Author Archive

Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Examples of fraudulent communications

·         telephone

·         letter

·         emails

·         text messages

·         online refund forms

Know how to recognize a scam

There are many fraud types, including new ones invented daily.

Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.

These scams may insist that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. These are scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided.

To identify communications not from the CRA, be aware of these guidelines.

If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can call us or check My Account to be sure.

If you have signed up for online mail (available through My Account, My Business Account, and Represent a Client), the CRA will do the following:

  • send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business; and
  • send an email to the address you provided to notify you when new online mail is available to view in the CRA’s secure online services portal.

The CRA will not do the following:

  • send email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information;

Exception:

If you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.  They will never:

  • ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message.
  • request payments by prepaid credit cards.
  • give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
  • leave personal information on an answering machine.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  • Did I sign up to receive online mail through My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client?
  • Did I provide my email address on my income tax and benefit return to receive mail online?
  • Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
  • Does this sound too good to be true?
  • Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return?
  • Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?

If you do have a debt with the CRA and can’t pay in full, take action right away. For more information, go to When you owe money – collections at the CRA.

 

 

Tax Information Newsletter for Businesses

Businesses – Tax information newsletter, Issue: 2016-03

1- Compliance letter campaign – Message to GST/HST registrants

In December 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will conduct a GST/HST compliance letter campaign pilot project. The CRA will send 250 letters in December followed by 250 in February, 2,500 in May, and 2,500 in August to GST/HST registrants. Those receiving a letter will be asked to review a previously-submitted GST/HST return with suspected errors and confirm whether the amounts they reported are correct or need to be changed.

The campaign supports the CRA’s increased emphasis on helping individuals and small businesses to better understand their tax obligations and encourages them to correct any errors in their past GST/HST returns. This increased understanding of tax obligations will also serve in promoting compliance going forward.

2- 2017 Indexation adjustment for personal income tax and benefit amounts are now available

Each year, certain personal income tax and benefit amounts are indexed to inflation using the Consumer Price Index data as reported by Statistics Canada. The chart provides the indexed amounts for four tax years.

3- Does your business have tax debt? Don’t panic. You have options.

Does your business owe taxes to the CRA? Ignoring your tax debt isn’t the best strategy. Avoiding payment could result in financial and legal consequences for you and your business. Instead of avoiding a payment, check out the video “Keeping Your Business on Track” to find a better option.

4- Businesses take notice: Your tax information just got clearer!

The CRA is redesigning the correspondence it sends to Canadians, including the Corporation, and Goods and services tax/ harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) notices of assessment (NOA) and notices of reassessment (NOR). The CRA has made changes to how the notices are structured, designed, formatted, and written, making the information easier to read and understand.

Should You Sell Your Dog Stocks?

The topic on Tax Loss Selling is very timely and every year around this time, people get busy with holiday shopping and forget to sell the “dogs” in their portfolio and as a consequence, they pay unnecessary income tax on their capital gains in April.

Most investment advisors are pretty good at contacting their clients to discuss possible tax loss selling. Ensure you are in contact to discuss your realized capital gain/loss situation and other planning options.

You may wish to set aside some time this weekend or next, to review your 2016 capital gain/loss situation. You can then execute your trades on a timely basis knowing you have considered all the variables associated with your tax gain/loss selling. As the markets have been strong this year, you hopefully will have only a few stocks with unrealized capital losses you can sell to use the losses against capital gains reported the last 3 years. Alternatively, you may want to trigger a capital loss to utilize against capital gains you have already realized in 2016.

You should be very careful if you plan to repurchase the stocks you sell. Always be cognizant of the superficial loss rules. Essentially, if you or your spouse (either directly or through an RRSP) purchase an identical share 30 calendar days before or 30 days after a sale of shares, the capital loss is denied and added to the cost base of the new shares acquired. 

This information was taken from an article posted by Mark Goodfield on his blog The Blunt Bean Counter. Visit    http://www.thebluntbeancounter.com/2016/11/tax-loss-selling-or-for-2016-tax-gain.html  for the complete article on this topic. 

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

There has been a noticeable increase in suspicious phone calls and emails from people claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency in 2016.  Below are some tips as well as a link to CRA’s website with valuable information and tips to help protect your finances and identity.  The best rule of thumb is if it feels wrong or suspicious it probably is.  Trust your instincts and ask questions before paying any amount or giving sensitive information.  If you have received a call or email of this nature you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

  • Protect your social insurance number. Don’t use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. If an organization asks for your social insurance number, ask if it is legally required to collect it, and if not, offer other forms of ID.
  • CRA cannot have you arrested.  Some calls are claiming that the authorities are on the way to your home to arrest or charge you. There is a legal process which must be followed and CRA will notify you in writing of any action which is being taken or considered.
  • If in doubt use your My account login (account must be created first) or call CRA directly to confirm any amounts outstanding before making any payments.
  • Always ask for an agent I.D. # when speaking with anyone claiming to be from CRA.
  • Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email.
  • Be suspicious if you are ever asked to pay taxes or fees to the CRA on lottery or sweepstakes winnings. You do not have to pay taxes or fees on these types of winnings. These requests are scams.
  • Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret.
  • Keep your address current with all government departments and agencies.
  • Choose your tax preparer carefully! Make sure you choose someone you trust and check their references. Always review your return, agree with the content before filing, and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
  • Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/charities to find out if the charity is registered and get more information on the way it does business.
  • Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.
  • Caller ID is a useful function. However, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions.
  • Shred unwanted documents or store them in a secure place. Make sure that documents with your name and SIN are secure. AMA (Alberta Motor Association) offers many free shred events throughout the year.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
  • Carry only the ID you need.
  • Do not write down any passwords or carry them with you.
  • Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask Canada Post that a hold be placed on delivery until you return.
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html

 

Principle Residence Changes 2016

On October 3, 2016, the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, announced a major change to the reporting requirements for the sale of a principal residence (“PR”) and the designation of the principal residence exemption (“PRE”), which provides for the tax-free sale of your home. 

A few key points:

  • Starting with the 2016 tax year, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of dispositions and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence (PR) to claim the full principal residence exemption.
  • Previously, the administrative position of the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) was that you were not required to report the sale of your PR if the property was your PR for every year you owned it.
  • The new rules apply for deemed dispositions. A deemed disposition occurs when you are considered to have disposed of property, even though you did not actually sell it. For example, a deemed disposition will occur if there is a change in use of the property:
  1.        You change all or part of your principal residence to a rental or business operation.
  2.        You change your rental or business operation to a principal residence.

When you change the use of a property, you are generally considered to have sold the property at its fair market value and to have immediately reacquired the property for the same amount. You have to report the disposition (and designation) of your principal residence and/or the resulting capital gain or loss (in certain situations) in the year the change of use occurs.

  • If only a part of your home qualifies as your PR and you used the other part to earn or produce income, you may have to split the selling price and the adjusted cost base between the part you used for your principal residence and the part you used for other purposes (for example, rental or business). You can do this by using square meters or the number of rooms, as long as the split is reasonable.
  • If you do not designate the property as your PR for all the years you owned the property (such as where you had sold your cottage in a prior year and claimed the PRE for certain years), you are required to also file Form T2091. 
  • An individual who was not resident in Canada in the year the individual acquired a residence will not—on a disposition of the property after October 2, 2016—be able to claim the exemption for that year. 
  • For the sale of a PR in 2016 or later years, the CRA will only allow the PRE if you report the sale and designation on your tax return. If you fail to report the sale, you will have to ask the CRA to amend your return. Under the proposed changes, the CRA will be able to accept a late designation but a penalty may apply, equal to the lesser of $8,000 and $100 for each month you are late from the original required filing. This is a potentially fairly large penalty for non-compliance. The period of re-assessment will also be extended where a disposition has not been reported. 

 

Information on the changes from Finance: http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/data/16-117_2-eng.asp

Information on administration changes from CRA: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2016/qa11-eng.html

 

What are the pensionable earnings for CPP in 2014?

CPP Pensionable Earnings Rise for 2014

The maximum pensionable earnings under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for 2014 will increase to $52,500 in 2014, which is an increase from $51,100 in 2013, while the basic exemption remains at the current $3,500 level.

 

While employee contribution rates remain unchanged at 4.95% and the self‑employed contribution rate will remain unchanged at 9.9%, maximum contributions will still rise for everyone.

The maximum employer and employee contributions are $2,425.50 each and the maximum self-employed contribution will be $4,851.00. The maximums in 2013 were $2,356.20 and $4,712.40.

What changes come with the revised T1135?

The Revised T1135 – This Could Get Ugly for Taxpayers, Investment Advisors & Accountants

 

The T1135


To provide some symmetry to my return to blogging, I start off where I left off. You may recall that my last blog discussed the revised T1135 Foreign Income Verification Form (“T1135”). In that post I discussed the new reporting requirements, which now includes the following:

  • The name of the specific foreign bank/financial institution holding funds outside Canada
  • For each foreign property identified on the T1135, the maximum funds/cost amount for the property during the year and cost amount at the end of the year (the old form only required the cost amount at the end of the year if at anytime in the year you exceeded the threshold)
  • For each foreign property identified on the T1135, the income and capital gain/loss generated (the old form asked for total income or gains from all foreign property in one lump sum)
  • Specific country where each foreign property is located (the old form had pre-defined groupings based on each continent for all the property on an aggregate basis) 

 

The T3/T5 Exclusion


I concluded my July 2nd post by saying that “There is one important saving grace to these rules. If the income for a foreign property is reported on a T3 or T5, the details do not have to be reported. This will exempt most U.S. or foreign stocks held with Canadian brokerages; but the details for property held outside Canadian institutions will be burdensome”.

While the above statement is essentially correct, the CRA’s administrative position in regard to this exemption may prove problematic. You see, the CRA is saying that even where you hold a foreign stock or bond in an account with a Canadian brokerage firm that issues a T3 or T5 for that account; if that security does not pay income in the form of a dividend or interest and thus is not reported on the T3 or T5, the specific stock or bond will not be excluded and will have to be reported in detail on the T1135. This position was recently confirmed by a CRA representative to one of my tax managers.

 

In addition, it must be noted you will still be required to file the T1135 if the total cost amount of your foreign holdings exceeds $100,000 at anytime during the year, even if dividends or interest is reported on a T3 or T5. See the example discussed in this article by Jamie Golembek, where the CRA representative states you would still need to file the form and check the reporting exclusion box for the stocks reported on a T-slip.

The Tax to English Version

 

So what does this all mean in English? Say you own 25 foreign stocks held at a Canadian brokerage that have a total cost of $150,000, but five of those stocks do not pay dividends or fail to pay a dividend in that year. As we now understand the CRA’s position, even though the 20 dividend paying stocks do not need to be individually listed, the 5 non-dividend paying stocks must be reported. Thus, you will need to tick the box on the T1135 Form to claim the exclusion for the 20 stocks, but you will also have to determine the highest cost amount of each of the five non-excluded stocks during the year (troublesome if you bought and sold) and the cost amount at the end of the year in addition to providing other information such as country location and capital gain or loss.

In the example above, if all 25 stocks pay dividends that will be reported on a T3 or T5, you will still have to file the T1135 and check the exclusion box; however, you do not need to report all the details of each individual stock. Clear as mud.

For people with only a few foreign holdings, this is not much of an issue. However, I have clients who are in private client programs with the large Canadian financial institutions that own 20-50 shares of multiple foreign stocks or have private managers running their money who have upwards of 50 U.S. and foreign stock/bond holdings. This means that the client, the advisor, or their accountant, or probably a combination of all three must review all these stocks to determine which ones are exempt from reporting because they paid a dividend or interest that was reported on a T3 or T5 from those that did not have any income reported on a T3 or T5.

My tax manager said the CRA representative he spoke with, gave him the impression that the CRA’s position has not gone over very well. Let’s hope the CRA simplifies life for many Canadians and just exempts any foreign security held at any Canadian Institution whether income is reported on a T-slip or not.

 

This article is posted on The Blunt Bean Counter website.  It provides information of a general nature and should not be considered specific advice, as each reader’s personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the article.

What is my risk as a director of a corporation?

Director’s liability

Being a director of a corporation carries a lot of responsibility, as well as a certain level of risk. The harshest penalty available in our society — criminal sanction — can befall a director if he or she acts fraudulently or negligently. This reflects Parliament’s view that, under subsection 227.1(3) of the Income Tax Act, directors must “exercise the degree of care and skill that would be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances.”

At common law, judges had long held that a director was to be judged according to his or her particular knowledge and experience. But that old common law standard of subjective liability was seen as insufficient protection for the public. To protect the public generally and shareholders specifically, Parliament decided to impose a higher standard, holding directors to the standards imposed on comparable professionals. So, Parliament created objective liability through the insertion of subsection 227.1(3) into the Act.

This had the effect of raising the standards of directors to the level of the reasonable, professional director who shares the characteristics (education, experience etc.) of the one under scrutiny.

To avoid liability, then, a director need only show that he or she acted the way a reasonably prudent individual in similar circumstances would have acted. That means a director is justified in trusting his or her officials to execute their duties according to corporate policies — if a reasonable person in that position would not have grounds for suspicion.

Generally, a director will be personally liable only if he or she assists the corporation in committing an offence or is grossly negligent in his or her dealings for the company. So, the director needs to participate actively in the offence.

Even if the corporation is not prosecuted or convicted for an offence, the director can still be held liable. If the corporation has committed an offence under the Act and the director participated with knowledge in some way in the commission of that offence, then the two elements of culpability are established. A director may be convicted, but only if it is established he or she had the mens rea (that is, the “guilty mind”).

Directors may also be liable for gross negligence, which is a greater departure from the errant behaviour associated with regular negligence. In Venne v The Queen (1989), the court stated: “Gross negligence must involve a high degree of negligence tantamount to intentional acting, an indifference as to whether the law is complied with or not.”

Parliament and the courts have made it clear directors have a lot of responsibility and are subject to immense liability if they act fraudulently or negligently. The goal is to ensure shareholders have adequate protection, but it is also a balancing act — no one wants to dissuade professionals and those with business experience from becoming directors.

Greer Jacks is updating jurisprudence in the EverGreen Explanatory Notes, an online research library of assistance to tax and financial professionals in working with their clients.

Are you aware of the revised T1198 statement?

CRA has just issued a revision to Form T1198 Statement of Qualifying Retroactive Lump-Sum Payments, which is completed by the payer of qualifying amounts.  

 

Taxpayers who are in receipt of a lump sum of $3000 or more that relates to one or more prior years may qualify for this averaging provision, a calculation which CRA does for you when the form is attached to your return. 

Qualifying income amounts include income from office or employment if received as a result of an order or judgment, arbitration, or damages for loss of office or employment received in a lawsuit settlement. 

In addition, lump sum benefits from employment insurance, superannuation or pension plans other than lump-sum withdrawals, lump sums received for spousal or taxable child support payments, or benefits from a wage-loss replacement plan may all qualify. 

Not included, however, are salary reimbursements, top-ups of disability payments, repayments of pension benefits, or negotiated back pay. Tax advisors who are up to date with the latest rules can provide guidance.

This article was written by Evelyn Jacks.  Evelyn Jacks is president of Knowledge Bureau, whose curriculum includes wealth-management and income tax-preparation courses. You can also offer Knowledge Bureau financial education books to your clients or family members. Visit http://www.knowledgebureau.com/ for more information regarding The Knowledge Bureau

Do I need to file a tax return if I am new to Canada?

Are you new to Canada?


Did you know?

If you are a newcomer to Canada for all or part of a tax year, you may need to file an income tax and benefit return if you have to pay tax, want to claim a refund, or receive benefits.You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential ties in Canada, for example, a home in Canada, a spouse or common-law partner and dependants who move to Canada to live with you, personal property, and social ties in Canada. You usually establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada. For more information, go to Do you have to file a return?.

Important facts

  • If you’re new to Canada, it’s important to understand your tax obligations and the credits and benefits available to you.
  • By filing an income tax and benefit return, you might be able to get credits and payments such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit and Canada child tax benefit payments—even if you have no income to report or tax to pay.
  • Everything you need to know as a newcomer is available at www.cra.gc.ca/newcomers. For example, you can find information on getting your social insurance number, filing a tax return, tax treaties, as well as contact information if you need assistance.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online services make filing easier and let you get your refund faster

The CRA’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund, and more. Sign up for direct deposit too! Your refund and any benefit or credit payments owed to you will be deposited directly into your account, putting your money in your pocket faster. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

Contact Us

Padgett Business Services

2808 41 Street Southwest Calgary, AB T3E 3K8
Phone: (403) 220-1570

Email: Padgett Calgary

Subscribe to our SMALL BIZ BUILDER Newsletter.
Yes Please!

Our Rating

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Accountants - Certified Public in Calgary AB