Lucrative Tax Claims: Medical Travel and Home Modification Costs

Tax season is officially over for most individuals, and that signals the start of tax audit season. One of the most common problem areas is medical expenses, especially because claims incurred for medical travel and modifying your home to accommodate a disabled person can be quite lucrative. But you’ll need to know what documentation to keep to satisfy the tax auditor. Travel Expenses for Medical Reasons A taxpayer may claim travel expenses for the patient and one attendant who must […]

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. […]

The Mad Dash to April 30 – Stay Focused on the Plan

The great tax filing race is on. Most people know that April 30, the tax filing deadline for individual taxpayers, is three weeks away. But in the heat of the moment it is easy to forget that this is the most significant financial transaction for many taxpayers. If you are a tax and/or financial advisor bent on using this event as a “teachable financial moment”, the big question, in terms of maximizing and leveraging that significant windfall is to remember […]

Tax Hikes in Alberta Affects Cottage Owners and Insurers

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and change. That’s why taxpayers and their advisors must take note when provinces like Alberta raise their taxes for the first time since 1987. And with this latest news, we are likely seeing the end of the lowest taxed era in Canada since the turn of this century. What has happened in Alberta is that the flat tax of 10% is ending in 2016 in favor of two higher tax brackets for […]

What if your Refund is a Balance Due?

If you have been shocked to find a balance due rather than a refund, be sure to file your return before midnight April 30 to avoid late filing penalties. This is an important first step in keeping more money, even if you can’t pay your bill immediately. Another good option for DIYers: You may wish to have a pro look over your return (or prior returns) to see if they can find something you missed. But don’t use the ostrich […]

Rethinking Professional Relationships in Retirement

Retirement planning is changing in Canada, but Canadian seniors are yet to catch up with them. There’s an opportunity for tax and financial advisors to get it right together, but also a significant professional hurdle when the two don’t work together on the same strategic plan. It was just this week that an exasperated new retiree contacted me to tell me that the financial institution she was dealing with was thousands of dollars out in estimating investment income during what […]

Tax Incentive Plan: Understating Income is Expensive

There are many ways to compute a tax return mathematically correctly. The key is to file to a family’s best benefit and that includes avoiding CRA penalties on failure to report income. This is prohibitively expensive: failure to report income on the current tax return and in any of the three prior tax returns can result in a penalty of 10% of the missed income to each of the federal and provincial governments. This is in addition to possible gross […]

Where is my refund and who does CRA share it with?

Taxpayers and their advisors may consider this question more frequently as CRA pushes for more electronic communications, such as the provision of email addresses on this year’s tax return. Providing an email address on your tax return will in fact authorize CRA to stop sending out Notices of Assessment and Reassessment by mail; important sources of taxpayer information – including your refund – information which can be shared with numerous stakeholders. Who are those stakeholders? CRA makes reference to the […]

Recently Retired? Tax Filing Can Be Complicated

Recently retired?  There are many new provisions on the tax return that could apply to couples for the first time, so filing early and with qualified professional help can be important. How you treat private pension income and Old Age Security benefits, for example, can have many positive tax outcomes. Cutting Taxes on Private Pension Income. Filing a tax return at the same time as your spouse when you start receiving periodic benefits is paramount. This is because you may […]

Illness In the Family? The Tax System Provides Relief

This is a good time of the year to discuss family health – with your tax advisor! If significant medical issues have arisen, there is financial relief available in many cases through the tax system. Tax and financial advisors who really know their clients, will be ready to have these sometimes difficult discussions, to advocate financially for families with medical challenges. There are two key provisions to begin with: DON’T MISS MEDICAL EXPENSES. Millions of taxpayer miss claiming medical expenses […]