Payment deadline nears for prescribed-rate loans

By Rudy Mezzetta | January 22, 2024 | Last updated on January 22, 2024
2 min read
Serious caucasian old elderly senior couple grandparents family counting funds on calculator, doing paperwork, savings, paying domestic bills, mortgage loan, pension at home using laptop.
iStock / Inside Creative House

If you have a prescribed-rate loan with a spouse or other family member, make sure the borrower pays interest on that loan on or before Jan. 30.

Failure to pay by that deadline will result in any investment income earned on the loan being attributed back to the lender for the year the interest was incurred — and all subsequent years. As a result, the strategy will no longer allow you and your family member to split income, which is usually why the loan was set up in the first place.

However, if the annual interest is paid within 30 days of year-end, the loan can remain in effect at the prescribed rate that was current when the loan was originally made.

A prescribed-rate loan strategy involves someone in a high tax bracket loaning money for investment purposes to a spouse, common-law partner or adult child in a lower tax bracket so the investment income is taxed at that lower rate, thus achieving income splitting and tax savings. 

To avoid the investment income being taxed in the hands of the person in the higher bracket, the loan must be executed with a minimum interest rate as dictated by income tax regulations, known as the prescribed rate. The lower the prescribed rate on the loan, the greater the potential for income splitting using a prescribed-rate loan strategy. 

Maintaining the original rate is crucial if the prescribed-rate loan was established when interest rates were much lower than they are currently. As recently as the second quarter of 2022, the prescribed rate was 1%, the lowest rate at which the prescribed rate for family loans can be set. However, the prescribed rate has since risen with inflation. For the first quarter of 2024, the prescribed rate is 6%

The borrower must transfer the interest payment to the lender and document the transaction, as the Canada Revenue Agency could ask for evidence that interest was paid.

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Rudy Mezzetta

Rudy is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on tax, estate planning, industry news and more since 2005. Reach him at