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Tax changes to expect when you’re expecting
2016 Tax Tips for 2015 Filing Year
From Proprietorship to Corporation - When is the Best Time to Incorporate?
Tax Specialists Brief your Clients About CRA Fraud And E-Mail Scams
Bank of Canada cuts rates again

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Tax changes to expect when you’re expecting


Tax changes to expect when you’re expecting - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog



Tax changes to expect when you’re expecting





Congratulations! If you have a new baby or have a baby on the way, there are plenty of credits and benefits you may be eligible to receive.
Important facts
Your child will also be registered for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
  • My Account – If you do not live in a participating province, you can apply for the Canada child and family benefits by using the Apply for child benefits service through My Account or by completing and mailing Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application to your tax centre
Explanations of these benefits:
  • Canada child tax benefit (CCTB) – The CCTB is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
  • Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – If you have children under the age of 18, you may be entitled to this taxable benefit, which supports child care choices for families. For the 2015 tax year, under UCCB, families will receive $160 per month for each child under 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17. Payments are issued monthly.
  • Provincial and territorial programsMost provinces and territories have child and family benefit and credit programs that combine with your Canada child tax benefit and the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
  • GST/HST credit – Families with low or modest incomes can receive this tax-free quarterly payment to offset some of the GST/HST they pay.
  • Working income tax benefit (WITB) – Low-income families that are in the workforce can claim this refundable tax credit to get personal tax relief. With a child as your eligible dependant, you may now be able to claim this tax credit or the amount claimed may increase.
  • Disability amount – If you or your dependant has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, you or your dependant may be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). To determine eligibility, you must complete Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and have it certified by a medical practitioner. Canadians claiming the credit will be able to file online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201 has been submitted to the CRA for that tax year.
  • Child disability benefit (CDB) – The CDB is a tax-free benefit for families who care for a child under age 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
  • Registered education savings plan (RESP) – You can start saving for your child’s future now. An RESP is a contract between you (the subscriber) and another individual or organization (the promoter) that allows you to make contributions toward your child’s future education. Programs such as the Canada education savings grant (CESG) and the Canada learning bond (CLB) are other great incentives to create an RESP for your child.
For more information on child and family benefits, go to www.cra.gc.ca/benefits.
 
 

2016 Tax Tips for 2015 Filing Year

2016 Tax Tips for 2015 Filing Year


2016 Tax Tips for 2015 Filing Year- www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog


Did you know that last tax filing season, the average tax refund was just under $1,800, or about $150 a month? That’s a lot of money to give to the government on an interest-free basis. Yet that’s what almost 17 million tax filers did and CRA paid back approximately $30 Billion dollars. Astute tax filers will want to get that money back working for their own futures quickly this year. If that includes you, do file your tax return early and accurately. But make sure you have all your documentation, first.
Make a point of acquiring and reviewing tax software if you are NETFILING this year. If you hire a pro, make an appointment as soon as possible to determine what is needed to meet new tax filing rules and discuss what has changed in your personal affairs. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, new jobs and job terminations – all can impact the tax return.

Tax Specialists Brief your Clients About CRA Fraud And E-Mail Scams

Tax Specialists Brief  your Clients About CRA Fraud And E-Mail Scams-www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog


Tax Specialists Brief  your Clients About CRA Fraud And E-Mail Scams



It’s a warm summer day. You’re relaxing in the yard and wondering what could possibly make this day better. And then, out of the blue, you receive an e-mail from Canada Revenue Agency stating that they’ve discovered they owe you money!  Could this be true?  Or, do you need to wake up and smell the coffee . . . .?  There are two scams in particular to brief your clients about:  Refund and Collection Scams.
 
Refund Scams.  Even though hundreds of millions of individuals use e-mail daily, CRA does not.   So it’s pretty much  guaranteed that the e-mail you just received  asking for your banking information so that CRA can deposit the funds into your account, is not legitimate.  In fact, when you go to check that the funds have been deposited, you will find that you have become a victim and all your funds are gone.
While scams like this are not new and have been happening probably as long as there has been e-mail, they seem to have been especially aggressive this year; CRA currently lists 22 variations of e-mail scams  that are being used to extract money from your clients fraudulently.
In addition to e-mail schemes, scammers also use text messages, online form submissions and, in some cases, good old snail mail!
So, a key tax literacy message for your clients is this: CRA does not communicate with taxpayers by electronic means outside of the “My Account” and “My Business Account” portals on their website.
Collection Scams.  Reports of telephone calls purportedly from CRA Collections have been making the news recently. According to the CRA newsroom, these calls are very aggressive in nature and go as far as threatening court charges, jail or deportation. The caller demands immediate payment by credit card and, if no credit card exists, demands the immediate purchase of a prepaid credit card.
So what should your clients do if they receive one of these types of communications? CRA recommends that anyone potentially the victim of a fraud ask themselves these questions:
  • Is there a reason that CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
  • Is the requestor asking for information I would not include on my tax return?
  • Is the requestor asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
  • How did the requestor get my e-mail address or telephone number?
  • Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?Remember, you can always turn the tables. Ask the caller for the amount on line 150 of your latest tax return. If they can’t or won’t answer that question, they are not from CRA.If you or your clients have received suspected fraudulent communications from someone, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.
  • http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ntcs/frdlntmls-eng.html      

Bank of Canada cuts rates again


Bank of Canada cuts rates again -www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog

Bank of Canada cuts rates again



OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.5 percent on Wednesday, saying an unexpected economic contraction in the first half of the year had added to excess capacity and put downward pressure on inflation.
"Additional monetary stimulus is required at this time to help return the economy to full capacity and inflation sustainably to target," the central bank said in the interest rate decision that accompanied its quarterly Monetary Policy Report.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz had expected a recovery by now from the oil price crash that hit Canada's oil-exporting economy in the first quarter, but that projection proved far too optimistic.
The bank now expects the economy to have shrunk at an annualized 0.5 percent in the second quarter instead of growing by 1.8 percent as Poloz had projected in April. It contracted 0.6 percent in the first quarter.
The bank did not use the word "recession" but the projection of negative growth in both the first and second quarters meets a widely accepted definition of a recession.
The market had been split on whether the bank would cut rates for the second time this year after holding them steady for about four years. The bank had delivered a surprise cut in January that was designed to counter the dive in oil prices, and markets had reacted sharply to that move.
They did so again on Wednesday with the Canadian dollar dropping to a six-year low, and Canadian government bond prices rising sharply and outperforming U.S. Treasuries. [CAD/]
The Canadian dollar tumbled to its weakest level - C$1.2929, or 77.35 U.S. cents - since March 2009 against its U.S. counterpart, hurt also by predictions that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates this year.
"The currency is in uncharted waters here," said Derek Holt, vice president of economics at Bank of Nova Scotia, citing a risk that the Canadian dollar weakens to as low as C$1.30 against the greenback, then diving to C$1.40.
"If the Fed is hiking, we think by September, and the Bank of Canada appears to be leaving the door open to additional rate stimulus, all bets are off."
The bank said excess capacity in the economy grew significantly in the first half and would continue to do so in the third quarter, even with expected economic growth of 1.5 percent.
It therefore pushed back to the first half of 2017 its projection of when full capacity will be reached and inflation return to the bank's 2 percent target. Its previous projection had been for the end of 2016.
The bank acknowledged elevated vulnerabilities from a hot housing market in Toronto and Vancouver and from rising household debt, a key factor that had spurred some economists to advise against a rate cut. It said, however, that the economy was undergoing "a significant and complex adjustment" and required additional stimulus. It continued to see a soft landing in housing.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for Poloz, former head of the federal export agency, has been what the bank said was a "puzzling" weakness in non-energy exports. He had hoped such exports would help overwhelm the negative effects of lower oil prices on business investment and incomes.
But the bank said its base-case projection assumes "that this unexplained weakness is temporary and that the relationship between exports and foreign activity will reassert itself in the coming quarter".
The bank said the main dangers to its inflation outlook were a larger-than-expected decline in oil and gas investment, weaker non-energy exports, imbalances in the Canadian household sector and stronger U.S. private demand.
 
 
 
 
 

OAS to Increase by $1.13 per Month


OAS to Increase by $1.13 per Month -www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog

OAS to Increase by $1.13 per Month


Seniors will see an increase in their monthly OAS cheques in July, but they’ll have to resort to the 99-cent menu to buy anything with the extra pension.
Old Age Security is indexed quarterly and seniors have seen no increases since October of 2014. 
The maximum OAS (for those who have been in Canada at least 20 years and started on their 65th birthday) increases from $563.74 to $564.87 – an increase of $1.13 per month or 0.2%.  Seniors who qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance will also receive the 0.2% increase beginning in July.
 
 
 

Selling the US Vacation Property



Selling the US Vacation Property -www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog

Selling the US Vacation Property


With real estate prices soaring in the US and the Canadian dollar falling in value against the greenback, Canadians who invested in a vacation property in the US may be tempted to sell their US cottage and purchase a Canadian cottage instead. 
 
But it’s important to understand the tax consequences on both sides of the border before they do.
Here’s an example to illustrate:   Sarah and George purchased a home in Phoenix in 2011 for $190,000US ($191,000CAN), including costs. Today, the home is worth $290,000US (about $358,000CAN). This represents an accrued gain of $167,000CAN (a $100,000 US gain in the States). The value of the couple’s home in Canada, meanwhile,  has increased only $20,000 over the same time period. What are the tax consequences if the couple sells the US property and uses the proceeds to purchase a cottage closer to home?
The disposition of the US property will create a taxable capital gain to be reported on a US return ($100,000 US). In Canada, the capital gain could be minimized by designating the US property as the couple’s principal residence for all but one year from 2011 to 2015. However, the elimination of the capital gains tax on the Canadian return comes at a price. If the gain is taxable in Canada, the US taxes paid could be claimed as a foreign tax credit.
But if the gain is tax-free in Canada, the foreign tax credit cannot be claimed. At the same time, claiming the US property as a principal residence means the gain on their Canadian home becomes taxable.
Since the US tax cannot be eliminated, the only way to ensure that the same gain is not taxed in both jurisdictions is to make sure that at least $100,000US of the capital gain is taxed in Canada in the year of sale. That’s about $123,000CAN, depending on the exchange rate at the time of the sale.
 
With a $167,000CAN gain, 26% of the gain could be exempted and the couple could still claim the foreign tax credit. By choosing to designate the US property as their principal residence for one year, 33% ([1+1]/6) of the gain would be exempt in Canada, limiting the foreign tax credit claim.
By choosing not to designate the US property as their principal residence, 1/6 of the gain would be exempt, allowing the full foreign tax credit.
Of course, in this or any other case, the actual amount of taxes payable in the US and Canada would have to be determined to ensure that choosing not to claim the principal residence exemption for any of the years owned results in the lowest overall taxes payable.
This type of transaction, therefore, should be reviewed well in advance by a Tax Services Specialist  to get the best tax results over time for the sale or deemed disposition of both residences.
 
 
 
 

Two-Parent Families With Kids: $85,000 Is Median After Tax Income

Two-Parent Families With Kids: $85,000 Is Median After Tax Income - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog



Two-Parent Families With Kids: $85,000 Is Median After Tax Income
 
Written by: Evelyn Jacks
The Canadian Income Survey for 2013 for 2013 was released by Statistics Canada on July 8.  While things are virtually unchanged from 2012, some interesting facts emerge about the income levels earned by Canadian families
The survey defines market income as “earnings, private pensions as well as income from investments and other sources such as support and disability payments”.  After-tax income is defined as the total of market income and government transfers, less income tax.  The survey also defines those who live in “economic families”, as groups of two or more people who live together in the same dwelling who are related by blood, marriage or common-law, adoption, or in a foster relationship.  For the purposes of this article, we’ll call all others, “singles”.
It is clear that when it comes to making ends meet, the numbers squarely favor economic families over singlehood:
  • Senior families.  Where the highest earner in the family was 65 years or older (senior families) median after-tax income was $52,500 in 2013.  Singles in this age group has after-tax income of $25,700.
  • Non-senior Families.  Median after tax income in this group was $77,100; for singles in this group the after-tax income was $29,800.
  • Parents with Children. .  Two-parent families with children had median after-tax income of $85,000.  Lone parent families had median after tax income of $41,700, with families headed by a woman earning slightly less:  $39,400.According to the survey, the median amount of income tax paid, including both federal and provincial tax, by non-senior families was $11,700 in 2013; in contrast, the median paid by senior families was just $3,100.How much do top earners make? The top 10 percent of earners are economic families and singles with an after-tax income of more than $130,600. And in that top decile, average after-tax income was $183,600.  After taxes, Canadians in the highest decile  had 23.7% of all after-tax income in Canada in 2013, while the four lower deciles together accounted for 19.8% of total after-tax income.The bottom line for all taxpayers – regardless of earning level - is that what you keep is more important than what you make. What can tax and financial advisors do to help their clients accumulate, grow, preserve and transition more wealth, as prescribed under a Real Wealth Management™ model?  Here are some suggestions for your next discussion with your clients:For two-parent families: Two-parent families are able to take advantage of the Family Tax Cut, first introduced for the 2014 year. By averaging out family income, two-parent families whose incomes are in different tax brackets are able to retain up to $2,000 in their pocket that would otherwise go to the government.For example: A two-income family with parents earning $75,000 and $25,000 respectively can take advantage of the FTC and reduce their combined tax bill by about $1,330. These additional funds might well be best saved within an RESP, (Registered Education Savings Plan) to take advantage of government grants and bonds available under the plan as well as the tax deferred income accumulation opportunities.For single and two parent families: Both types of economic households – singles and couples - will be able to take advantage of the enhanced Child Care Expense deductions in tax year 2015,  with increased limits of $7,000 for children under seven and $4,000 for children from 7 to 15 years of age. In addition, the Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit has increased to $160 per month for children under 6 years (from $100), and $60 per month is now available for each child from 6 through 17 years of age starting in 2015. Lump sum payments for the enhanced amounts for of $60 a month for all children under 18 are being paid retroactive to January 2015 this week.  Investing those sums into a child’s education savings or the parent’s TFSA are both great ways to leverage tax efficient investment opportunities for future financial freedom.They may also often benefit from an increased monthly refundable Child Tax Benefit as a reduced family net income has the potential to increase or create access to the monthly refundable Child Tax Benefit.  With CTB claw back rates at 12.2% for one child up to 33.3% for three or more children, the effective return on an RRSP investment for these families can be very high.For single non-parents: Utilizing tax brackets strategically remains the best option for single, non-parent taxpayers. These individuals can maximize the use of RRSPs to reduce their income to a lower bracket, thus paying less tax annually. When taxable income has reached the lowest bracket, maximizing TFSA contributions provides further options for retirement savings and security.For seniors: In addition to being able to claim the Age Exemption amount of $7,033, seniors can also be pro-active from a tax point of view by structuring their income levels advantageously by triggering or deferring OAS and CPP benefits. Furthermore, maximizing tax benefits through pension splitting for married or common-law seniors reduces the overall tax burden when private pension income from RRSPs or RRIFs becomes taxable.   

Five Steps To Calculating 2015 TFSA Contribution Room

Five Steps To Calculating 2015 TFSA Contribution Room - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog

Five Steps To Calculating 2015 TFSA Contribution Room



A new version of form RC343 has been released by the CRA to calculate TFSA contribution room for 2015, taking into account the new 2015 contribution limit of $10,000.
 
The new form is available here.  Here’s how the calculations work:
1. Start with your TFSA contribution room as of January 1, 2014
2. Subtract any TFSA contributions made in 2014
3. Add any TFSA withdrawals made in 2014
4. Add $10,000 (your new  TFSA contribution limit for 2015)
5. If you’ve already made TFSA contributions for 2015, subtract those
Here’s an example:
Joni had  TFSA contribution room of $12,000 as of January 1, 2014, including the $5,500 of new contribution room for 2014. She made a $10,000 TFSA contribution in 2014 and withdrew $15,000 that same year. She has not made any contributions in 2015 yet.  Following the steps outlined above, her 2015 TFSA contribution room is:
1. $12,000
2. - $10,000
3. + $15,000
4. + $10,000
5. - $0
Total: $27,000
 
Beware of TFSA Traps:  The biggest trap, other than holding non-registered investments outside a TFSA when there is contribution room available, is recontributing to the TFSA in the same year as the withdrawal is made. Withdrawals do increase TFSA contribution room, but not until the beginning of the following year.
In the example above, after her $10,000 contribution, Joni’s TFSA contribution room for 2014 was reduced to $2,000. Her $15,000 withdrawal did not open up contribution room until January 1, 2015. If Joni had re-deposited the $15,000 in 2014, she would have had a $13,000 excess contribution. All excess contributions are subject to a 1% penalty tax for each month they remain in the TFSA.
For these reasons, it’s important for wealth advisors to encourage their clients to seek their assistance or consult with  A Tax Services Specialist  before withdrawing money or recontributing it to a TFSA.
 
 
 
 
 

Adjusted Family Tax Cut: Was Spouse A Student?



Adjusted Family Tax Cut: Was Spouse A Student? - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blogAdjusted Family Tax Cut: Was Spouse A Student?




Last week, CRA reminded families to apply for the generous new Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) being delivered to families this week. But there may also be more good news:  enhanced Family Tax Cut dollars available for the 2014 tax filing year for families in which one spouse was a full- or part-time student... $2 to $750 more in fact.
The calculations for the Family Tax Cut have recently been adjusted to take into account the unused portion of tuition, textbook and education credits transferred from a spouse or common-law partner. The result is an additional refund of somewhere between $2 and $750, according to the CRA, which will do the calculation automatically if it looks like the family might qualify for the adjustment.
To be sure, however, qualified  Tax Services Specialist  should be consulted to review the calculations for their clients who  have made a tuition, textbook and education credit transfer to their spouse on line 326 of the 2014 T1 return and determine if any other adjustments should be made to the tax return.  Then, find out what your estimated Family Tax Cut will be in 2015 to maximize your investment planning opportunities.
The adjusted calculation can be found on line 499 on the new Schedule 1A, released on June 25:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/5000-s1a/5000-s1a-14e.pdf
 
 

Reminder: Some families Will Win UCCB Lottery July 20

Reminder: Some families  Will Win UCCB Lottery July 20/www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog
Reminder: Some families  Will Win UCCB Lottery July 20

 


Following are the key points about the UCCB   benefit:

  • The UCCB is increasing for children under 6, from $100 per month per child to $160 per month, effective January 1, 2015.

  • The UCCB is also being expanded to include a benefit of $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17, effective January 1, 2015.

  • Because these enhanced benefits were announced in April  21 , 2015 but made effective retroactive to January 1, 2015, families who qualify for the UCCB will receive a lump sum for the additional amounts, payable on July 20, 2015.What does that mean?  Parents with children under age 18 living at home will be receiving a lump sum of $420 per child with their July Child Tax Benefit payment. This amount represents the additional $60 per month per child payable as of January 1, 2015.This is a great opportunity for families  who will be winning the UCCB lottery to invest the lump sum in an RESP or TFSA for maximum growth and tax savings.  

Tax time 2015: 10 myths about taxes that mislead Canadians

Tax time 2015: 10 myths about taxes that mislead Canadians- www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog


Tax time 2015: 10 myths about taxes that mislead Canadians
 
A certain amount of folklore has developed over the years around the income tax system and the filing of tax returns, but many of those age-old perceptions are no longer accurate.
Filing deadline
File by April 30 or face potential penalties.
Here are some common myths — and the corresponding facts that could mean extra money in your pocket or at least prevent you from running afoul of the Canada Revenue Agency's rules.
Myth 1: The person whose name or social insurance number is on the tax slip is the person who must report the interest in a joint account.
Not necessarily. "Income earned in joint accounts must be reported by the person who earned the capital in the account," says tax expert Evelyn Jacks in Jacks on Tax. "Where more than one person contributed capital in their own right, then the income in the account must be allocated based on the capital provided by each contributor."
Myth 2: The CRA completely agrees with the information you submitted in your return if it sends you back a Notice of Assessment that doesn't dispute what you submitted.
A Notice of Assessment is just the result of a quick assessment that will have fixed mathematical mistakes you may have made, but it doesn’t mean that the CRA has examined and OK'd everything you’ve submitted. "The fact that a particular claim is allowed at this point does not mean that the CRA … is 'letting' you claim it," notes KPMG in its annual tax planning guide. "It merely means that the CRA has not addressed the issue in any detail." The tax agency generally has three years after the Notice of Assessment is sent to review your file.       

Myth 3: Gifts from your employer are never taxable.
Modest gifts from the boss do escape the tax collector's attention but only within strict limits. Non-cash gifts worth a total of less than $500 a year aren't taxable if they're given to mark birthdays, holidays or similar special occasions. Your boss can also give an employee up to $500 in a non-cash gift once every five years to mark long service or an employment anniversary with no tax consequences to the employee. The boss can also provide a tax-free party or social event worth up to $100 per employee. Cash gifts are always taxable.   ​
Myth 4: I should have refused that pay raise because it will bump me into a higher tax bracket. 
Federal tax brackets - 2014 tax year:
  • Up to $43,953 — 15%
  • $43,954-$87,907 — Tax Rate 22%
  • $87,908-$136,270 —Tax Rate 26%
  • $136,270 — 29% 
​​Source: CRA
Canadians face four federal tax brackets and up to six brackets provincially. But "bumping into the next bracket" means just that one's income in the higher bracket will be taxed at the higher rate – not that the higher rate will apply to all of the person's income.
"All of the money you earned below the new tax bracket remains taxed at the lower rates," points out Edmonton-based financial educator Jim Yih in his Retire Happy blog. "The bottom line is you should never, ever, ever turn down money. Enjoy every pay increase you receive without tax worries, and remember that those higher paycheques mean more money in your pocket."
Myth 5: The U.S. does not impose withholding taxes on U.S. investments if they're held in registered Canadian accounts.
The U.S. does not recognize the registered status of TFSAs so any dividends paid by U.S. stocks will face a withholding tax of up to 30 per cent. Retirement accounts like RRSPs and RRIFs are exempt from U.S. withholding taxes.    
Myth 6: Employment insurance income received during maternity leave is not taxable.
Not true. All EI benefits, including maternity benefits, are taxable. "In most cases, Service Canada withholds less than the lowest tax rate so you may have tax obligations at the end of the year," says Cleo Hamel, a senior tax analyst with H&R Block.
Myth 7: If you file your taxes online, your odds of being audited increase.
Since it's not possible to file paper receipts or tax slips online, the Canada Revenue Agency does sometimes ask people who file online to send in supporting documents. But the CRA says this is just "routine verification" and not an audit. "When the CRA flags a file for audit, the criteria are broad, complex and not based on filing method," the agency says.  
Myth 8: The Canada Revenue Agency doesn't pay snitches.
The tax department has always encouraged reliable tips about Canadians who might not be paying what they should. But it has never rewarded tipsters whose information led to recovered taxes — until now. In 2014, the CRA announced it would start to pay people whose tips pan out cash rewards of five to 15 per cent of the extra tax collected. For now, the new snitch line (1-855-345-9042) is just aimed at those whose funnelling of money offshore results in unpaid tax revenue of at least $100,000.  
Myth 9: You can't take advantage of the RRSP Home Buyers' Plan unless you have never owned a home before.
Ottawa requires users of the Home Buyers' Plan to be "first-time buyers." But it defines this as people (and their spouses) who have not owned a principal residence in the five calendar years up to and including the current year. For those who owned a home more than five years ago, they can still withdraw up to $25,000 tax-free from their RRSPs ($50,000 for a couple) to help them buy a home.     
Myth 10: Everyone hates doing their taxes.
Not true, if the pollsters are correct. A 2013 survey commissioned by Thomson Reuters and the maker of a tax software program asked 1,009 Canadians if they liked filing their taxes. A significant minority — 41 per cent — said yes.  It's worth noting that the survey did not ask if people liked paying their taxes.     
 
 

Brush Up on Claiming Medical Expenses


Brush Up on Claiming Medical Expenses- www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blog

Brush Up on Claiming Medical Expenses
Claiming medical expenses can itself be painful: There are so many receipts and tiny numbers involved with making the claim!
 
Nonetheless it’s definitely worthwhile for taxpayers and their advisors to be aware of how they can save money in this area. Medical expenses themselves are common, yet most of us don’t know exactly what’s deductible, so there are lots of misses when claiming these common costs. Get ready for some “aha moments” as we look closely at claiming medical expenses. 

Most people know, for example, that they can claim medical expenses for their nuclear family: mom, dad and their minor children; but you can also claim for others who are dependent on you: children over 18, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, even uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces if they are resident in Canada.  

There are also a host of interesting costs that are deductible, provided they are unreimbursed by a medical plan. So, for example, if you are on a medical plan at work, and it covers 80% of all these costs, you can claim the 20% that is not covered by the plan.
Furthermore, the premiums for private medical plans are claimable too, including those provided by an employer. Check pay stubs and Box 40 of the T4 slip for the premiums in this case.
Generally, the costs of visiting the following medical practitioners are eligible:

• dentist or dental hygienist • medical doctor or practitioner
• optometrist • pharmacist
• psychologist or psychoanalyst • chiropractor
• naturopath • therapeutist or therapist
• physiotherapist • chiropodist (or podiatrist)
• acupuncturist • dietician
• nurse, including a practical nurse whose full-time occupation is nursing • audiologist
 
Eligible medical treatments include:
• medical and dental services, eyeglasses, hearing aids and their batteries • attendant or nursing home care
• ambulance fees • guide dogs or dogs to manage severe diabetes, including care and travel for training
• prescribed alterations to the home to accommodate disabled persons • cost of training a person to provide care for an infirm dependant
• lip reading or sign language training • tutoring services for a patient with a learning disability or mental impairment
• drugs and lab tests prescribed by a medical practitioner and recorded by a pharmacist • private health plan premiums, including group insurance premiums, Blue Cross premiums, and travel insurance costs
 
 

Tax error? What to do when you have to refile

Tax error? What to do when you have to refile - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com/blogTax error? What to do when you have to refile
 
 Make the most of tax time and get the biggest return possible with these often missed credits and deductions.
Taxes aren’t fun to deal with at the best of times, but you may find yourself even more irked if you get a T4 amendment in the mail.
The good news is that it’s not uncommon to receive such a notice.
“Amended T4s are generally sent out to correct errors,” says James Bell, director of Tax Solutions Canada, who worked at the Canada Revenue Agency for 22 years before starting his company in 2013. Those errors are on behalf of the employer, which means there’s nothing you can do to prevent getting one.
“T4s get amended because of an oversight on the part of the employer,” Bell says. “It’s a routine occurrence,” he adds. “It happens all the time.”
Reasons a “Statement of Remuneration Paid” could be amended are wide-ranging; examples include improper classification of an amount (such as the under- or over-reporting of income), improper calculation of benefits to employees who participate in a stock-purchase plan, or the lack of inclusion of other taxable benefits or an incorrect tally of those benefits.
While amendments are common, they can still make people nervous.
“Amendments are straightforward, and it’s very routine for people to receive these things, but it can cause a lot of confusion and upset and misunderstanding,” Bell says. “Most people are puzzled about why they would get an amended T4.”
Caroline Battista, a senior tax analyst at H&R Block, says that it helps to understand what your taxable benefits are should you ever be faced with an amendment.
“I would hazard a guess that at least 50 per cent of the time if you ask people what their taxable benefits are, they don’t know,” Battista says. “Know what your taxable benefits are, especially when you’re getting a new job.”
Here are some examples: let’s say you win a $10,000 trip or NHL playoff tickets through work. “You’re still paying tax on the value of that trip or those tickets,” Battista says.
The parking spot that’s you get as a perk? You have to pay tax on the value of that, too.  
Battista notes that if you’ve already filed your taxes but then receive an amended T4, you need to submit an adjustment with that new slip. She says it’s easy to do electronically via the CRA’s My Account. Those forms can be mailed in too.
If you don’t understand or disagree with the amendment, Bell suggests talking to your office’s payroll or HR department first.
If you still don’t agree with the amendment, then you can file a notice of objection to dispute it.
“The CRA has a formal dispute mechanism in place for you,” Bell says. “It’s important to make sure that, if there is a dispute and you don’t understand it or disagree with what employer has done, you protect yourself by filing that notice of objection. It’s the only formal way to protect your rights, and that’s what you should do. You do have a formal legislative process to go through to make your case with the CRA.”
Whatever you do, if you receive an amendment, make sure you get it sorted out.
"There’s no need to panic at all,” Bell says. “However, it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored; they really do have to deal with it.”
The sooner the better: “Deal with it right away,” Battista says. “An amendment doesn’t mean it’s been done or that the CRA has refiled for you. Don’t just think the CRA will process it; deal with it because you will be charged interest from the time you get that slip. Once you get an amended slip it’s considered your responsibility.”
 
 

Who Is Affected by the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan?

Who Is Affected by the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan? - www.aliko-aapayrollservices.cm/blog
 
 
 
 
Who Is Affected by the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan?
 
 
Written by Sean Cooper
With the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan taking shape, the provincial government is giving Ontarians the chance to weigh in on the proposed provincial pension plan. The Ontario Liberals released a consultation paper on “key design questions” of the ORPP, such as low-income earners and the self-employed. The discussion paper provides more details on the ORPP, including who’s covered.
Who’s Covered by the ORPP?
When the ORPP is in full swing, the provincial government anticipates three million people to make $3.5 billion each year in contributions. The ORPP looks to be mandatory for everyone except those with defined benefit pension plans and newer target benefit plans. Unlike defined contribution pension and group RRSPs, defined benefit pension plans provide you with a retirement benefit for your lifetime based on your earnings and your years of service. Target benefit plans are a middle ground between defined benefit and defined contribution – they act much like defined benefit, but your benefit could be reduced based on how the plan’s investments perform.
Employers that offer alternative retirement savings plans, such as defined contribution pension plans, group RRPSs and pooled PRPPs, would be forced to join the ORPP. This would be quite a financial burden for employers, who would have little incentive to continue to offer these plans, if they must also pay into the ORPP. The government looks to be open to discussion, mentioning employers may be able to adapt their pension plans to be exempt from the ORPP.
Self-Employed Individuals
When the ORPP was first proposed, many self-employed individuals were concerned about the financial burden it would put on their business. According to the Ontario Ministry of Finance , 700,000 people in Ontario reported self-employment income in 2011. Currently, self-employed individuals don’t have the option of opting out of the CPP. If you’re self-employed, you must contribute both the employer and employee portion of the CPP.
If you’re self-employed in Ontario you can breathe a sigh of relief. It doesn’t look like you’ll be forced in to joining the ORPP. Self-employed individuals are ineligible to join because of the federal Income Tax Act. However, the provincial government is looking into a voluntary opt-in. This seems like a win-win situation for the self-employed. The ORPP would provide self-employed individuals with some stability in income in their retirement, provided they choose to join.
Unlike the self-employed, small business owners would be forced to join. When you’re starting up a business, cash flow is key. Forcing small business owners to join the ORPP could result in tough decisions. While many large employers are in the position to absorb the added cost of the ORPP, small businesses struggling to stay afloat may have to freeze wages or lay off employees to balance the books.
Low-Income Earners
The ORPP looks to be similar to the CPP in many respects, including how low-income earners are treated. Similar to the CPP, if you earn below $3,500, you will not be required to contribute to the ORPP.
Similar to the CPP, the ORPP will count as taxable income toward means-tested government benefits like the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Instead of helping low-income earners, the ORPP could result in claw-backs to the GIS. Not only will low-income earners lose a portion of their GIS, they’ll also be forced to start contribution to the ORPP. With many of these folks struggling to pay for the necessities of life like rent and food, contributions to the ORPP will take money out of the pockets of those most in need.
There’s still plenty of time to weigh in on the newly-proposed ORPP.
 

The Power of the TFSA

The Power of the TFSA -www.aliko-aapayrollservices.com
 
 
The Power of the TFSA
 
 
As the calendar year changed on January 1, so did the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution room available to all adult residents of Canada. 
Although indexing did not increase the earned contribution room, everyone can now contribute at least $5,500 more to their TFSAs.  Those who made withdrawals in 2013 can now put back the money withdrawn in addition to the extra $5,500.  For those who have never made a TFSA contribution, the accumulated TFSA room is now $36,500 (less if they are between 19 and 24).
Through the power of tax-free compounding the TFSA can yield spectacular results, especially for those who are young enough for compounding to do its magic.
If you’ve put the maximum into your TFSA at the beginning of each year and it earned 5% income in each year, your current balance (after your last deposit) will be over $40,800.  See the table below.
YearContributionInterest EarnedEnding Balance2009$5,000$250.00$5,250.002010$5,000$262.50$10,512.502011$5,000$525.63$16,038.132012$5,000$801.91$21,840.032013$5,500$1,092.00$28,432.032014$5,500$1421.60$35,353.632015$5,500$1767.68$42,621.32
 
For the younger generation, consider the potential for a tax-free retirement.  Making the maximum contribution each year starting at age 19 would yield a nest egg of about $900,000 at age 60 (assuming 5% annual return, 2% inflation, no change in maximum contribution levels and no withdrawals).  Even in today’s dollars, that’s $400,000 in spending power.  For a couple that’s $1.8 million dollars.  Even assuming an extended 40-year retirement, that’s an indexed tax-free pension of over $74,000 a year ($33,000 in current dollars).