Financial Capability is Multi-Dimensional; so is Financial Advice

A just-released synopsis of the FINRA National Financial Capabilities survey of close to 30,000 Americans from June to October 2015 showed a stunning lack of financial understanding there; at a time when wealth and income inequality is at an extreme not seen since World War II. But Canadians did not do much better. Despite impressive economic gains since the survey was first conducted in the US in 2009, only 14% of respondents to 5 financial literacy questions answered all correctly; […]

Manitoba Signs On: CPP Final Agreement Coming July 15

Manitoba has agreed to sign on for federal Canada Pension Plan reforms and that gives the required 2/3 approval by the provinces required for the federal plan to move forward. Manitoba wanted emphasis on three key issues, discussed below, but the real issue to follow is this: will this be enough to help middle class Canadians fund their retirements? Manitoba raised some important issues regarding the mechanics of the CPP of the future – thorns in the side of current […]

Back To School? Encourage Fitness Now – Tax Credits End In 2017

There are big changes coming for families who get the refundable Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, so use it before you lose it! Back in 2014, Canadian families were treated to a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 when they enrolled a child under the age of 16 in an eligible program of physical activity. This included programs that enhanced physical strength, balance and endurance. But it only helped families who had taxes payable. Then, starting in the 2015 tax […]

CPP or TFSA? It’s an Issue of Retirement Security

This week, Canada’s finance ministers met in Vancouver and agreed in principle to the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) over a seven-year phase-in period, starting January 1, 2019. Higher contributions by workers and their employers will result. But will the revamped CPP be enough to provide for the retirement security Canadians need? Although the CPP is large and robust, the issue is a broad one for Canadians to consider carefully from a planning perspective, especially by younger Canadians […]

Financial Planning and Advice: Is an Integrated Regulator the Answer?

Does financial planning require its own regulatory oversight? That’s the issue the Ministry of Finance in Ontario has charged an expert committee with. Their preliminary recommendations propose an “integrated regulator” and significant restrictions on who has the qualifications to hold themselves out as a financial planner. Consultations on the matter must be submitted by tomorrow, June 17. Knowledge Bureau has been pleased to participate in the process, providing a written submission in September 2015 and a presentation in front of […]

Nine Key Issues for Pre-Retirement Planning

Planning for retirement is an old issue, but now there’s a new take on it: pre-retirement planning. In the past, the focus was on how much pension income was needed to replace actively earned income from employment, to live comfortably until death. But these days retirement is anything but traditional and with employer pensions on the decline, especially defined benefit plans, many other factors must be taken into account when planning for life after work. Planning for the Boomers brings […]

Caring for The Disabled: It’s Tough and You Can Help

As our population ages, disability-related caregiving for family members will increase, but, as a society, how well are we able to cope? From meal preparation and household chores to time off for appointments with doctors or to deal with financial matters, the commitment in caring for the sick, the disabled and dying is enormous and it is exhausting. This demanding area is an opportunity for tax and financial advisors to provide both compassion and much-needed help. First is the opportunity […]

Donations Tax Credit Goes Further for Fort Mac

Helping in helplessness . . . watching the heartbreaking devastation in Fort McMurray has been gut-wrenching. How one hour can change life so dramatically! Making donations from afar seems only right; and it feels especially good, given how terrible the events of the last week have been. It is a good time to review the charitable donations tax credit, too, because giving more can really help on your taxes this year. Your gift will give back to you, too. There […]

Tax Tips: Six Important Tips in Correcting Errors On Tax Returns

Tax season may be over but you may have forgotten to claim a lucrative tax deduction or credit, like medical expenses, moving expenses or the disability amount. First tip: don’t file a new return; simply adjust your prior filed return. But, what’s the deadline for making adjustments? For most provisions it’s ten years; however, to optimize your pension income splitting, it’s only three years. Here are three more anomalies: Claims for Capital Cost Allowance on a rental or business asset […]

Reporting Dividends? Check Out These Tax Tips

Dividends of taxable Canadian corporations enjoy preferred tax rates, but some complexities in reporting can plague unsuspecting filers. Here are some tips for last-minute filers: 1. What are dividends? Dividends are earned as a result of an investment by an individual in a corporation and are distributed after taxes have been paid on the earnings of the company. 2. How are they reported? The actual dividends received by shareholders are “grossed up” so the taxpayer reports an amount higher than […]