#MeToo and Update on the Proposed Tax Change

#MeToo and Update on the Proposed Tax Change
Our kids should not live in a world that treat sexual harassment and assault as norms.

Most of you have already heard of the sexual harassment stories of Harvey Weinstein, the powerful American film producer, who allegedly used his position to sexually harass and assault many actresses.

Many actresses spoke up about Harvey since the initial news.  

It even ignited the #MeToo movement, a movement that men and women who were sexually abused and/or harassed used #MeToo in his/her social media account to raise awareness on how serious and common this situation is.

I had been closely following the news, probably because I was one of the victims.

I admired and applauded all the men and women who had stepped up to go through the justice system.  I didn’t have the courage to do so.

The first incident happened when I was 10 years old.  It wasn’t an isolated case and it went on and off into my teenaged years.  

The second incident happened at a medical doctor’s office.  I had a cough and went in to see if I needed medication near my high school.  It turned out the doctor did the same thing to multiple girls in my school as well.  We were all 15 at the time.

The third incident happened at a workplace.  The CEO of the company gave me a title that I didn’t qualify for and took me to Thailand for different reasons than what had been discussed.  One of my coworkers was going to punch him in the face as this CEO was harassing me.  The only thing I managed to do was to pour a can of soda all over his head to stop him.

These are the major #MeToo moments in my life.

They had a profound impact in my life, from having no self-worth, to getting into tough relationships, to unable to speak up against opinions and ideas that I didn’t agree with.  The list could go on and on.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve come a long way.

I’m extremely grateful that I’ve since met the right guy, got married, have two kids and my own accounting practice.

There are moments in my life that I would still have a tough time to speak up against bullies, but I am getting better.

I am sharing this with you, because I have two children.  They are little, precious and vulnerable.

No one in our next generation deserves to go through this again.

I believe in leading our next generation by example.

Harvey Weinstein has a family, has daughters and a son.

It boggles my mind to see that he’s harassing and assaulting these actresses.  

Where is the respect for women?  What kind of example is he setting for his daughters to see?  His action is essentially telling his daughters that it’s okay for men to harass and/or assault them if the men are in power.  His action is also telling him that as the victims they should keep it quiet if they want a career.

What about his son?  His action is showing his son that it’s okay to harass and/or assault women.

One incident happened at his own home.  His wife and kids were in the living room while he’s inviting an actress up to his bedroom for the manuscript.  What is this action telling his kids about marriage/relationships?

These sexual harassment and assaults happen more often than you think, but somehow it becomes an acceptable culture.

Whether you are a man or woman, if you see someone getting harassed, speak up. Do the right thing.

If you are the victim, you’re not alone.  You don’t need to feel guilty and ashamed.  It wasn’t you, it was the predator’s fault.

It is not just about me, how I was a victim in the past.  It is about building a better future for our next generation.

Speaking of building a better future, let’s talk about the three small business changes that happened last week.

Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau would like to silence all the critics on the proposed tax changes on small business corporations.  They came out to announce a few changes.  The following two are the most relevant to real estate investors.

  1. Small business tax rates will be lowered to 14% in Ontario

    If you have a good memory, you would have remembered that Stephen Harper, our former Prime Minister, was the one who proposed to lower the federal tax rate from 11% gradually to 9% by 2019.

    Too bad he wasn’t elected.  The rate reduction only happened in 2016.  Justin Trudeau decided to stop there.

    Last Monday, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau decided that it’s great to start the week off to small business owners and decided to bring back the rate cut.

    It was proposed by the Conservatives, but now Liberals are taking credit.

    It’s still great news.  As an accountant, I always welcome rate cuts.

    With Ontario tax rate at 4.5%, combined federal and Ontario tax rate on small business is 15% now and expected to go down to 13.5% in 2019.

  2. Small business owners are now allowed to save $50K annually for passive income inside the corporation

    Our government didn’t like small business owners paying only 15% tax rate and save for their retirement within a corporate structure.

    In the proposed tax changes, they decided that it would be “fair” to tax the small business owners at the highest rate for their corporate investments.

    This had been one of the most contentious issues in the proposed tax changes.

    Bill Morneau decided that he would step back and allow small business owners to save $50K for passive investment and rainy-day funds.

    If you think about a regular business that has a few employees, like a restaurant, is $50K sufficient for emergency funds?

    How many months of expense would this $50K be equivalent to?

    Finance Minister also said that this same $50K that he allows us to use for passive investment would be equivalent to $1M in 20 years with compound interest earning through this 20 years.

    Speaking from someone who had been earning $65K dividend income monthly from his family business for a very long time, this doesn’t sound very fair.

    If we were not allowed to use corporations to invest our after tax small business income, who’s going to be the ultimate beneficiary?

    Apparently, if the proposed tax changes would go through, investing in something called Individual Pension Plan (IPP) can be more appealing to small business owners.  Contributions to the IPP can be deducted against the business and the small business owners can still save enough for retirement.

    Morneau Shepell, Bill Morneau’s family business, offers individual pension plans.

    If the $50K the government allows you to save isn’t enough, you know, you can always call Morneau Shepell up and get an individual pension plan setup.

Until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.

Cherry Chan, CPA, CA

Your Real Estate Accountant

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Hi Cherry, I’m obviously very upset about this Small business tax proposal. I currently take profits from my operating company, and either within the same company, or another holding company, buy/build rental property. How does this passive income proposal affect this, isn’t rental income already taxed at a higher rate than 15%. Or is the tax going to hit all money below 500k effectively removing the small business tax break. Or am I just understanding this all wrong. I looked to your various postings and can’t find clarity. Thanks

Yes passive income is taxed at 50%, but 30% is refundable when a taxable dividend is declared. Effectively you are paying the 20% in the corporation.
Whether you use the money from small business income or you loan the money to the corporation to do the purchase that’s what is happening right now.

So the government doesn’t like us to use the 15% after tax corporate earning to invest because it’s unfair to people who are working, as they claim. They will allow you keep $50K for investment, but the rest of the profit, even if you invest, you will be paying higher than the 50% with 30% refund.

Nobody knows how they are going to implement this. They said they would come up with a solution in the new year budget. They have made a few proposal asking for advice which could lead to 75% tax rate. So we are waiting for what they would come up with.

It is essentially a nightmare in terms of tax tracking on how you generate the source of the revenue.

Sean Brady

So as it pertains to real estate if you are limited to earning 50k of passive income (after expenses)… what would stop someone from creating several real estate holding companies (let’s say each holds 2-3 houses)

Real estate portfolio do not earn active business income. So we are not talking about the same thing here. $50K is related to active business income.

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