively lowers their income by $1. This provides a lower tax bill of 39 to 50 cents.  As long as tax rates don’t change, you are guaranteed not to lose the RRSP game because at worst, you will have to pay the same rate when you withdraw funds from your RRSP or RRIF, as you rece22185731_sived when you made the contribution.

Therefore someone with a high taxable income should definitely contribute to their RRSP if at all possible.  The challenge is that they often have more money that they would like to shelter but the RRSP contribution limit doesn’t allow for it.

For most people, they can contribute 18% of their earned income. In the case of the $300,000 income earner, that would translate into $54,000, however the limit comes in to play for them at just $23,820 for 2013.

In order for this person to improve their retirement planning, they have several options:

1)   Maximize TFSA contributions.  For a couple, you can add $11,000 to your TFSAs this year.  In my estate planning work, especially when looking out 30+ years, we try and structure things so that TFSAs are the last pool of assets that are left in an estate – as they face no taxes (other than probate).  TFSAs will become almost as important as RRSPs for retirement planning.

2)   Make a portion of your taxable (non-registered) investments growth oriented, low income investments.  These funds will create low taxes along the way, but should grow nicely over a long period of time, and can fund retirement without having to worry about being taxed on withdrawals.  Examples of high growth, no dividend income companies might include: Adobe Systems, Priceline, Google, Constellation Software.

3)   Use insurance as a tax sheltered alternative.  If this person wanted to put $40,000 a year into their RRSP but is limited to under $24,000, one alternative option would be to put the other $16,000 into a life insurance policy on a parent or in-law. The ideal age for this type of insurance is 65 to 75. Assuming a parent is 30 years older than you, and passes away at age 90, then you will receive a non-taxable payment at age 60, just in time for your retirement. In many cases, the rate of return on this investment will be very good – 7%+ after tax equivalent – and the investment will help diversify your returns as the insurance is not correlated or tied to stock markets, real estate or bond markets . While some people feel that this is an inappropriate ‘investment,’ we have found that many parents are happy to help their children and ultimately their grandchildren in a way that costs them nothing other than a short health checkup.

4) Tax strategies such as flow through shares – which can come in two forms. Flow through shares are aimed at helping to lower the tax bill for those who have incomes in a top tax bracket. The first form is better known.  In this case you invest say $50,000 into a flow through, you can get significant tax savings through a variety of investment credits. The risk is that you must invest these funds in highly volatile companies that are usually doing mining exploration. The second form is less well known, and is more conservative. It essentially takes away the investment risk, leaves you with a tax savings that is potentially smaller, but is guaranteed from Day 1.

5)   Other strategies for high income business owners, incorporated professionals, and occasionally for key executives of a corporation, would include strategies called Individual Pension Plans (IPP) and/or Retirement Compensation Arrangements (RCA).  These strategies are too complicated to address in detail here, but serve as tools to provide additional pension income to those who are restricted by the RSP contribution limits currently in place.

While RRSP contribution limits do impose some retirement planning challenges for those with a high income, a variety of good tax planning exists to provide some alternatives that might be even better than simply having more money going into your RRSP.

Ted can be reached at tedr@tridelta.ca or by phone at 416-733-3292 x221 or 1-888-816-8927 x221

Reproduced from the National Post newspaper article 13th January 2014.

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