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investor clinic

I have two RRSPs, which I will need to convert to RRIFs later this year. I only want to take out the minimum withdrawal amount in 2023. Can I withdraw the entire amount from one account, or do I have to take the required minimum percentage from each account?

You must withdraw the required minimum from each account. If you have two RRIFs at two different financial institutions, for example, neither would know whether you had already made a RRIF withdrawal at the other. By requiring you to withdraw the minimum percentage from each RRIF account, the government avoids such confusion and guarantees that your total withdrawals meet the minimum threshold. Tip: Consider consolidating your RRSPs or RRIFs into one account. This will simplify the withdrawal process, making your life easier as you get older.

I’m 76 and my spouse is 75. We converted our registered retirement savings plans (hers was a spousal RRSP) to registered retirement income funds about five years ago. But, every year, the Canada Revenue Agency keeps advising me that “Your RRSP deduction limit is $2,726.” Why would the CRA provide this information if I can no longer contribute to an RRSP?

I ran your question by Dorothy Kelt of

“It sounds like he has a deduction limit carried forward that wasn’t used,” Ms. Kelt said. “If he had a spouse that was younger than 71, he would be able to contribute that much to her RRSP.”

Since your spouse is 75, the $2,726 of contribution room is of no benefit to you, unfortunately.

I was reading your column on the reinvested distribution from Canoe EIT Income Fund (EIT.UN) and I have a question: What happens if I hold this fund in a tax-free savings account?

Reinvested – or “phantom” – distributions are only an issue if the fund is held in a non-registered account. In such cases, the amount of the non-cash distribution should be added to the cost base of the units so that the investor does not pay more capital gains tax than necessary when the units are sold. In a TFSA, or any other registered account, phantom distributions can be ignored as capital gains taxes do not apply in such accounts.

Just wondering why there aren’t any royalty funds or corporations in your model Yield Hog Dividend Growth Portfolio. Is there something “wrong” with them compared with dividend payers?

No, there is nothing inherently wrong with royalty funds. These entities, which operate in sectors such as oil and gas, mining and the restaurant industry, earn a percentage – or “royalty” – on an operating company’s production or sales in exchange for providing an upfront payment.

When I launched my model portfolio in 2017, I held two royalty securities – Pizza Pizza Royalty Corp. (PZA) and A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund (AW.UN). However, I sold Pizza Pizza in 2018 after the chain, which has been hurt by third-party delivery apps, suffered a string of quarterly declines in same-store sales. I then sold A&W after the fund cut its distribution during the pandemic (as did Pizza Pizza). A&W and Pizza Pizza have since raised their distributions several times as pandemic restrictions have eased, and their stock prices have recovered nicely. Not my best calls, obviously.

Last year I tendered my Inter Pipeline Ltd. shares for Brookfield Infrastructure Corp. (BIPC) shares based on Brookfield’s offer of 0.25 of a share for each Inter Pipeline share. I had held my shares for a long time, but still came away with a loss. Can I claim a tax loss for that conversion?

Yes. If you look on the website under “Investors” and “Tax Election,” you’ll find the following:

“A Resident Holder that disposes of Common Shares to Brookfield Infrastructure for cash and/or BIPC Shares will be considered to have disposed of such Common Shares for proceeds of disposition equal to the aggregate fair market value of the cash and/or the BIPC Shares received.”

“Such a Resident Holder will realize a capital gain (or a capital loss) equal to the amount by which such proceeds of disposition, net of any reasonable costs of disposition, exceed (or are less than) the aggregate adjusted cost base to the Resident Holder of the Common Shares disposed of.”

Assuming you are a “resident holder” – that is, a Canadian resident taxpayer – you should be able to claim the loss for tax purposes, but I recommend you confirm this with your accountant or tax adviser. For investors who had a gain on their Inter Pipeline shares, the rules were slightly different. In that case, investors had the option to defer their capital gain but only if they elected to receive Brookfield Infrastructure Exchange Limited Partnership units.

E-mail your questions to I’m not able to respond personally to e-mails but I choose certain questions to answer in my column.

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