50% of the business investment loss can be used to reduce taxable income, as an allowable business investment loss (ABIL), which:
A loss may not qualify as a business investment loss under certain circumstances, such as when a capital gains deduction has been claimed in prior years.
Worthless Shares or Debt
A taxpayer can elect under s. 50(1) to have disposed of the above shares or debt for nil proceeds and to have reacquired the shares or debt immediately after the end of the year for nil cost if:
The advantage of this is that the taxpayer can write off the investment while still retaining ownership. The investment may be worth something in the future. If the loss is from debt owed to the taxpayer by the corporation, the taxpayer may use the corporation for starting another business in the future, at which time the debt could be recovered, because it would still be recorded on the books of the corporation. Any recovery of amounts previously deducted would have to be included in income.
The allowable business investment loss is claimed on line 217 of the personal income tax return.
For the tax treatment of worthless publicly traded shares or debt, see our article Worthless Shares or Debt.
There are many factors to be considered when selling a business, to determine the best disposition method. Professional advice can be very valuable in this regard.
Tax Tip: Before investing in or selling any business, get professional advice.
Revised: June 10, 2015
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