Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of Canadians are uncertain how dividend income is treated from a tax perspective.

With the April 15 U.S. tax deadline now past, a new study reveals that 51 percent of Canadians regularly seek tax-smart options when considering new investments.

BMO Nesbitt Burns published this finding in a summary of results from an online survey of 1,007 Canadians. Conducted by Pollara, the study also finds that most Canadians say they are lack knowledge about the tax treatment of certain types of investment income that can reduce their tax liability. For instance:

  • 59 percent are unsure how capital gains are taxed; and
  • 59 percent are uncertain how dividend income is treated from a tax perspective.

“One of the reasons why people don’t seek out tax efficient investing solutions may very well be because many don’t fully understand how investments are taxed,” says John Waters, vice-president, head of tax & estate planning, BMO Nesbitt Burns. “Being aware of how investments are affected by taxes is the first step to being tax smart with your portfolio, and can be crucial in maximizing your overall return.”

The study also finds that 54 percent of respondents say that tax credits offered on charitable donations do not have much (or any) influence on their decision to give. The following is a regional breakdown of the survey results:

Region Regularly seek out tax efficient investment options when considering a new investment Not very, or at all, knowledgeable about how capital gains are taxed Not very, or at all, knowledgeable about how dividend income is taxed Say the tax credit offered on charitable donations does not influence much or at all their decision to donate
National 51% 59% 59% 54%
Atlantic 38% 72% 69% 55%
Quebec 59% 66% 56% 54%
Ontario 50% 55% 58% 53%
Prairies 51% 63% 65% 54%
Alberta 51% 52% 57% 48%
B.C. 45% 53% 59% 61%