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Annuity Taxation - Fiscal Agents Money Management Newsletter - Canadian

The Companion Advisor: Retirement Planning

Annuity Taxation

Contributed by Manulife Financial

A Companion Advisor Article

Annuities, like any other investment, are subject to tax. The taxation of annuities will depend on the type of funds used to purchase the annuity, and whether or not the annuity was purchased on a tax deferred "prescribed" basis. Below is a brief description of the different methods of annuity taxation.

Registered annuities

Annuities purchased from RRSPs, Locked-in RRSPs, RRIFs, LRIFs, LIFs, or pension funds are considered registered annuities. For registered annuities, all annuity income paid out in a calendar year is taxable to the owner in the year the payment is received.

Non-registered annuities

Non-registered annuities are taxed in one of two ways:

    1. Prescribed (on a cash basis), or
    2. Non-prescribed (on an accrual basis).

Prescribed annuities

Prescribed taxation may be available for annuities purchased with non-registered funds. Prescribed annuities are not subject to the accrual taxation rules where interest is taxed as earned (ie. with higher amounts in the early years and lower amounts in the later years). Instead, the total expected interest to be earned over the life of the entire contract is spread evenly over all payments.

Single Life Annuities, Joint and Survivor Life Annuities, and Term Certain Annuities can all be prescribed. Taxation of prescribed annuities is on a calendar year basis - the taxpayer receives a tax slip for the interest portion of all payments received in a calendar year.

Prescribed taxation is generally more favorable than non-prescribed taxation, because the tax is averaged over the lifetime of the annuity providing an element of tax deferral. An exception to this rule is for Accelerated Annuities (which are based on shortened life expectancy), because prescribed taxation is based on normal life expectancy. In these cases, non-prescribed taxation may be more beneficial.

To qualify for "level" prescribed taxation within non-registered contracts, the following is a partial list of conditions that must all be met:

  • The annuity must be purchased with non-registered funds,
  • The payments must not be guaranteed beyond the owner's 91st birthday (or the 91st birthday of the youngest annuitant for a joint and survivor Life Annuity),
  • The payments must be level (indexing is not allowed),
  • The owner and the person entitled to the payments (payee) must be the same and may not be

    a corporation,

  • The payments must begin in the current or next calendar year.

Non-prescribed annuities

Non-prescribed annuities are taxed using accrual taxation and the income earned on the contract must be reported in the taxpayer's income on each anniversary day of the policy. Taxation of non-prescribed annuities is on a policy year basis - the taxpayer receives a tax slip for the interest portion of all payments received in a policy year. Since individuals report their income on a calendar year basis, the amount reported on an anniversary day is included in the individual's income for the calendar year in which the anniversary day falls.

In general, clients should consider the tax advantages of prescribed annuities over non-prescribed annuities. However, there are situations where non-prescribed annuities are appropriate for a client. These situations include clients who want:

  • A payment guarantee past their 91st birthday,
  • Payments indexed to help combat inflation,
  • The annuity to be owned by a corporation (not an individual), or
  • An Accelerated Annuity / Nursing Care Income Plan, in some cases.

"What if the money runs out?" Arranging nursing home or long term care for an elderly family member is no easy task. For many, managing the cost of nursing care is a serious concern. If your parent or relative outlives his or her savings, how long can your family continue to pay for the desired level of care - and at what cost to your own lifestyle or retirement plans?

Manulife has created the Nursing Care Income Plan - it's a plan designed to provide the certainty of guaranteed lifetime income based on one up-front investment.

The plan features a guarantee that pays your family member's monthly nursing home fees for as long as your family member lives. It could save you and your family thousands of dollars and years of worry.

With help from Manulife we are featuring a few new case studies about Annuities - that further explain the in's and out's of this plan.

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(905) 844-7700


Category: Annuity

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