Scenario 3: Retired Couple with RRIFs
BY: Karen Milner
Brian and Patricia retired a few years ago. Brian is 74 and Patricia is 72. The couple live in Halifax, NS and have RRIF balances of $300,000 and $400,000 respectively.
Will Brian and Patricia be better off in 2015 than in 2014?
This couple derived no benefit from the Family Tax Cuts announced in October 2014.
The reduction in RRIF minimum withdrawals will affect both Brian and Patricia. Under the old rules, Brian was required to withdraw at least $23,130 from his RRIF. Under the new rules, he is only required to withdraw $17,010. If he has already withdrawn more than $17,010, he will be able to redeposit the excess (to a maximum of $6,120).
Under the old rules, Patricia was required to withdraw at least $29,920 from her RRIF. Under the new rules she is only required to withdraw $21,600. If she has already withdrawn more than $21,600, she can put back up to $8,320.
By withdrawing less, both Brian and Patricia can reduce their tax bill for 2015. In addition, Patricia’s age amount could be increased by the reduced withdrawal (depending on how much other income she has).
This couple may well be able to benefit from the Home Accessibility Tax Credit if they need to make renovations to their home to make it more accessible. Under this new program, 15% percent of the first $10,000 renovation costs could be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit.
If either Brian or Patricia has foreign assets with a value between $100,000 and $250,000, they’ll be happy to learn that the sometimes onerous rules for reporting such assets will be simplified for 2015.
This couple may also be able to take advantage of the new rules exempting capital gains on small business corporation shares or real estate investments if a portion of the proceeds is donated to charity. If they are selling a family farm, they will be happy to know that the capital gains exemption on farm property has been increased to $1,000,000, exempting up to $500,000 taxable capital gains from tax.
The increase in TFSA contribution limits may allow for more flexibility in retirement as any minimum RRIF withdrawals that are not needed to fund lifestyle, can still be sheltered from tax (after the tax is paid on withdrawal).