Ottawa, February 26, 2010

Archived - Minister of Finance Announces New Tax Proposals to Accommodate Employee Life and Health Trusts

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced his intention to propose amendments to the Income Tax Act to accommodate employee life and health trusts.

“These proposed amendments will ensure that a fair and neutral tax regime applies to employee life and health trusts,” said Minister Flaherty. “The Government of Canada remains committed to a fair and competitive tax system.”

The proposed amendments would:

  • Create a new type of taxable trust in the Income Tax Act, an employee life and health trust;
  • Provide rules regarding the timing of deductions of any pre-funding of such a trust by an employer;
  • Allow the trust to deduct in computing its income all amounts paid from the trust to employees or retirees in respect of benefits, even if employees receive those amounts tax-free;
  • Provide rules governing the carryback and carryforward of any losses arising after the deduction of employee benefit payments by the trust; 
  • Preserve the same tax treatment for employee benefits received from the trust as if they had been received directly from the employer (many types of health and welfare employment benefits are tax-exempt for employees under the existing income tax rules); and
  • Provide special rules applicable to employee life and health trusts whose beneficiaries include employee shareholders, highly compensated employees or related persons to ensure that the trusts do not offer unfair advantages to these individuals.

The proposed amendments would apply to trusts established after 2009. A more detailed overview of the proposed amendments can be found in the accompanying backgrounder.

Draft legislative amendments to implement these proposals, together with explanatory notes, also accompany this release. Amendments to regulations regarding withholding and reporting in relation to employee benefits paid by employee life and health trusts will be brought forward when the legislation is introduced.

The Government intends to introduce legislation in respect of these proposals at an early opportunity. Consequently, any comments on the attached draft proposals are requested by April 30, 2010. Comments may be submitted to the Tax Legislation Division of the Department of Finance.

For further information, media may contact:

Annette Robertson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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