The 2009 federal Budget contains a few items relevant to Estates, particularly with respect to Registered Retirement Savings Plans (“RRSPs”). 

For a thorough review please see the 343-page document.  A Bloc Quebecois amendment to the Budget yesterday evening was defeated; Opposition Party amendments have yet to occur.  Budget speech to approval of the Budget motion could take up to four days.

While there are benefits for first-time home buyers in the Budget, and a host of infrastructure investments, not everyone is happy. Other media view the bad-time Budget as possibly providing the boost we need.

Regarding Estates, the Budget proposes that certain losses now be applied against terminal income – see page 318 of the Budget. The fair market value of investments held in an RRSP at the time of an RRSP annuitant’s death is generally included in the deceased’s income for the year of death. A subsequent increase in the value of the RRSP investments is generally included in the income of the RRSP beneficiaries upon distribution.

Similar rules apply in the case of Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). 

There is, however, no existing income tax provision to recognize a decrease in the value of RRSP or RRIF investments that occurs after the annuitant’s death and before they are distributed to beneficiaries.

Budget 2009 proposes to allow, upon the final distribution of property from a deceased annuitant’s RRSP or RRIF, the amount of post-death decreases in value of the RRSP or RRIF to be carried back and deducted against the year-of-death RRSP/RRIF income inclusion. The amount that may be carried back will generally be calculated as the difference between the amount in respect of the RRSP or RRIF included in the income of the annuitant as a result of his or her death and the total of all amounts paid out of the RRSP or RRIF after the death of the annuitant.

Assuming the Budget motion passes, this measure will apply in respect of deceased annuitants’ RRSPs or RRIFs where the final distribution from the RRSP or RRIF occurs after 2008.

This change, especially in this uncertain economy, might help to make a weak financial situation a bit more palatable.

Thank you for reading our blogs this week.  Enjoy your weekend. 

Jonathan