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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

 

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

Per Diem Meal Allowance

In a recent Technical Interpretation, CRA noted that an employer-provided meal allowance will not be taxable where the following conditions are met:

→ It must be a reasonable amount;

→ The allowance is received to cover expenses while travelling away from the metropolitan area or the municipality where the employer’s establishment is located, at which the employee normally worked or to which the employee normally reported;

→ The travelling is done to perform the duties of an office or employment.

As a general rule, CRA allows an employer to use $17 (including the GST/HST, and PST) per meal as a reasonable over-time meal allowance. The rate is stated in the CRA Guide T4130.

CRA usually considers an allowance to be reasonable if it covers the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by an employee who is travelling for employment purposes.

TAX ALERT – GOVERNMENT SIMPLIFIES MEASURES TO REIN IN INCOME SPRINKLING

On December 13, the federal government released legislation to simplify restrictions on income sprinkling, proposed to go into effect January 1, 2018. These revisions indicate they have listened to feedback during the consultation period, by providing more certainty to taxpayers through the introduction of “bright-line” tests to automatically exclude some family members, and allow income sprinkling for those members who make sufficient contributions to the business.

A summary of what the revised legislation contains can be found at https://www.bdo.ca/en-ca/insights/tax/tax-alerts/

 

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.

 

 

Principle Residence Exemption

Did you sell your house in 2017?

Commencing with sales in the 2016 tax year, you must report basic information, such as the date of acquisition, the proceeds of disposition (the sale), and the address, on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your home to claim the full principal residence exemption.

You do not have to pay any tax on the capital gain when you sell your home provided it was your principal residence for all the years that you owned it and you did not use any part of it to earn income.

A property may qualify as your principal residence for any year that you or certain family members lived in the house, if none of you designated another property as a principal residence for that year.

File a tax return and claim the principal residence exemption for the capital gains.

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

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.

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