Is there such thing as a Personal Real Estate Corporation or a Real Estate Professional Corporation in Ontario?
Simply put, the answer is “No”. Unlike other provinces, such as British Columbia, in Ontario Real Estates Salespersons or Brokers cannot self-incorporate as a Realtor and enjoy some of the income tax benefits that an incorporated active business can in Ontario. The only allowed corporate entities in the Ontario real estate profession are the brokerages themselves. The benefit of a professional corporation that is available to lawyers, doctors, dentists and accountants to name a few, is that these professionals can provide their services through their professional corporation thus directing all revenues to this entity and writing off all of the matched expenses they incur in the process. This will allow them to better manage their income, as well as higher other individuals such as their spouse and or children to help – thereby affording them a salary as well. Essentially then, the professional is able to reduce their what would have been personal income by writing off expenses they otherwise could not. As well as reasonably split their income with family members who are most likely taxed at lower marginal rates as they may have no other sources of income. Furthermore, money that is not necessary for personal use during the calender year can be kept in the corporation. This would then be taxed at the low corporate tax rates for active businesses. In Ontario the combined federal and provincial corporate tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income is only 15.50%, and then 26.50% for every dollar thereafter. Thus, if the professional is not drawing all of the corporate net income by way of a salary or as a fee for service through an independent contractor arrangement, the balance will remain in the company and taxed at much lower rates. This will effectively free up cash flow within the company to invest in other things such as expanding the business itself or investing in passive income generating instruments or assets such as real estate. There are some rules that limit the business activities to only that of the profession or anything ancillary thereto, but there is usually an allowance to invest in passive income generating instruments and assets with the excess cash flow. However, no professional corporation or personal real estate corporation in Canada allows for a professional to absolve themselves from professional negligence, carelessness, errors or omissions. Unlike regular corporations, professionals remain responsible for their errors and omissions while providing professional services. However, for anything else, such as corporate loans, debts, or contractual obligations, the professionals as shareholders will enjoy the same limited liability as in any other corporation (so long as they do not personally guarantee the loan, debt or contractual obligation).