Ontario Budget: Tax Planning is Critical for High Earners

Retroactive tax hikes hurt family financial plans and make it difficult for them to responsibly plan for their financial futures. Yet, that’s exactly what’s at stake with Ontario’s significant tax hikes on high earners and small business, reintroduced in its budget this week. To preserve wealth in 2014 and offset higher taxation on income, planning to minimize personal tax during work life and at retirement must begin immediately for business owners, employees with higher incomes and, in particular, with executors […]

Business Owners Face CRA Scrutiny

CRA is acting to shore up compliance for small business owners – both tax practitioners and their clients will be engaged in a “Get it Right the First Time” initiative which includes office visits by CRA. Today there are millions of small businesses in Canada. They are led by small business owners of every type: retail store owners, consultants, professionals, commission salespersons, farmers, fishermen, and bed and breakfast owners, all of whom are working hard to make money for their […]

Warm Holiday Counts as Reasonable Medical Expenses?

Should taxpayers be able to deduct travel expenses to warmer climates as medical expense tax credits (METCs) to alleviate pain and suffering? Our legal researcher, Greer Jacks, found an interesting case, Tallon v. The Queen, which considered just that and in the process allowed the taxpayer a lucrative winter holiday bonus. Here’s what happened: The taxpayer suffered from chronic pain and was prescribed by her doctor to live in a warmer climate than Canada can offer in the winter. After […]

Illness is Expensive; Tax Savings Can Help

One of the most common yet most missed provisions on the personal tax return is medical expenses, and in an aging demographic, they are more prevalent. This means there is a greater chance that professional counselling is required on this topic to ensure taxpayers claim all the expenses they are entitled to. The allowable list is lengthy. . .so is the list of ineligible expenses. The first rule for the best claim is to group medical expenses into the best […]

Ostriches Aren’t Smart; Tax Penalties Are Expensive

Well it’s that time of the year again. . .tax audit season. The ostrich approach is one way to cope, but not the smartest. Rather, getting your head out of the sand and taking one more look at the validity of the claims on the tax returns you prepared – for yourself and your clients – is really important before submission to the glorious cottage season. The alternative approach, in fact, could ruin many sunsets to come. The onus of […]

Affluence Is About Managing Cash Flow

What is wealth? Many people don’t think that “wealthy” describes them or their lifestyle, but to the outside world they may seem quite affluent. Wealth really is more about a state of mind than an actual number. I like to think of it as that time in your lifecycle where you can say with absolute certainty, “we have enough. . .for today and the future too.” To get there, it’s important to understand how much you are worth today. Do […]

Rich-Poor Gap? Blame Educated Women

Income inequality is a noted problem in society, and one covered in this blog recently. But it’s one that is complex and requires a closer analysis. Lawrence Solomon, research director of the Consumer Policy Institute, has well noted this complexity in his article, Female drivers of income inequality, in the National Post last week. The pull out was attention-grabbing: “One route to greater income equality would be to restrict education for women and arrange marriages for them.”  Really? I was […]

Wealth Planning: Canada a Sweet Spot for a Higher Bell Curve

Lots of great material has been released lately about global and Canadian wealth trends. Three works come to mind as must-reads… The OECD has released its study,  FOCUS on Top Incomes and Taxation in OECD Countries: Was the crisis a game changer? and Stats Canada released its wealth of Canadians report Survey of Financial Security, 2012, as well as a report entitled Mortality Projections for Social Security Programs in Canada. What’s interesting about these reports is the taxation potential that […]

Should Top Incomes Be Subject To Higher Taxes?

As provinces in Canada attempt to add surtaxes to top earners in Canada, the most recent being Ontario in its defeated May 1 budget, a debate on whether top incomes should be subject to more tax continues. This month, the OECD jumped in with a study on the subject entitled “Focus on Top Incomes and Taxation in OECD Countries: Was the crisis a game changer?”  The issue is that the total pre-tax income of the richest 1% has increased in […]

Will Addition of Mandatory Provincial Pension Plans Help?

Details for a new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) were included in the May 1 Ontario budget and have become an election issue there. Some disagree that the plan is necessary; others are concerned about the immediate economic costs. The goal of the proposed ORPP is to replace 15% of pre-retirement income. Examples in the budget documents indicate an actual rate of 14.24% of the insurable earnings if contributions are made for 40 years. Structurally, the plan would mirror the […]