Archive for the ‘Knowledge Bureau’ Category

Dying without a Will

A will is a document that says how you wish property to be divided after your death.

In Alberta, if you die without a will or if you leave property that is not disposed of by will, the Wills and Succession Act determines what will happen to your property.

 If you die leaving children but no spouse, then everything is divided equally among your children. If any of your children died before you, but left children (your grandchildren) who survive you, are entitled to share the portion of your estate which your child would have received if he or she was alive.

If you are married or in an adult interdependent partnership and you have children who are also the children of your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner, your spouse or adult interdependent partner is entitled to receive your entire estate.

 If you are married or in an adult interdependent partnership and you have children who are not also the children or your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner, your surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner will be entitled to receive either 50% of your estate or an amount set out in the Act at the same time of your death, whichever amount is greater. Your children are entitled to share the balance of your estate equally. If any of your children died before you, but left children (your grandchildren) who survive you, those grandchildren are entitled to share the portion of your estate which your child would have received if he or she was alive.

If you leave no spouse or children or descendants, your estate goes to your nearest kin, in the following order: to your parents in equal shares, or to your surviving parent; if both of your parents are dead, then to your brothers and sisters in equal shares. The children of deceased brother and sisters inherit their parent’s share. If you have no surviving nieces or nephews, then your estate would be left to your next of kin according to different degrees of blood relationships. For example, your estate would pass first to your grandparents. If your grandparents have died before you, your estate will be divided equally among your surviving aunts and uncles. If you do not have surviving aunts and uncles, your estate will be divided among your cousins. If you do not leave any traceable next of kin, your estate goes to the provincial government and is used for universities to provide funding for scholarships or fields of research.

The Wills and Succession Act does not consider the needs of each particular family and some unfair situations may result.

A surviving parent may go through needless inconvenience when the other parent dies without a will. For example, where part of the deceased’s estate is to go to the children and the children are under 18 years of age; their share may be held in trust for them by the Public Trustee of Alberta.

As a result, a parent or guardian with small children may only be allowed to use that money if he or she applies to the Public Trustee each time she needs money to buy something for the children. The Public Trustee invests the money held in trust, and charges an administrative fee for acting as trustee for the children.

When the surviving spouse is elderly and the children of the deceased are adults who are able to earn a living, it may be the case that the surviving spouse needs the inheritance more than the adult children do. However, without a will, the estate will not necessarily pass entirely to the surviving spouse. This problem could be avoided by making a will which would leave the entire estate to the surviving spouse.

If you do not have any traceable relatives, you probably still wish to decide what happens to your estate when you die. You may prefer to leave your estate to a charitable organization or a friend rather than to the provincial government. You can state your preference in a will. If you leave any portion of your estate to a charitable organization, your estate will receive a tax benefit as a result of the donation.

Alberta has additional legislation that affects what happens to your estate if you die without a will. For example, The Dower Act, which prevents a married person from selling, mortgaging, or willing away the homestead without the spouse’s consent, entitles the surviving spouse to the use of the homestead for the remainder of his or her life, subject to the interests of any mortgagee or other registered creditor. Under the Dower Act, a homestead is the land upon which there is a dwelling house occupied by the owner (that is the deceased spouse, prior to his or her death), as longs as there are no joint owners on title to the land. The surviving spouse is allowed to occupy the dwelling house during his or her lifetime, or can rent the land and receive the income. This is the case regardless of the terms of the will or the provisions of the Wills and Succession Act.

If you die without a will and the share going to your dependent family members under the Wills and Succession Act is not enough for their proper maintenance and support, your dependent family members may apply to the court for more money. The judge, in such cases may make changes as he or she sees fit. According to the Family Maintenance and Support provisions of the Wills and Succession Act, dependent family members include your spouse or adult interdependent partner, children under the age of 18, and children over the age of 18 who are unable to earn a living due to a mental or physical disability. These provisions also apply where a will is made but does not make adequate provision for dependent family members. If you leave a will, you can specifically address the individual needs of your spouse and minor or disabled children. You can also state your reasons for not leaving a larger portion of your estate to certain of your family members. For example, if you and your spouse have signed a pre-nuptial agreement in which you agree to keep your finances separate, you may wish to make reference to that agreement in your will.

In summary, if you die with a will in Alberta, there are laws that determine what happens to your estate. You should make a will if you want to decide what will happen to your estate when you die, rather than have the provincial legislation do it for you.

http://clg.ab.ca/programs-services/dial-a-law/dying-without-a-will/

 

ESSENTIAL TAX NUMBERS: UPDATED FOR 2018

http://www.advisor.ca/

WORKING CLIENTS

Maximum RRSP contribution: The maximum contribution for 2017 is $26,010; for 2018, $26,230.

TFSA limit: The annual limit for 2017 is $5,500, for a total of $52,000 in room available in 2017 for someone who has never contributed and has been eligible for the TFSA since its introduction in 2009. In 2018, the annual limit is $5,500, for a total of $57,500 for someone who has been eligible since 2009. The annual TFSA limit will be indexed to inflation in future years.

Maximum pensionable earnings: For 2017, the maximum pensionable earnings is $55,300 ($55,900 in 2018), and the basic exemption amount is $3,500 for 2017 and 2018.

Maximum EI insurable earnings: The maximum annual insurance earnings (federal) for 2017 is $51,300; for 2018, $51,700.

Lifetime capital gains exemption: The lifetime capital gains exemption is $835,716 for 2017 and $848,252 in 2018.

Low-interest loans: The current family loan rate is 1%.

Home buyers’ amount: Did your buy a home? You may be able to claim up to $5,000 of the purchase cost, and get a non-refundable tax credit of up to $750.

Medical expenses threshold: For the 2017 tax year, the maximum is 3% of net income or $2,268, whichever is less. For 2018, the max is 3% or $2,302, whichever is less.

Donation tax credits: After March 20, 2013, the first-time donor super credit is 25% for up to $1,000 in donations, for one tax year between 2013 and 2017.

Basic personal amount: For 2017, it’s $11,635, line 300. For 2018, it’s $11,809.

OLDER CLIENTS

Age amount: You can claim this amount if they were 65 years of age or older on December 31 of the taxation year and have income less than $84,597 in 2017 (the 2018 threshold is not yet available). The maximum amount they can claim in 2017 is $7,225, and in 2018 is $7,333.

Pension income amount: You may be able to claim up to $2,000 if they reported eligible pension, superannuation or annuity payments.

OAS recovery threshold: If your net world income exceeds $74,788 for 2017 and $75,910 for 2018, you may have to repay part of or the entire OAS pension.

CLIENTS WITH CHILDREN

Family caregiver amount: If you have a dependant who’s physically or mentally impaired, you may be able to claim up to an additional $2,121 in calculating certain non-refundable tax credits.

Disability amount: The amount for 2017 is $8,113 (non-refundable credit; $8,235 in 2018), with a supplement up to $4,733 for those under 18 (the amount is reduced if child care expenses are claimed; $4,804 in 2018). Canadians claiming the disability tax credit (DTC) can file their T1 return online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate has been submitted to CRA for that tax year.

Child disability benefit: The child disability benefit is a tax-free benefit of up to $2,730 (for the period of July 2016 to June 2018) for families who care for a child under age 18 with a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions.

Canada Child Benefit: This non-taxable benefit is effective as of July 1, 2016. The maximum CCB benefit is $6,400 per child under age six and up to $5,400 per child aged six through 17. In the 2017 Fall Economic Update, the government pledged to index the benefit beginning in 2018.

Universal child care benefit (UCCB): This benefit was replaced with the Canada Child Benefit as of July 1, 2016. However, Canadian residents can still apply for previous years if they meet certain conditions, including living with the child and being primarily responsible for the child’s care and upbringing.

Child care expense deduction limits: As of 2017, the maximum amounts that can be claimed are $8,000 for children under age seven, $5,000 for children aged seven through 16, and $11,000 for children who are eligible for the disability tax credit.

Children’s fitness tax credit: This credit has been phased out, and is gone as of 2017.

Children’s arts tax credit: This credit has been phased out, and is gone as of 2017.

Originally published on Advisor.ca

1/26/2018 Essential tax numbers: updated for 2018 | Advisor.ca

 

Perspective on cash flow

A 26-year financial services veteran’s perspective on cash flow

Posted on: October 19, 2017 | Author: Myron Feser, vice president of sales, ATB Financial

Cash is king. For no one is this more true than for the entrepreneur who’s working to get their new business off the ground. Learning how to manage cash flow is a crucial milestone on the road to success.

Cash flow is the health of your company. Access to working capital will allow you to provide stability during tough times, while having cash available helps your business grow and thrive during prosperous ones. The ability to handle the ups and downs of any economic cycle also shows the bank that your company is well managed!

Of course, like many things involved in entrepreneurship, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, effectively managing cash flow can be downright overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s always a good idea to engage financial experts, like a business accountant, to help you. As your business grows, you may even want to think about bringing in someone to orchestrate your cashflow full-time.

Whether you’re managing your finances on your own or if you’ve brought in an expert, the next step is to understand your business cycle. That means knowing how quickly the goods or services you provide can be turned into cash. For example, if you have a manufacturing business your cycle might look like: Take raw materials -> manufacture product -> sell the product -> turn the receivable into cash.

The shorter the cycle, the better it is for your business as you’ll have more cash on hand. Even shortening your business cycle by one day can have a significant impact on your company’s working capital position.

Again, having working capital is crucial to building a successful business. Most businesses don’t fail because they aren’t profitable. They fail because they run out of cash. Keep an eye on your cash and your business cycle, and your business should thrive!

Myron’s top cash flow tips:

Entrepreneurs often underestimate how much working capital is required to grow their business. Talk to your banker and figure out how much you need.

Finance any capital purchases like capital assets so that you don’t tie up too much of your working capital.

Make sure you understand your finances and cash flow—even if you do bring in outside help. Monitoring your cash flow on a daily or weekly basis is critical.

Develop strategies to make your business cycle as short as possible.

Definitions

Working capital: the money you use for day-to-day operations. Current assets minus current liabilities.

Capital purchases: significant purchases that a company makes as an investment to acquire or improve long-term capital assets.

Capital assets: assets owned by the company, like buildings or equipment.

Business cycle: how fast you turn your inventory, product or service into cash.

FEDS CLARIFY INCOME SPRINKLING PROPOSAL

Advisor.ca http://www.advisor.ca/tax/tax-news/feds-clarify-income-sprinkling-proposal

The federal government provided revised income sprinkling measures, offering clarity about how its controversial changes to the Income Tax Act will be implemented.

Specifically, the feds provided bright-line tests for determining whether family members are significantly involved in a family business, and thus are excluded from potentially being taxed at the highest marginal tax rate (known as the tax on split income, or TOSI).

A key requirement is “regular, continuous and substantial” contribution to the business, says Walsh. Family members who fall into these categories won’t be subject to TOSI:

Family members who fall into these categories won’t be subject to TOSI:

  • The business owner’s spouse, provided the owner meaningfully contributed to the business and is aged 65 or over. This aligns with current pension income splitting rules.
  • Adults aged 18 or over who have made a regular, substantial labour contribution – generally an average of at least 20 hours per week – to the business during the year, or during any five previous years. The measure recognizes that post-secondary students may step back from the business during the school year. Hours will be prorated for seasonal businesses.
  • Adults aged 25 or over who own 10% or more of a corporation that earns less than 90% of its income from services, and isn’t a professional corporation. This is consistent with current tax rules concerning capital, and recognizes that some service-based or professional-based businesses often don’t require significant capital to do business. (Service- or professional-based businesses must pass the labour test, above). Business owners have until Dec. 31, 2018, to adjust to this exclusion.
  • People who receive capital gains from qualified small business corporation shares and qualified farm or fishing property,if they wouldn’t be subject to the highest marginal tax rate on the gains under existing rules. This is consistent with the feds’ withdrawal in October of the lifetime capital gains exemption measures.

Family members aged 25 or older who don’t meet any of these exclusions would be subject to a reasonableness test to determine how much income, if any, would be subject to the highest marginal tax rate.

In certain cases, adults aged 18 to 24 who have contributed to a family business with their own capital will be able to use the reasonableness test on the related income.

In a conference call, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said CRA audits will require proof when it comes to claiming an exemption for a family member.

Wills and the Executor

A will specifies your instructions as to how your assets will be distributed on your death. In the will, you name an executor to act as your personal representative and to deal with all the tax, investment, administrative, and other duties involved in distributing and overseeing your assets as per your instructions.

Some people feel honored to be named as the executor, in that it suggests respect and trust in their abilities. However, most people fail to realize how much responsibility is required, the amount of time and effort that the appointment often.

Here are some of the responsibilities of an executor:

Locate the will of the deceased. Determine that the will is the last will of the deceased.

  • Locate the will of the deceased. Determine that the will is the last will of the deceased.
  • Make the funeral arrangements if necessary. Obtain the death certificate.exe
  • Take control of the assets. Arrange security and insurance if required. Have the assets valued for the date of death.
  • Manage the assets for the estate as the trustee.
  • Dispose of perishable assets.
  • Contact financial institutions to change the name on the accounts to “the estate of”,
  • Open a bank account for the estate.
  • Arrange the probate of the will if applicable.
  • Assess the income tax situation and file any required returns.
  • Pay the bills of the deceased and the estate.
  • Make provision for the immediate needs of the spouse and any dependents.
  • Set aside reserve funds for the payment of estimated debts, taxes, probate fees, and compensation for the executor.
  • Prepare an interim distribution to the beneficiaries if available.

Conflicts often arise between the executors and the heirs. The beneficiaries may be suspicious of the executor because he or she does not have enough knowledge or skills, is insensitive, is too hasty, shows favoritism, etc. Anyone who is appointed as an executor should be aware that these are common situations during emotional times.

An executor requires many skills. One of the most important is the ability to know when outside expertise is required. An executor frequently hires a lawyer, accountant or trust company for assistance. Sometimes, appointing an independent outside party, such as a trust company as the executor may be the best choice, especially when a family conflict can be expected, although it can be costly

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.

 

 

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

Is Canada’s economy improving?

Canada’s gently improving economy

A number of recent numbers from Statistics Canada testify to gently improving economic conditions.

• In November, wholesale sales  rose 0.7% to $49.6 billion, continuing a gradual upward trend begun in early 2009, deep in the recession. Five of the seven subsectors made gains with the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry leading with a 6.3% increase. The motor vehicle and parts subsector, up 1.5%, recorded its second consecutive increase.

Retail sales also edged upward in November to $39.4 billion, adding 0.2%, the fifth consecutive monthly gain. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers as well as electronics and appliance stores more than offset declines at most store types, says StatsCan.

Manufacturing sales,  likewise, increased in November, up 1.7% to $49.9 billion. As with wholesale sales, manufacturing sales have pursued a gradual upward trajectory since early 2009. Sales rose in 12 of 21 industries, says StatsCan, with the transportation equipment industry — up 3.8% to $8.7 billion in the month — leading the charge and accounting for more than a third of the total increase. Within that industry group, motor vehicle industry sales increased 4.1% and aerospace product and parts industry gained 6.5%.

In the primary metal industry, sales rose 5.9% to $4 billion, the highest gain since July 2011.

• Also on a positive note, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance  (EI) benefits in November decreased by 4,500 or 0.8% to 528,000, says StatsCan. From a peak close to 850,000 in mid-2009, the number of EI recipients has consistently edged its way downward.

• Investment in non-residential building construction was $12.0 billion in the fourth quarter, a 1.0% gain from the previous quarter. This was the third consecutive quarterly increase and was led by higher spending for commercial and industrial buildings.

• Canadian existing home sales continued to weaken in December, plunging 17.4% year over year, reports the Canadian Real Estate Association. The silver lining in that dark cloud is a mere 1.6% slippage in housing prices year over year.

“The Canadian housing market continues to cool,” wrote Bank of Montreal senior economist Benjamin Reitzes in a recent report. “While some will focus on the deep dive in sales from a year ago, it looks as though prices are providing a better read on the health of the sector, as homeowners are in no rush to sell. Prices are easing gently, consistent with a soft landing through much of the country.”

TD Bank Group economist Francis Fong, likewise, ends his recent report on an upbeat note. Although he doesn’t see a lot of growth in the first half of this year, the second half is a different story. “By the second half of [the] year, we do anticipate an acceleration of economic growth,” he wrote, “particularly in the United States. With Canadian manufacturers and exporters still tightly linked to the fortunes of the U.S. economy, this should translate into a stronger pace of manufacturing sales growth.”

This article was written by Evelyn Jacks. Evelyn Jacks is president of Knowledge Bureau and has authored several of its tax courses and books.

Have I paid more taxes than necessary?

Evelyn Jacks: Don’t pay more taxes than necessary

You may not be able to control the economy but you can control the amount of income taxes you pay.

 

The growth of wealth in your lifetime will occur naturally if you do some of the right things. But the capital you accumulate — your savings — can fall victim to the eroding effects of inflation and economic uncertainty if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, under our system of self-assessment, it is your legal right to arrange your affairs within the framework of the law to pay the least possible taxes. So, to secure your own future and that of your heirs, be tax-efficient and protect earnings and savings.

This is very important because — even though you may not see your financial affairs this way — your provincial government may consider you “rich” for income tax purposes and you’ll be in line for the new, “high-income surtaxes” on withdrawal of savings as a pension or on money that’s left unspent.

So, when you complete your tax returns, be tax-efficient. If you discover you have overpaid your taxes, you can request adjustments to prior filed federal T1 returns within 10 years after the end of the taxation year being adjusted. Adjust your tax return by following these instructions:

  • If you think you missed claiming something on a previously filed return, call your tax practitioner to make an adjustment, or do it yourself using form T1-ADJ, available on the CRA’s website.
  • You can also make an electronic adjustment on the CRA website. Log on to “My account” and choose the “Change my return” option.
  • Have supporting documentation available in case of audit.
  • Never file a second tax return.

It’s Your Money. Your Life.  File a tax return each year on time to recover tax refunds and preserve wealth. You can even recover “gold” from prior years by adjusting previously filed returns. Many taxpayers miss claiming all the deductions and credits to which they are entitled. Be sure you’re not one of them.

Evelyn Jacks is the best-selling author of Jacks on Tax, Your Do-it-yourself Guide to Filing Taxes Online and Essential Tax Facts, Secrets and Strategies for Take-Charge People, available at www.knowledgebureau.com and better bookstores.

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