Archive for the ‘income tax’ Category

What to expect when the Canada Revenue Agency calls you

It is possible that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will contact you by phone for legitimate tax reasons.

During such phone calls, the CRA officer must validate your identity and therefore will ask for certain personal information, including your date of birth, your address, and in the case of a business some account specific details.

The CRA will not:

The CRA may:

·         ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence

·                  validate your identity by asking for certain personal information, including your full name, date of birth, your address and, in the case of a business, details about your account

·         request personal information by email

·         notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client

·         email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details

·email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response to your telephone enquiry

·         send you a link to your refund by email or text message

·send you a notice of assessment or re-assessment by mail or notify you by email when it is available to view in My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client

·         setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment

·ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location

·         demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card

·request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA’s payment options

·         threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence

·take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt

 

Before giving money or personal information:

  • verify the caller’s authenticity
    • You can note the caller’s name, phone number, and office location and tell them that you want to first validate their identity.
    • You can then verify that the employee works for the CRA or that the CRA did contact you by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.
  • verify your tax status and make sure your address and email are up to date
    • You can confirm this information with the CRA either online through the CRA secure portals, or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.

When in doubt, ask yourself

  1. Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or re-assessment indicating a tax balance due?
  2. Have I received previous written communication from the CRA by email notification or mail about the subject of the call? Does the CRA have my most recent contact information, like my email and address?
  3. Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return or that is not related to my debt with the CRA?
  4. Did I recently submit a request to make changes to my business number information?
  5. Why is the caller pressuring me to act immediately? Am I confident the caller is a CRA employee?

CRA phone interactions generally come after written communications, such as an email notification to check your online mail or a letter, and are made under special circumstances. For example:

  • If you have a tax debt, a collections officer may call you to discuss your case and request a payment. In this case, you may need to provide some information about your household financial situation.
  • If you have not filed your income tax and benefit return, a CRA officer may contact you by telephone to ask you for the missing returns.
  • If the CRA has questions about your tax and benefit records, or documents you have submitted, a CRA officer may contact you by phone for further discussion.

To report scams

To report deceptive telemarketing, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe that you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.

 

 

Business Investment Loss – Denied

In a Tax Court of Canada case, a mother had guaranteed the business loans for her son’s corporation. Unfortunately, the corporation failed and subsequently the mother paid off the loans. The mother claimed business investment losses for the amounts repaid.

Her only motivation for the guarantee was to assist her son’s business. She did not charge a guarantee fee and thus there was no possibility of investment income.

The Tax Court disallowed the business investment losses for the mother because she did not make the loan guarantees to earn income. Solution – Charge an annual fee.

Claiming Automobile Expenses

One of the more common expenses claimed by taxpayers are automobile expenses (applies to any motor vehicle such as van, bus, pickup truck, station wagon, SUV or other truck). Many individuals use their automobile for work or business and incur personal expenses in doing so.

It is important to note that only expenses of a business nature are eligible as a deduction against their related income. As such, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has strict requirements in ensuring that only business-related expenses are claimed. As a result, the retention of automobile tax records becomes imperative for every taxpayer that uses an automobile for work or business.

Automobile allowance rates

The automobile allowance rates for 2016 and 2017 are:

  • 54¢ per kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometre driven; and
  • 48¢ per kilometre driven after that.

In the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut, there is an additional 4¢ per kilometre allowed for travel.

Nurse practitioners can now certify applications for the disability tax credit

Nurse practitioners can now certify applications for the disability tax credit

Nurse practitioners can now fill out and sign Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate making the application process  for the disability tax credit (DTC) easier and more accessible.

Through Budget 2017, the Government has made a change to recognize nurse practitioners as one of the medical practitioners who can certify Form T2201. With over 4,500 nurse practitioners across Canada who can certify patients for the DTC, this change is going to have a positive impact for Canadians living with a disability.

Individuals who want to apply for the DTC, but live in an area where nurse practitioners are the first point of contact, as for example, in Canada’s North, will benefit from this change.

What is the disability tax credit?

The disability tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay.
Applying for the credit is a three step process:

  1. Fill out Part A of Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate
  2. Have your nurse practitioner fill out Part B
  3. Send form T2201 to the CRA

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door to other federal, provincial, or territorial programs designed to support those with disabilities or their families. These include the registered disability savings plan, the working income tax benefit disability supplement, and the child disability benefit.

Employee benefits: Taxable or not?

Employee benefits: Taxable or not?

By Sheryl Smolkin

Does your T4 say you made more than you thought you did? Perhaps you didn’t consider your taxable benefits. Find out what is and isn’t taxable.

When you get your T4 slip in January or February, you may wonder why the employment income reported in Box 14 is higher than the salary or wages you earned for the year. That’s because your employer must report premiums it pays for certain group benefits and the value of some perks as a taxable benefit, and you must pay taxes on those amounts.

In addition, both you and your employer have to make Canada or Quebec Pension Plan contributions on the value of all taxable benefits plus Employment Insurance contributions on taxable benefits you receive in cash.

However, there are valuable company perks, such as a cell phone, tuition reimbursement and service awards, that aren’t taxable in certain circumstances. Here is how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) treats eight common employee benefits for tax purposes:

  1. Group life/health premiums

Employer-paid premiums for group life insurance, dependant life insurance, accident insurance and critical illness insurance are taxable benefits and the amounts paid on your behalf will be added to your taxable income. In Quebec, premiums for health and dental insurance are also considered a taxable benefit. You may also be able to claim health insurance premiums you paid as a tax credit.

  1. Group short- or long-term disability

Employer-paid short-term disability (STD) or long-term disability (LTD) premiums are not taxable benefits. However, when your employer pays any amount towards your STD or LTD coverage, any benefits you may collect in future will be taxable.

  1. Non-group insurance plans

A non-group insurance plan is a plan for an individual employee. Employer contributions to a non-group insurance plan are a taxable benefit even if the plan is a sickness, accident insurance or disability insurance plan For example, an executive may negotiate individual paid participation in a comprehensive health/wellness plan with a private facility as part of her total compensation. The annual fee would be taxable.

  1. Pension plan/Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan

Your employer’s contributions to a registered pension plan on your behalf are not taxable. However, when your employer contributes to or matches your group RRSP contributions, this amount is viewed as taxable earnings that increase your income. If you notify your employer that you have sufficient RRSP contribution room, your employer may deposit the full amount into your RRSP account without any withholding tax being deducted. And as long as you have RRSP contribution room, you can deduct the total amount contributed to your RRSP in the year of contribution or a future year. Be aware, however, that your employer’s contribution to your pension reduces your RRSP contribution room the following year, via the “pension adjustment” that is reported on your T4 and that the CRA notifies you about every year.

  1. Cellphone

Companies frequently provide employees with smartphones plus a voice and data plan. Even if you use your phone for both work and pleasure, the CRA will generally not consider the payments as a taxable benefit, as long as the cost of the cellphone plan is reasonable and you do not incur costs for personal use (e.g., additional long-distance charges) beyond the basic fee for the plan.

  1. Equipment for working from home

Full- or part-time arrangements for working at home are now common in many industries. Computer equipment or other supplies provided by your employer to enable you to do your job are not taxable benefits. Where you must provide your own office space or equipment, you may be able to deduct all or part of these expenses for tax purposes if your employer completes and signs a Form T2200 that you file with your tax return.

  1. Tuition reimbursement

Tuition paid by your employer is not a taxable benefit if you require the training to progress in your job. For example, if you are employed by a bank and are working towards a Certified Financial Planner designation, any tuition reimbursed by the bank for this program would not be taxable. Also, if the company gives your son or daughter a bursary or scholarship, neither you nor your child is required to pay taxes on the amount.

  1. Gifts and awards

If your employer gives non-cash gifts or awards worth under $500 for outstanding service or for milestones such as a wedding or the birth of a child, the value of the award is not a taxable benefit. Similarly, non-cash awards for long service worth less than $500 are not considered taxable benefits if you have worked for the organization for at least five years and you are not eligible for such an award more often than every five years. Incentive awards and performance bonuses are included in your taxable income, however.

When starting a new job and enrolling in a benefits plan, it’s useful to know how your benefits are taxed so you can structure your choices accordingly. Your employer or benefits provider can give you more information.

Sheryl Smolkin

Sheryl Smolkin is a lawyer who writes about workplace pensions and benefits. Follow her @SherylSmolkin

https://www.sunlife.ca/ca/Learn+and+Plan/Money/Insuring+your+health/Employee+benefits+Taxable+or+not?vgnLocale=en_CA

How to manage the taxes of someone who has died

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. With this in mind, here are a few things to consider when handling someone’s taxes after they have passed away

What to do first 

Tell CRA the deceased’s date of death as soon as possible. You can call CRA at 1-800-959-8281.

If the deceased was receiving any of the benefit and credit payments listed below, contact the CRA as soon as possible to stop the payments and, if applicable, transfer them to a survivor:

Tell Service Canada the deceased’s date of death by contacting a Service Canada or calling 1-800-622-6232.

Important facts

You must file a final return after a death. On the deceased’s final return, the legal representative of the deceased must report all of the deceased’s income from January 1 of the year of death up to and including the date of death, and claim all credits and deductions that the person is entitled to. Income earned after the date of death may have to be reported on a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return.

The legal representative is required to file any tax returns for the years that the person did not file before he or she died.

If an individual who pays tax by instalments dies during the year, instalment payments due on or after the date of death do not have to be paid.

The due date for the final return depends on the deceased’s date of death. Generally, the final return is due on or before the following dates:

If the death occurred between January 1 and October 31 inclusive, the due date for the final return is April 30 of the following year.

If the death occurred between November 1 and December 31 inclusive, the due date for the final return is six months after the date of death.

Gov’t of Canada targeting retail workers with employee discount tax

A spokesperson for Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier confirmed that her office is reviewing the proposal, which appears in the latest version of the tax folio from the Canada Revenue Agency.

The proposal is to tax employee discounts as income based on the amount of money saved. Under the proposed change, employee discounts would be counted as income, and the value of that discount would need to be taxed at “equal to the fair market value of the merchandise purchased, less the amount paid by the employee.” Exceptions would only be made on discounts that are afforded to some members of the public at some point during the year.

The latest version of the Canada Revenue Agency’s tax folio advises employers that “when an employee receives a discount on merchandise because of their employment, the value of the discount is generally included in the employee’s income,” with the value of the discount assessed at “equal to the fair market value of the merchandise purchased, less the amount paid by the employee,” unless the discount is “available to the public or a segment of the public, at some point during the year.”

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre issued a statement Monday saying the change means the government plans to tax things like a 10 per cent shoe discount offered to shoe salesmen, a meal discount offered to a waitress or a free gym membership given to a fitness trainer.

Before the change, which some expect to come into effect Jan. 1, employers were advised to tax employee discounts only if the employee was purchasing the merchandise below the employer’s cost.

Not only would the change “target those who can least afford to pay more,” according to Poilievre, but it means local business owners will have the headache of needing to “track all of these discounts.”

Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier said in a written statement that the CRA’s goal is “to ensure that the agency does not impose additional administrative burdens on businesses.”

With a report from CTV’s Kevin Gallagher

ctvnews.ca/politics

CRA Project – Third-Party Information Request to disclose Canadian Square sellers

CRA requested Square (service that allows you to accept  payments, using a reader that plugs into your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad) to disclose information about Canadian Square sellers who processed greater than CAD$20,000 on Square during any of the calendar years 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015; or during the period of January 1, 2016 to April 30, 2016.

Square will share with the CRA the following information associated with the Square account:

 The name(s) and address(es) associated with the seller’s Square account
The associated financial institution(s) name, transit number and account number
The number of Square Readers and Stands linked to the account
The total monthly aggregate of transactional information between the seller and their customers
The number of employee permissions granted through employee / location management functionality
Square encourages affected sellers to verify their tax statements with the amounts indicated on their Square Dashboard to ensure they have accurately reported their commerce activities.

Renting out a room to students? CRA wants to know

As students fan out across the country for another school year, homeowners are finding opportunity in renting out accommodations.

There’s nothing wrong with making a few bucks renting out a room, but the Canada Revenue Agency wants a piece of the action – and how you claim deductions could be costly in the long run.

The name of the game is to preserve your home’s principal residence status. If the CRA considers your home a principal residence, you don’t pay any tax on the amount it appreciates when it is sold. As an example; if you bought your house for $400,000 and sold it for $800,000, you don’t pay any tax on that $400,000 gain.

If your home does not meet the CRA’s principal residence requirement, you must pay tax on half of that $400,000.      

If you are drawing rental income from your home, there are three ways to ensure it remains your principal residence for tax purposes:

  1. The partial use of the residence for income-producing purposes is ancillary to the main use as a residence. In other words, there’s a fine line between renting out a room and renting out a house the owner happens to live in.
  2. There is no structural change to the property. You can put a coat of paint on the walls and make some modifications but you can’t build an addition, for example.
  3. You cannot claim capital cost allowance (CCA), or depreciation on the property.

Of course, the rental income must be claimed (form T776) and filed with your tax return, but there are several deductions available to lower your tax bill. They can include: a portion of mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance, landscaping, utilities, advertising costs, office expenses, professional fees, management fees, salaries or wages, travel costs, and car expenses.

If you’re not sure if you are crossing the line between principal residence and income property, consult your tax professional.

By Dale Jackson 

Dale is Finance Journalist: writer and producer Business News Network, Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Finance.

 

 

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.

 

 

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Phone: (403) 220-1570

Email: Padgett Calgary

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