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Posts Tagged ‘RRSP’

Flags of North America

On June 4, 2011, I heard a successful American commodities futures trader say on a long-running radio program that Canada’s highest marginal dividend income tax rate was 53% (at 29:45), and that Canadian citizens living in Canada can only have 20% of their assets invested in foreign securities.

Now for the reality:

The highest combined federal and provincial dividend income tax rate for foreign securities as of 2011 is 50% in Nova Scotia, with a population of less than one million out of Canada’s 34 million people. For Canadian publicly-traded securities, it’s only 34.85%.

As for the restriction on foreign securities, it only applied to Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), it was 30%, and was repealed as far back as 2005, leaving no foreign content restrictions.

Having cleared that up, we can now move on to the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom ranking Canada as more economically free than the United States in 2010 and 2011.

Big Four accounting firm KPMG ranked Canada as being more business tax friendly than the United States in 2010. Why is that?

While the U.S. federal government raised taxes to pay for Obamacare for four years before any coverage will be provided, Canada has cut its corporate taxes, leaving the U.S. in the dust with the second-highest corporate tax rate of the 46 OECD countries in 2011, at 35%, with Canada’s rate the third-lowest at only 16.5%.

Finally, Canada had no socialist bank, insurance and mortgage lender bailouts since the 2008 financial crisis, unlike the United States.

Welcome to the new Canada!

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RRSP withholding taxAs the RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) contribution deadline approaches on March 1 in Canada, a regular reader of this site pointed out to me that you can divide your RRSP withdrawals into $5000 chunks to limit the withholding tax.

Taxtips.ca shows that the withholding tax brackets for lump sum withdrawals outside of Quebec are:

10% for withdrawals of $1 to $5000
20% for withdrawals of $5001 to $15,000
30% for withdrawals greater than $15,000

In Quebec, the tax is half those amounts.

Therefore, if you want to withdraw $20,000, as an example, you can do so with four separate withdrawals of $5000 each and only be liable for $2000 in immediate withholding tax instead of $4000, leaving you with $2000 to spend or invest before the April 30 tax filing deadline of the following year.

At that time you will be required to pay the remaining amount of tax owed on those withdrawals.

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