October 2, 2017 saw the end of the 75 day consultation period offered by the Department of Finance. The public response to the proposed rule changes was significant with the general public, industry bodies and professional advisors all weighing in on the measures. So, what now?
At a conference organized by the Canadian Tax Foundation which brought together members of the Department of Finance and tax advisors, Finance was unable to definitively identify their next steps, beyond reviewing the submissions made during the consultation period. Many of the speakers at the event suggested the government take the time needed to get the changes right, rather than rushing through. Suggestions included striking a royal commission, or similar group that broadly includes stakeholders – including Finance – to study the topics, define the problems, and find solutions that fit the problem.
Let’s hope at a minimum Finance modifies the proposed changes which currently would prevent the use of “pipeline planning” to prevent double taxation on the death of private company shareholders. There were favourable comments at the conference around relaxing the rules as they may apply to existing estates such as possible grandfathering rules to allow the use of the existing law by estates which pre-date the July 18, 2017 effective date.
We wait and see – thanks for reading.