Top tax stories of 2015

By Staff | December 21, 2015 | Last updated on December 21, 2015
2 min read

It’s been a busy year on the tax front, and we’ve kept tabs on the government’s every move. Here are 2015’s biggest stories.


They were great while they lasted, but graduated rates for testamentary trusts will be read their last rites on New Year’s Eve. For some clients, however, they’ll live on—albeit for a relatively short time—in the form of Graduated Rate Estates (GREs) or Qualified Disability Trusts (QDTs).

If clients were thinking of soothing the sting of these changes by setting up trusts in Alberta, they should think again, because the tax situation in oil country ain’t what it used to be.


This year’s federal budget streamlined the T1135 requirement for certain taxpayers. What a relief! But don’t get too excited, because T1135 reporting is still no easy task. This article flags parts of the form that are easy to screw up, and explains how to get it right.


You asked for it, you got it. Minimum RRIF withdrawals were lowered this year, but did the government go far enough? One think tank says No.

But it’s not even clear your clients should take advantage of the lower minimums. And if they have GMWBs, the new RRIF rules may not be so welcome after all.

Probate in Ontario

Valuing an estate for probate used to be a piece of cake. Not any more. The Ontario government felt some executors were lowballing estate values, so they stiffened up the reporting regime.


Insurance is complicated business, and new rules make it more so. In addition to modernized exempt testing that reflects the fact people are living longer, new rules impact corporate-owned life insurance and capital dividend account strategies. They also result in more tax for insured annuities.

But it’s not all bad. Here’s a rundown of pros and cons.

Charitable giving

New rules change the way clients plan for donations on death, giving executors more flexibility. This year also saw the government take steps toward extending favourable tax treatment to donations of private company shares and real estate. See what it might look like with this case study. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.