Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

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.

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

 

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.

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.

Did you buy a home in 2013?

Did you know?

If you bought a home in 2013, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a tax credit and a plan that may help you save on this purchase.

First-time home buyers’ tax credit

If you are a first-time home buyer, you may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $750 on the purchase of a qualifying home.

To qualify for the home buyer’s tax amount:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner must have bought a qualifying home; and
  • you can’t have lived in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner that year or in any of the four preceding years.

If you are buying a home and are eligible for the disability tax credit or if you are an individual buying a home for a related person who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you may also qualify for this credit even if you have already owned a home.

A qualifying home must be registered in your name, in your spouse’s or common-law partner’s name, or in both names, according to the applicable land registration system, and must be located in Canada. It includes existing homes such as single-family houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings, and homes under construction.

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

You may also be eligible to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan, which allows you to withdraw funds from your registered retirement savings plan to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. You can withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year, and you have up to 15 years to repay the amounts you withdraw.

For more tax information for homeowners, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myhome.

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.

Does the Bank of Canada email to the public?

Bank of Canada Warns of Ongoing Email Scam

The Bank of Canada (the Bank) has warned Canadians that an unsolicited email scam has falsely claiming to originate from the Bank has been circulating.

 

These scams are misrepresenting the Bank and use the institution’s name, logo, and other identifiers without authorization. The Bank has warned that it has no connection to such emails. In a statement released on its website, stating that: 

“The Bank of Canada is Canada’s central bank and therefore does not accept deposits from or on behalf of individuals, nor does it collect personal or financial information from individuals. The Bank has reported these fraudulent emails to the police. If you receive an unsolicited email, delete it immediately. The Bank of Canada and its employees and officers do not request personal or financial information through email and do not participate in any email or Internet-based communications that request information or payment for services.”

The Bank suggests the following if you receive an email that purports to be from the Bank of Canada, and you have concerns about the contents of that email:

  • Delete the email immediately and contact your local authorities.

  • Access the Bank of Canada website at www.bankofcanada.ca by typing the URL yourself (do not follow links). Look for references to the program identified in the suspect email.

  • Call the Public Information Office at 1.800.303.1282 (toll free in North America), or see the “Contact Us” page on their website.

    Link to the Bank’s warning: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/bank-of-canada-warns-of-email-scams/

What is the red tape reduction measure?

The Harper Government kicks off 2014 with a renewed commitment to red tape reduction for businesses

January 28, 2014 – Ottawa – Canada Revenue Agency

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, with the Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Edward Fast, Minister for International Trade, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and Ms. Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), today highlighted the Government’s progress on red tape reduction. Minister Findlay expressed optimism for the relationship between businesses and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which has been made stronger as a result of the red tape reduction measures the CRA has implemented to date.

As of January 6, 2014, businesses can file their T5013, Partnership Information Return, electronically through My Business Account and Represent a Client. In addition, the CRA’s Liaison Officer Initiative will provide in-person support and information to small and medium enterprises at key points as their business grows, to help them get it “right from the start.”

In the fall of 2014, the CRA will again conduct red tape reduction consultations with small businesses and their service providers in cities across the country, seeking their views on the CRA’s progress on reducing red tape and ensuring the Agency’s action plans remain relevant to the needs of small businesses.

In the past year, the Government of Canada implemented significant red tape reduction measures, from increasing its accountability to businesses, introducing time-saving measures, to enabling businesses to file and manage their information online.

Accomplishments in 2013:

  • Agent ID for the CRA’s business enquiries telephone service. Now, when a business owner calls the CRA, the agent who answers provides an ID number at the beginning of the call. The Agent ID number increases the CRA’s accountability for business calls, ensures a consistent experience for callers, and makes it easier for business owners to give feedback on CRA services.
  • A one-stop-shop webpage for business services. Businesses can now easily find information and service options relevant to their tax situation.
  • The My Business Account online enquiries service. Businesses or their representatives can ask the CRA tax-related questions about their accounts online and they will receive answers online and in writing.
  • A new online mail service for Canadian small businesses. Through Manage Online Mail, Canadian businesses can choose to receive their notices of assessment and reassessment electronically, and some letters for their corporate and GST/HST accounts.
  • A new CRA Red Tape Reduction Action Plan webpage. Businesses can see up-to-date information on the CRA’s red tape reduction progress.

Quick facts

  • In the fall of 2012, the CRA held its own consultations with businesses. The results of the 2012 consultations are available in the report Focusing on Small Business Priorities: Canada Revenue Agency Consultations on Cutting Red Tape.
  • To participate in the upcoming consultations, please visit the CRA’s Red Tape Reduction webpage regularly, and stay connected by subscribing to our mailing lists and joining the conversation on Twitter.
  • From April 2013 to November 2013, the CRA responded to almost 4,300 enquiries online through the My Business Account enquiries service, a 25% increase over the same period last year.
  • Using the CRA’s business number (BN) as the common identifier for federal, provincial, and municipal interactions with businesses is part of the effort to reduce red tape for small businesses. So far, six provinces and one city have adopted the BN. More municipalities and governments are expected to adopt the BN to facilitate registration and eliminate duplicate accounts and errors.

Quotes

“I would like to thank the CFIB for their input on CRA red tape measures implemented in the past year, specifically on the Agent ID and My Business Account online enquiries. With the help of business communities, our Government has made significant progress on making compliance easier and decreasing regulatory burdens so businesses can be competitive and innovative within their sectors. This will in turn create jobs and underscore Canada’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to do business. Since most businesses in Canada have less than 100 employees, it’s very important to meet their needs and continue to encourage their feedback and ideas. The CRA’s promise is to consult businesses every two years, and this year, we hope to reach further than we have ever before.”

– The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue

What deductions apply to Artists & Musicians?

Special Tax Deductions for Artists and Musicians

Artists and musicians may claim expenses for items specific to their profession, including capital cost allowance on musical instruments.

 These claims are limited to the lesser of $1000 and 20% of employment income. Claims may be made for items such as ballet shoes, body suits, art supplies, drum sticks, computer supplies, home office costs, as well as rental, maintenance, insurance and capital cost allowance on those musical instruments. This is another example where consistent gathering and storing of out of pocket expenses can pay off for taxpayers with unique costs.

Where you affected by the flood in Alberta?

Ministers Shea and Kenney announce more relief for businesses affected by flooding in Alberta

Ottawa, Ontario, June 26, 2013… The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and the Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, with the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Calgary Southeast, confirmed today that taxpayers affected by flooding in Alberta will have until August 2, 2013, to file their returns.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will proactively adjust the due date for all federal business and other returns filed in Alberta that were due during the flooding. A federal business return filed by August 2, 2013, will be considered as filed on time.

“Many Albertans are struggling during these devastating floods, and our Government is here to extend our support in any way we can,” said Minister Shea. “When disasters strike, our true priorities become clear – the protection of our families and communities. We hope that extending the filing deadline eases some of the burden of these difficult times.”

“As efforts turn to assessing the damage and rebuilding, the federal government continues to work with the Alberta government and affected municipal governments to ensure a coordinated response to damage caused by the flooding,” said Minister Kenney “This extension is one of the many ways our Government is helping those affected. For Albertans impacted by the terrible devastation of the flood, there is one less thing to worry about.”

Businesses are reminded that taxpayer relief provisions are also available for those who are unable to meet their tax obligations due to the flooding. For this situation, the CRA offers to expedite taxpayer relief requests through its general enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281 or the business enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525. Taxpayer relief requests can also be made in writing using the Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief. Requests for taxpayer relief are considered by the CRA on a case-by-case basis.

Businesses are also reminded that if they are unable to physically access the institutions they normally depend on for payments and remittances, the CRA’s e-services can provide quick access to tax payment services and account information. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.cra.gc.ca/businessonline.

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