A poll by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says parents are willing to pay their adult children thousands of dollars, if that’s what it takes to get them to leave home.

The CIBC Gifting Poll, conducted in late June, finds that 76 per cent of parents with a child 18 years or older still living at home are willing to provide cash to help their kids move out, marry or move in with a partner.

Nearly half the parents surveyed, 47 per cent, are willing to pay an average of $24,000 to make this happen.

“Given the option, almost two-thirds of parents would prefer to give cash rather than have their adult child and partner/spouse live with them,” CIBC said.

According to data compiled by Statistics Canada from the 2011 census, 42.3 per cent of young adults aged 20 to 29 were still living in their parents’ home. That was up from 32.1 per cent in 1991 and 26.9 per cent in 1981.

Providing cash to adult children is more than just a way to encourage them to move out. It’s also a means to transfer “never money” — that is, wealth parents don’t expect they’ll need within their lifetimes — to the next generation.

Indeed, Canadians are expected to inherit $750 billion over the next decade in what CIBC describes as a “bequest boom.”

According to the poll, 71 per cent of parents would pass along an inheritance to their children or grandchildren if they received one today, even though few understand the tax implications of doing so.

While CIBC says there are, in fact, no such taxes on monetary gifts for the recipients, only 31 per cent of the survey respondents knew this to be the case. Nearly seven out of 10 Canadians admitted they don’t know what taxes exist on gifts.

“There may be some questions just from a compliance standpoint,” said Tony Salgado, director of business transition planning at CIBC. “But in terms of legislation and from a tax or legal perspective, there is nothing that says you can only get X amount.”

That said, there may be lots of tax implications related with how parents or grandparents access the money they wish to give to relatives and grandchildren.

For example, dipping into a Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) or a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) to fund a cash gift may trigger a tax situation. As well, a gift “in kind” of an asset, such as real estate, will be treated as a sale of property at fair market value and will be subject to capital gains tax.

There are also tax implications on what recipients do with the money or property they receive. While they might not pay tax on the value of the gift itself, they will be liable for any future income they earn thanks to that gift, Salgado said.

Gifts aren’t supposed to come with strings attached, but the CIBC survey found that half of parents still want some say in how their gifts will be used. If that’s the case, parents should consider setting up a trust. This option is more complicated than an outright gift and likely requires the help of legal and tax advisors.

The CIBC Gifting Poll, conducted by Angus Reid Forum. surveyed 3,021 Canadians online on June 29-30. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Financial Post
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