DEFINITION of 'Specified Investment Flow-Through Trust (SIFT)'

A type of income trust that holds publicly traded investments, has at least one non-portfolio property, and is resident in Canada. SIFT trusts are a common type of business structure in Canada. The trusts were intended to provide tax advantages for non-commercial investments, but became widely used by commercial businesses. The United States and Australia formerly had similar business entities.

BREAKING DOWN 'Specified Investment Flow-Through Trust (SIFT)'

The Canadian government decided that the tax advantages businesses had by using SIFT trusts as opposed to a corporate structure were "not appropriate", and in October 2006 enacted a tax fairness plan that included a provision for taxing distributions on publicly traded income trusts. The provisions went into effect for preexisting income trusts beginning January 1, 2011, and for new income trusts (after October 2006) beginning January 1, 2007. Many preexisting SIFT trusts decided to convert to a corporate ownership structure because of these changes to the tax law.



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