The Art of Tax Loss Selling
by Mark Nichol

If you have bought and sold capital property this year you should review these transactions to determine whether you need to do some balancing transactions.  The effect of selling off investments to create gains or losses can improve your income tax position for 2016. This year, you have until December 27th to make any transactions count.

To begin:  Gather the following information and book an appointment with one of our financial advisors:

  1. Find your notice of assessment (NOA) from 2015 which includes description of your tax assessment and carry forward summary from previous years.
  2. Compile a list of transactions that resulted in a gain or loss from your non-registered investment accounts. Gains or losses are your proceeds from sale of investments, less your adjusted cost base (ACB). Your financial advisor can provide you with such a report, or, create a spreadsheet adding all of the proceeds from the investments sold, and subtract the ACB of those same investments.
  • Any other capital property sold in 2016, other than your personal residence, is a capital gain or loss that should be included in your total gain or loss.

Calculate your current taxable gain position with the following:


  1. NOA Capital loss Carry-forward 2015 $ (______________________)
  2. Capital gain or loss from securities $ _______________________
  3. Capital gain or loss on capital property $ _______________________
  4. Total capital gain = lines 2+3 $ _______________________
  5. Taxable Capital Gains = (line 4 X 0.5) $ _______________________

If line 5 minus line 1 is positive, you should consider a tax loss selling strategy because:

  1. The taxable gain identified in 5 may push you into a new marginal tax bracket.
  2. You may be subject to OAS claw back if income is above $73756.
  3. You have unrealized capital gains or losses in your investment account.
  4. You may lose your guaranteed income supplement benefit for one year.
  5. Pharmacare entitlements may also be lost for one year.

If line 1 plus line 5 is negative, you should consider reducing loss by selling investments with unrealized capital gain to balance the gain or loss as close to zero as possible.

Tax loss selling is a strategy that reduces taxable capital gains, resulting in the least amount of tax payable for the current year.  This strategy can also be used to reduce previous years reported gains to $0.  Each situation will be different, with the most appropriate action resulting in lower tax being paid or a refund of prior year’s income tax.  If you would like help with your tax loss selling, please give our office a call at (250) 338-2715, or visit our website at


This article was prepared solely by Mark Nichol, Roy Collings, and David Storrie who are registered representatives of HollisWealth® (a division of Scotia Capital Inc., a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada).  The views and opinions, including any recommendations, expressed in this article are those of Infinity Wealth alone and not those of HollisWealth. The comments contained herein are general in nature and professional advice regarding an individual’s particular situation should be obtained in respect of any person’s specific circumstances. HollisWealth and the Scotiabank companies do not provide income tax preparation services nor do they supervise or review other persons who may provide such services.® Registered trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence.