DEFINITION of 'Specified Investment Flow-Through Tax - SIFT'
A tax implemented by the Canadian government on the distributions of a special type of Canadian income trust. SIFT trusts was a common business structure in Canada that provided beneficial tax advantages prior to 2006. They are actively managed and commonly used by businesses that essentially operate like corporations.
In October, 2006, the Canadian government decided that the tax advantages available to SIFT trusts were "not appropriate" (meaning that the government was not collecting as much tax revenue as it wanted to), and implemented a new tax under the Tax Fairness Plan that made SIFT taxation similar to corporate taxation.
BREAKING DOWN 'Specified Investment Flow-Through Tax - SIFT'
Prior to the imposition of the new tax, income trusts comprised roughly 10% of companies traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with a large number of those being energy companies. As a result of the change in tax law, many SIFT trusts converted to a corporate structure. The tax became effective for preexisting income trusts on January 1, 2011.