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 […]

No Time To Waste: TFSA, RRSP or Both?

It’s February – no time to waste. There are two very important investment opportunities to take advantage of now, but you’ll need to plan to put much of that February pay and your savings accounts to work for you now. The smart money goal: be sure to make your RRSP and TFSA contributions. MAXIMIZE RRSP DEDUCTIONS – CONTRIBUTE BY MARCH 2. Dig out your 2013 Notice of Assessment to check out your personal RRSP Contribution Room before the contribution deadline […]

Documentation Counts: Filing an Audit Proof Return

Over the next few weeks I am going to feature some tax tips for you to consider with your clients. The first in this series is about better collaboration between advisors and clients on filing audit-proof tax returns. Every new list of tax tips must start with this one: filing an audit proof tax return begins with filing it on time – which means midnight April 30 for most people; June 15 for unincorporated small business owners and their spouses. […]

Getting Tax Season Right: Plan to Start Early

Tax preparation season is about to begin and getting it right means a lot more than filing an accurate tax return. At tax time, your goal is to ensure the sustainability of family wealth – after taxes, inflation and fees. There are several key goals: • first, by minimizing the taxes paid on the 2014 and prior returns • second, by integrating tax planning into investment, retirement and succession planning activities with all generations in the family • third, be […]

Taking Financial Care To The Next Level

What inspires you to set the principles and goals that will guide your achievements in 2015 and redefine your professionalism? It’s a question to reflect upon at the start of the year, especially if you are a trusted advisor to a number of families, and driven by continuous self- improvement. Revisiting personal strategies for professionalism will lead not only to your own personal success, but will surely help you set higher goals with your clients by setting new and better […]