There are significant tax advantages to selling the shares of an active small business corporation rather than selling the assets. There is a capital gain exemption available for each resident of Canada that shelters the gain on an active small business, up to about $820,000 per person (indexed annually). What this means is that you can have a gain of up to $820,000 and pay no personal income tax. This is an individual exemption which means that everyone who is resident in Canada has one.
You can keep more of the proceeds away from CRA on the sale of your business if you sell shares rather than assets. There is no exemption if you sell assets.
The shares of a corporation are sold by the individual who owns the shares, whereas the assets of a corporation are sold by the corporation itself. There is the potential for double taxation with an asset sale because the corporation sells the assets and pays tax on the gain on the sale. At this point the shareholder pays tax on the money left over when they remove what is left from the corporation.
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