The tax system in Canada provides for a two-level system for taxing corporate income: first in the corporation, and then in the hands of the shareholder when dividends are received from the corporation. Dividends received from a corporation resident in Canada by an individual are subject to a specific tax treatment based on the principle of integrating the income of the corporation and that of the shareholder.
A shareholder may also be an employee or executive of the corporation and, in this capacity, receive remuneration in the form of salary. A shareholder-manager of a private corporation may therefore remove funds from the corporation in the form of salary or dividends. The method of distribution chosen will generally be that which maximizes net after-tax cash in the hands of the shareholder, after taking into consideration the income tax payable by both the shareholder and the corporation. However, this does not mean that the shareholder may avoid personal income taxes on the income received from the corporation. This approach merely serves to minimize income taxes.
To prevent shareholders from withdrawing or benefiting from the corporation’s property or capital other than in the form of salary or dividends, thereby avoiding tax at the personal level, the Income Tax Act (ITA) contains a number of special rules. Therefore, it is very important to plan your taxes both at personal level as well as corporate or business level. M M CPA Professional Corporation has extensive experience in tax planning for owner managed business and high income families. You may wish to contact a Charted Professional accountant at (416) 463-3330 to learn more about it.