Income tax is a cost of doing business and that cost carries over into the business of real estate ownership and operations. In July 2017, in the depths of the summer, the Federal Department of Finance (“Finance”) announced drastic changes that would have changed that cost of doing business for those owning shares of a Canadian controlled private corporation (“CCPC”). When ultimately distributed to the individual shareholder in the form of a dividend, investment income earned on the retained earnings generated from an active business would have cost the shareholder an ultimate income tax rate equal to 73% of the investment income. These proposed changes to the “passive income” rules were very complex and would have had the potential to shift the after-tax return for CCPCs while leaving the tax burden of public corporations, foreign corporations and tax-exempt entities unaffected.

The current laws don’t really distinguish between active and passive income. Since passive income is already taxed at a lower rate, companies can use dividends as a way to gain a tax advantage by paying dividends out of active (and lower-taxed) income rather than passive income. Business owners will now have to prove they’re paying dividends out of investment income, which will make it more difficult to game the system by getting a double deduction on lower-taxed dividends. Some business owners use dividends as a method of retirement savings. If your small business clients get their household income from dividends, talk to them about alternative strategies, such as setting up payroll and switching to a salary. While salaries are taxed at a higher rate, they’re also helpful for retirement savings as they involuntarily trigger Canada Pension Plan contributions.


Income tax is a cost of doing business and that cost carries over into the business of real estate ownership and operations. In July 2017, in the depths of the summer, the Federal Department of Finance (“Finance”) announced drastic changes that would have changed that cost of doing business for those owning shares of a Canadian controlled private corporation (“CCPC”). When ultimately distributed to the individual shareholder in the form of a dividend, investment income earned on the retained earnings generated from an active business would have cost the shareholder an ultimate income tax rate equal to 73% of the investment income. These proposed changes to the “passive income” rules were very complex and would have had the potential to shift the after-tax return for CCPCs while leaving the tax burden of public corporations, foreign corporations and tax-exempt entities unaffected.
For 2017, passive income that is taxed as ordinary income will be taxed in the 2017 tax brackets, and so the income tax rates range from 10 to 39.6 percent depending on your annual income. Long-term capital gains and qualified dividends are taxed at zero, 15 and 20 percent for 2017, but the brackets are different. So you can earn up to $37,950 in the 2017 tax year without paying taxes on these gains; if you earn between $37,950 and $418,400, the gains are taxed at 15 percent; and if you earn more than $418,400, your gains are taxed at 20 percent.
I prefer assets that make me a high return for the lowest amount of work possible (semi-passive involvement). And assets that pay me in several unique ways. Cash flow is only one way RE makes money for me. I also get principal reductions, appreciation, tax advantages (depreciation), and I control the rental increases on a yearly basis. Plus a majority of the capital is provided by the secondary market on 30 year fixed low interest rate debt.
As a general rule, the passive activity loss rules are applied at the individual level. Although Internal Revenue Code Section 469 was enacted to discourage abusive tax shelters, its impact extends far beyond shelters to virtually every business or rental activity whether reported on Schedules C, F, or E, as well as to flow through income and losses from partnerships, S- Corporations, and trusts. Generally, the law does not apply to regular C-Corporations although it does have limited application to closely held corporations.

I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂

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