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What's New by Month

November 2017

New Brunswick Small Business Tax Changes - November 14, 2017

On November 14, New Brunswick tabled Bill 23 which reduces the small business corporate income tax rate to 2.5%, and revises the non-eligible dividend tax credit rate for 2018, 2019 and subsequent taxation years.  The 2018 table of marginal tax rates has been revised to reflect this change.

Ontario 2017 Fall Economic Statement - November 14, 2017

Ontario announced that the small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced from 4.5% to 3.5% effective January 1, 2018, with a corresponding reduction to the non-eligible dividend tax credit rate, to 3.2863%.  We've updated the Ontario table of marginal tax rates for 2018 to reflect this change.

Ontario Seniors' Public Transit Tax Credit

Ontario's 2017 Budget introduced a refundable tax credit for public transit costs for seniors who are at least 65 at the end of the previous taxation year, for costs incurred on or after July 1, 2017.  Up to $1,500 of transit costs can be claimed for 2017, for a refundable credit of $225.  In 2018 the maximum claim will be $3,000.

2018 Federal Budget - Pre-Budget Consultations

If you'd like to provide your opinions to the federal government on the upcoming budget, you can do so by completing their surveys, or sending them an email.  No end date for the consultations has yet been announced.

Saskatchewan November 2017 Business Tax Amendments

On November 7th, Saskatchewan passed Bill 84, which increases the general corporate income tax rate to 12%, increases the small business deduction threshold to $600,000, and increases the enhanced dividend tax credit rate to 11%.  All revisions are effective for the 2018 and subsequent taxation years.

2018 Basic Income Tax Calculator

Compare taxes and marginal tax rates for both types of Canadian dividends, capital gains, and other income, for all provinces and territories, for 2013 to 2018.  Tax bracket thresholds and tax credit amounts have not yet been confirmed to Canada Revenue Agency.

Nova Scotia 2018 Marginal Tax Rates

We've revised the Nova Scotia 2018 marginal tax rate tables to reflect the additional $3,000 personal amount which is reduced at the rate of 6% in excess of taxable income over $25,000.  This increases the marginal tax rate for taxable incomes between $25,000 and $75,000.  The regular personal amount of $8,481 does not affect marginal tax rates for taxable incomes over $8,481, because it is not reduced as taxable income increases.

BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) Task Force

The BC government announced the creation of a task force to advise on eliminating MSP premiums within four years, and to examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from the premiums.  Their final report is due March 31, 2018.  British Columbians are encouraged to express their views on how to replace the revenues from the premiums.

2018 Canada Pension Plan Maximum Pensionable Earnings

The CPP maximum pensionable earnings for 2018 is $55,900, up from $55,300 in 2017.  With the rate unchanged at 4.95%, the maximum employer/employee contribution will be $2,593.80, and $5,187.60 for self-employed.

October 2017

2018 RRSP Contribution Limit

The 2018 Contribution Limit will be the lesser of 18% of earned income less any applicable pension adjustments, or $26,230.

2018 TFSA Contribution Limit

The TFSA contribution limit for 2018 will again be $5,500.  At the current rate of inflation, it will increase to $6,000 in 2019.

Old Age Security (OAS) Clawback

If you have capital losses carried forward and unrealized capital gains, and are not going to be collecting your OAS pension for a year or so yet, you may be able to do something now to avoid or reduce an OAS clawback in the future.

2018 Non-Refundable Personal Tax Credits

We've published the tables of non-refundable tax credits for 2018 for Canada and all provinces and territories except Quebec.  These amounts have not yet been confirmed to Canada Revenue Agency amounts.

Nova Scotia Personal Tax Credits Enhancements

The Nova Scotia 2017 Budget announced enhancements to the Basic Personal, Spousal, Eligible Dependant, and Age Amounts.  The enhancements are additional tax credits calculated separately from the usual tax credit, and are not shown in the tables of non-refundable tax credits.

Life in the Tax Lane November 2017

This month's 10 minute video talks about categories of corporate expenses for which CRA now wants more detail; Interesting quirks regarding CPP survivor benefits; Corporate management fees between related companies; Investment management fees for registered accounts, paid outside of the registered account, = tax advantage starting 2019, taxable at 100%; Setting up a legacy contact on Facebook (good plan); Trump administration plan for the US Tax Code.

2018 Tables of Personal Marginal Income Tax Rates

We have published our 2017/2018 tax rate tables, which show the combined federal and provincial/territorial tax rates for capital gains, both types of Canadian dividends and other income.  The indexation factors, tax brackets and tax rates have not yet been confirmed to Canada Revenue Agency numbers.

Fall Economic Statement October 24, 2017

The Fall Economic Statement announced changes in the gross-up rate and dividend tax rate for eligible dividends, in conjunction with the reduction of the small business corporate income tax rate for 2018 and later years.  No legislation has yet been tabled regarding private  corporations income sprinkling and passive investment income.  The Canada Child Benefit will be indexed beginning July 1, 2018, and the Working Income Tax Benefit will be enhanced in the 2019 taxation year.

Small Business Passive Investment Income

The Federal government announced on October 18, 2017 that the income earned from past investments will be protected, and a $50,000 threshold on passive income in a year will be available to provide more flexibility for business owners to hold savings for multiple purposes.

Small Business Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption and Income Sprinkling Proposals

The Federal government will not go ahead with proposed changes to the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE), and will simplify the proposed changes regarding income sprinkling so that most private corporations are not affected.  Revised draft legislative proposals will be released later in the fall, to be effective in 2018.

Small Business Corporate Tax Rate Reduction 2018

The Federal Government announced on October 16, 2017 that the small business corporate income tax rate, for Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPCs) would be reduced to 10% effective January 1, 2018 and to 9% effective January 1, 2019.  Any possible changes in gross-up rate or dividend tax credit were not addressed.

September 2017

Life in the Tax Lane October 2017

This month's 10 minute video sheds more light on proposed changes to private corporation tax planning.  If you own a small business, whether corporation or partnership, even informal partnership, high income or low income, be sure to watch the video.

Motor Vehicle Expenses Related to Rental Properties

If you own one or more rental properties, the motor vehicle expenses you can deduct depend on a few factors.  Make sure you keep all receipts, and have a log of all your mileage, and all mileage related to your real estate rentals.

International Students Studying in Canada

International students studying in Canada may have to file a Canadian income tax return.  See the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) information on International students studying in Canada, and our article on Who Pays Tax in Canada.

Nova Scotia 2017-2018 Budget - September 26, 2017

The pre-election budget tabled by NS in April was not passed.  The new September budget reflects the same tax changes: increased basic personal, spousal, eligible dependant and age amounts for 2018, and increased small business threshold effective January 1, 2017.

BC MSP 2018

BC's MSP rates have been reduced by 50% for all British Columbians.  No need to apply for premium reduction unless your ADJUSTED net income is less than $42,000.

Detailed Canadian Income Tax Calculator

The Canadian Income Tax Calculator for 2017 has been updated to include the BC September 2017 Budget Update changes regarding the reduction of MSP premiums for 2018, which are based on 2017 income.

Making a Spousal RRSP Contribution Online

If you plan to make a spousal RRSP contribution online, BE CAREFUL!  You probably have to be logged into the spouse's RRSP account online to do this, and indicate it is a spousal contribution.  If you're not sure about what you're doing, don't do the contribution online.

Transferring Capital Losses to a Spouse

Capital losses can be transferred to a spouse by utilizing the superficial loss rules.  Your spouse must hold the shares for more than 30 days after your disposition before selling the shares.

Donating Shares or Other Capital Property Can Eliminate Capital Gains

Capital gains can be eliminated by donating certain types of capital property (qualified investments, prescribed debt obligations, or ecologically sensitive land) to qualified donees.  If you were planning to make a donation of cash but could donate property instead, you can save some tax money.  Best to do this by the end of November for shares, or possibly months earlier for mutual funds. If neither you nor your spouse has claimed a donation tax credit in the past 5 years, don't forget that this is the last year for the First-Time Donor Super Credit.

2018 Employment Insurance Premium Rate

The 2018 EI rate will be $1.66 per $100 of insurable earnings, up 1.84% from the 2017 rate.  The maximum insurable earnings (MIE) increases to $51,700 from $51,300.  Quebec's premium rate for 2018 will be $1.30.

Manitoba Budget 2018 Pre-Budget Consultations

Manitoba Budget 2018’s pre-budget consultations will give Manitoba families the opportunity to share their views on three key issues for Manitoba’s future: sustaining health care, controlling marijuana use and balancing the budget.

BC September 2017 Budget Update

This budget takes the MSP reduction a little further and makes it applicable to all British Columbians, eliminating the need to apply for the reduced premium.  A new top tax rate of 16.8% is introduced for 2018, and the general corporate tax rate is increased for 2018, while the lower small business tax rate for 2017 is confirmed.  Some personal tax credits are eliminated, many other changes.

Loans to Spouse or Minor Children

If one spouse is in a higher tax bracket, it may be beneficial to lend money to the lower-income spouse or to a child, with the funds being used to purchase investments.  Tax on the investment income will be paid by the lower-income spouse at a lower marginal rate.  In order for this to work, interest must be paid by the spouse or child, at a minimum prescribed rate.

How Much Money Do You Need To Retire?

You should be thinking about this now, even if you are just starting out in your career.  This will be different for everyone, but we provide some guidance to help you figure things out.  We advise you to plan to live off your dividends once you retire, instead of drawing down your investments, if at all possible.

Reduce Income Tax Deductions Now for Current RRSP Contributions

If you have made your 2017 RRSP contributions already, you can complete a CRA form to get permission for your employer to deduct less income tax from you.  If you are self-employed, you may be able to reduce your instalments.

Government Benefits, Programs and Services

Links to information on services provided by the federal and provincial/territorial governments, for seniors, persons with disabilities, low-income, children, families, students and others.

August 2017

Life in the Tax Lane September 2017

This month's 10 minute video includes: Proposed changes to private corporation tax planning; GST/HST on taxi and commercial ride-sharing services (e.g. Uber); CRA collecting penalties for the IRS; IRS targeting Canadian companies with business in the US; Proprietorship - business loss vs personal venture; Indirect verification of income (IVI) by CRA by examining taxpayer records; Checklists for charities.

Rental Income - Business Income or Property Income?

When an individual earns income from the rental of real property, it may be considered business income (self-employment income) instead of property income (investment income).  These 2 types of income are treated differently for tax purposes.  This affects CPP premiums, among other things.

What Tax is Deducted from RRSP or RRIF Withdrawals?

The withholding tax rate depends on the amount withdrawn as well as other factors.  You may have to pay more tax or get a refund depending on your total taxable income when your tax return is filed.  When multiple lump-sum withdrawals are made, the withholding tax rate may be based on the total of those withdrawals in the year.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Survivor Benefits

There are three types of benefits that can be paid upon the death of a CPP contributor - a lump sum death benefit, a monthly survivor's pension to the spouse or common-law partner, and a monthly children's benefit payable to dependent children.

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

Do you qualify for the Disability Tax Credit?  See our article, which explains the requirements to qualify for this tax credit.  We have a link to very detailed information on the Canada Revenue website, which describes qualifying impairments, in text and video format.  If you have qualified for this credit for a number of years but have not claimed it, adjustments to your tax returns can be filed to claim it for up to 10 years.

School's Starting Soon - Students and Income Tax

There are many tax issues for students and/or their parents, such as eligibility for tuition, education and student loan interest tax credits, private school tuition fees, deducting moving expenses, and child care expenses.

BC 2017 Budget Update September 11, 2017

The BC Liberal government was defeated in a confidence vote, so the 2017 budget was not passed.  The new NDP government will be tabling a budget up date on September 11, 2017.

T+2 Settlement Date for Stock Trades

Starting September 5, 2017, the settlement date for trades of equities, corporate and long-term government bonds, mutual funds and ETFs will be 2 business days after the trade date, shortened from 3 business days.

July 2017

Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

Tax-Free Savings Accounts are available for Canadian residents who are 18 years of age or older.  However, a person must have reached the age of majority in their province or territory in order to open a TFSA brokerage account, which can hold shares in corporations.  The age of majority is 19 in some provinces and all 3 territories.  See our extensive information about TFSAs.

Life In The Tax Lane August 2017

Topics for this 10-minute video include the proposed tax changes re private corporations; CRA's retrieval of information from 3rd parties; Distributions of non-taxable amounts to non-residents; TFSA survivor payments; Managing affairs upon intestate death; and Reconciling shareholder draws.

2017 Donation Tax Credit Rates

The table of donation tax credit rates for 2017 is now published, and shows the amount of employment income required to completely utilize a $1,000 donation.  If you've never made a donation before, don't forget that this is the last year for the First Time Donor's Super Credit.

Voluntary Disclosure Deadline for Comments is August 8, 2017

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has proposed radical changes to the Voluntary Disclosure process, and the public is invited to provide feedback.  Our article on the VDP now includes a link to coverage of the proposed changes and their implications.

Proposed Federal Tax Changes - July 18, 2017

The Department of Financed published draft legislation to address tax planning strategies utilized by private corporations, including income/dividend sprinkling, passive investment income, and converting income into capital gains.  They are inviting comments on the proposed legislation.  Comments must be made by October 2, 2017.  The article includes a link to a helpful Video Tax News presentation on the proposed tax changes, as well as a link to the article "Is a 93% Tax Rate Fair to Canadian Small Business Owners?"

June 2017

Are Gifts or Inheritances Taxable?

There is no "gift tax" in Canada.  Any resident of Canada who receives a gift or inheritance of any amount from almost any source (except from an employer) will not have to include this in their income.  However, if capital property is given as a gift, the person who has given the gift will be deemed to have sold the capital property at fair market value, and will have to pay tax on any resulting capital gain.

Rule of 72 Calculator - Good to Know!

Use our calculator to see how long it will take to double your investment or your savings based on your rate of return.

Child Care Costs - Summer Activities

Make sure you keep the receipts for summer activities for your children that could qualify as child care expenses.  Some examples of eligible child care expenses include day-care centres and day nursery schools, some individuals providing child care services, day camps and day sports schools, educational institutions such as private schools (the portion of tuition costs relating to child care services), boarding schools, and overnight sports schools and camps.

Employee-Owned Motor Vehicles - Expenses Reimbursed by Employers or Deducted by Employee

A reasonable per-kilometre allowance is tax-free to the employee, deductible by the employer, and is the easiest method for an employee to recover vehicle expenses.

Life in the Tax Lane July 2017 Video

Topics:  Possible upcoming tax changes for private corporations; Tax preparers program; Feedback on CRA audits; Proposed changes to Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP); Changes done to Small Business Deduction (SBD).

Understanding Our Tables of Marginal Tax Rates

Please read this article to understand the tables of marginal tax rates, especially if you're trying to compare to one of our tax calculators, such as the Basic Income Tax Calculator.  In our tables, the marginal tax rates for capital gains and dividends at any income level (say $60,000) are the marginal rates on the next dollar of actual capital gains or actual dividend income, if the taxpayer has $60,000 of taxable income from sources other than capital gains or Canadian dividends.

Free in 30 - Becoming Financially Independent

Living below our means, saving and investing - this is the story of how we achieved financial independence.  Hopefully you can do the same.

Pension Income Tax Credit

What pension income qualifies? How can pension income be created? Pension splitting.

Qualified Investments

What investments can be held in an RRSP, RRIF, RESP or TFSA?

May 2017

Tax Exemption for Deployed Canadian Armed Forces and Police Officers

A notice of ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act was issued May 18, 2017, with the intention to exempt the military salaries of all Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed on named international operations from federal income taxes, up to and including the pay level of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement Pension Calculator

The CPP Retirement Pension Calculator can help you decide at what age to start receiving your CPP.  You'll need your CPP Statement of Contributions for this.

Life in the Tax Lane - June 2017 video

Topics:  Parking can be a taxable benefit to employees, as can employee discounts on merchandise;  Are your investment gains income or capital gains?; Part XII.2 tax re distributions to non-resident beneficiaries; Disposition of farm property by a non-resident; Billed-basis accounting FAQ (lawyers, accountants, etc); Small business deduction for farmers and fishers.

Seniors 2017 Tax Comparison Dividends vs Interest

We compare taxes paid in each province/territory by a senior with eligible dividends vs other income (foreign dividends, interest, etc.) - see how the taxes (including OAS clawback) are significantly lower with eligible dividends.

2017 Tax Comparison Dividends vs Interest

See the taxes paid at varying levels of eligible and non-eligible dividends and interest for all provinces and territories.  The lowest-tax provinces for higher levels of eligible dividends is AB.  ON is the lowest-tax province at $100,000 of non-eligible dividends.

2017 Tax Comparisons Employment Income

We compare taxes paid on varying levels of employment income for all provinces/territories, for a single person, and for a family with 2 children.  Ontario, Alberta and BC are again the lowest tax provinces for a single person earning $50,000. For a single income family with 2 kids aged between 6 and 17, and $50,000 employment income, Saskatchewan is the lowest tax province.  Taxes include CPP contributions and EI premiums, BC MSP premiums, ON Health Premium, and QC prescription drug premiums.

Canadian Dividends - No Tax

We've updated our tables which show how much can be earned in Canadian eligible or non-eligible dividends without attracting income tax, when the dividends are the only income earned.  Alternative minimum tax kicks in when eligible dividends exceed $51,637.  Over $100,000 in eligible dividends can be earned in Alberta, BC, NB and NT before attracting regular provincial income tax, but of course federal income tax and provincial alternative minimum tax will be payable.

Tax on Different Types of Investment Income

The income tax varies greatly depending on the type of investment income you earn, whether Canadian eligible or non-eligible dividends, capital gains, or other income such as interest or foreign dividends.

Notice of Objection

Don't agree with your income tax assessment?  How to file a notice of objection.

Late Filing Penalties and Interest

How to file a late tax return - and, what is your exposure to interest and penalties?

Alberta Dividend Tax Credit for Non-Eligible Dividends

Alberta's Bill 15, Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2017, was tabled on May 17, 2017.  It sets the dividend tax credit rate for non-eligible dividends at 54/359ths of the gross-up, or 2.19% of the taxable dividend.  The Alberta marginal tax rate table for 2017 has been revised to reflect the change.

Tax Planning - Start Early!

You should plan ahead so that you are prepared to file your tax return next year without too much difficulty.  One of the most important things to do during the year is to store all tax-related documents in one place.  See our list of these documents.

RRSP vs Mortgage Calculator

Are you trying to decide whether to increase your monthly mortgage payment, or contribute the extra monthly amount to an RRSP?  Let our RRSP vs mortgage calculator, updated for 2017 budgets, help you make the decision.  Although we use the term "mortgage", the calculator also works for regular loans.

Pay Down Your Mortgage, or Contribute to an RRSP?

You are better to pay off your mortgage first if your mortgage interest rate is equal to or higher than the rate of return on your RRSP.  However, if the rate of return on your RRSP is consistently higher than the mortgage interest rate (can you guarantee this?), you would have more money by paying only the required amount on your mortgage, and investing extra funds in an RRSP.

TFSA vs RRSP Calculator

The TFSA vs RRSP Calculator, updated for 2017 budget revisions, can help you decide which type of account is better for you.  This will depend on your current age, annual income now and after retirement, province of residence, as well as other factors.

Which is Better - TFSA or RRSP?

This article points out the advantages and disadvantages of each of these registered accounts, and when one might be better for you than the other.

Borrow To Invest Calculator

The Borrow to Invest Calculator, updated for 2017 budgets, helps you to see the advantages of borrowing to invest in stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs).  You can input different interest rates, rates of return and other data to compare scenarios.  Borrowing to invest is not advised for a novice investor - please read our article on Borrowing to Invest.

Borrowing to Invest in Stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Outside of an RRSP

You should not consider this strategy unless you have owned stocks for at least a couple of years.  We recommend this because investing is a learning experience, and you may make more mistakes when you are just starting out.  These mistakes are magnified if you borrow to invest, because you will have more money invested.  You also have to be able to sleep at night!  If borrowing to invest keeps you awake at night, it is probably not for you.

Detailed Canadian Income Tax and RRSP Savings Calculator for 2017 and 2016

This calculator has been revised to include revisions from all 2017 budgets.  Changes include ON and SK tuition and education tax credit revisions, BC and NB non-eligible dividend tax credit rate changes, SK lower tax rates and revised enhanced dividend tax credit, PE personal tax credit increases, and new federal and ON caregiver tax credits.  This calculator is a great tool to help with your 2017 tax planning.

Investment Income Tax Calculator for 2017 and 2016

This calculator does its calculations based on the Detailed Canadian Income Tax and RRSP Savings Calculator, so includes all the same changes.  The purpose of the calculator is to show the big difference in taxes payable on different types of investment income.  Even when the age credit and Old Age Security are clawed back, Canadian dividends and capital gains result in the least taxes payable when compared to other types of income such as foreign dividends and interest.

Basic Canadian Income Tax Calculator for 2012 to 2017

This calculator has also been updated to include budget changes regarding tax rates, personal tax credits and dividend tax credit rates, as well as the QC changes regarding the personal tax credit rate.  It's a great calculator for comparing taxes for all provinces and territories, and for multiple years - shows 2012 to 2017 side-by-side.

Quebec Income Tax and RRSP Savings Calculator for 2017 and 2016

This calculator has been revised to include revisions from the federal and Quebec 2017 budgets.  Changes include the elimination of the health contribution retroactive to 2016, revision of the tax rate for most personal tax credits from 20% to 16%, and corresponding increase in the tax credit amounts.  It also includes revisions for the tax credit for persons living alone, and with respect to age and retirement income.  This calculator is a great tool to help with your 2017 tax planning.

Quebec Investment Income Tax Calculator for 2017 and 2016

This calculator does its calculations based on the Quebec Income Tax and RRSP Savings Calculator, so includes all the same changes.  The purpose of the calculator is to show the big difference in taxes payable on different types of investment income.  Even when the age credit and Old Age Security are clawed back, Canadian dividends and capital gains result in the least taxes payable when compared to other types of income such as foreign dividends and interest.

April 2017

Life in the Tax Lane - May 2017 video

Topics:  Auto allowances; auto expenses; information of Square users provided to CRA; the sharing economy; renouncing US citizenship; Panama Papers - bank accounts in Canada being closed; a gifted home still may qualify for Home Buyers' Tax Credit; Retiring partner payments - pensionable earnings.

Ontario 2017 Budget - April 27, 2017

New caregiver and public transit tax credits; Reduced electricity rates; OHIP+ - Drug coverage for age 24 and under starting Jan 1, 2018; Revisions to Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP); Increased tobacco taxes; Revisions to Employer Health Tax (EHT); and more.

Nova Scotia 2017 Budget - April 27, 2017

The NS 2017 Budget announced enhancements for 2018 to the Basic Personal, Spousal, Eligible Dependant and Age amounts.  The threshold for the small business deduction is increased to $500,000 effective January 1, 2017. Equipment used in the mining and quarrying sector is exempt from motive fuel tax effective April 1, 2017.

Yukon 2017 Budget - April 27, 2017

Yukon is reducing its general and small business corporate tax rates effective July 1, 2017.  Tobacco taxes will be increased July 1, 2017.

First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit and Disability Home Purchase Tax Credit

A non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $5,000 is available for first-time home buyers.  The credit may also be available in respect of a home acquired by an individual who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC), or by an individual for the benefit of a DTC-eligible relative. If you missed claiming this credit in the year of purchase, you can file an adjustment to your tax return.

Attendant Care Expenses

Attendant care costs can be claimed for persons who are eligible for the disability amount, and in some situations for persons who do not qualify for the disability amount.  The Canada Revenue Agency guide has been corrected regarding the limit on Ontario attendant care expenses, which only applies if the taxpayer claimed the disability amount.

Eligible Medical Expenses - Travel Medical Insurance and More

Don't miss claiming medical expenses.  Private travel medical insurance may qualify if nothing but eligible medical expenses are covered by the plan.  Home renovations may qualify if they enable a disabled person to be more mobile within the dwelling.  If the renovations also qualify for the Home Accessibility or a Home Renovation Tax Credit, both tax credits (or all three) can be claimed for the same expense.

Income Tax Refunds

When will you get your refund?  Will CRA pay interest on your refund?  How to check the status of your tax return.

Changing Your Tax Return

Discovered a missed tax slip?  Missed expenses?  It's  not difficult to change your tax return.

Don't Pay Unnecessary EI Premiums or CPP Contributions

Not all earnings are insurable or pensionable. How to get a refund - employer or employee.

Manitoba 2017 Budget - April 11, 2017

Manitoba is phasing out the Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate and Advance, but will change legislation in order to continue the Children's Arts and Cultural Activity Credit, Fitness Credit, and Education Credit, all of which are dependent on the Federal credits which are eliminated or being eliminated.  Some other tax credits are being extended.

Prince Edward Island 2017 Budget - April 7, 2017

The PEI 2017 Budget announced that the Basic Personal Amount and the Spouse/Equivalent to Spouse Amounts would be increased by 2% for 2017, and that the Education Amount would be preserved for 2017.

Newfoundland and Labrador 2017 Budget - April 6, 2017

There are no new taxes or fees in the NL 2017 Budget.  Gas taxes will be reduced. Income Supplement and Seniors' Benefit will be maintained.

Buying Canadian Real Estate From a Non-Resident of Canada

When you're buying real estate, or are the agent for the purchaser of real estate, get verification that will stand up in Court that the vendor is a resident in Canada.  Otherwise, you may be assessed tax of 25% of the purchase price by Canada Revenue Agency if it turns out that the vendor is a non-resident.  A recent BC Supreme Court case is an example of this.

Foreign Tax Credit and S. 20(12) Deduction

Sometimes foreign tax withheld from foreign non-business income is not completely recovered by the federal and provincial foreign tax credits.  In this case the taxpayer can claim a s. 20(12) deduction, which doesn't seem to be calculated automatically by most income tax software.  We've now added an example of the calculation of the foreign tax credits and the s. 20(12) deduction, showing how the calculation must be repeated a few times to optimize the tax reduction.

March 2017

Free Tax Preparation Service - Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

This free tax service is available for those with modest incomes - $30,000 for an individual, $40,000 for a couple (add $2,500 for each dependant), and $35,000 for an individual with a dependant (add $2,500 for each additional dependant), as long as the tax situation is relatively simple.

Life in the Tax Lane - April 2017 Video

Topics this month: Federal budget, of course, and coming government review of tax strategies by private corporations; Underground economy and how to protect yourself; CRA's new fingerprinting policy and how it could create travel problems for accused (not necessarily convicted) tax evaders.

Quebec 2017 Budget - March 28, 2017

Low- and middle-income taxpayers will get refunds for their 2016 health contributions, which is eliminated for net incomes up to $134,095.  The tax rate to be applied to personal tax credit amounts will be reduced to 16% from 20% for 2017, but the net effect will be no change, except for an increase in the basic personal amount tax credit. The Renovert tax credit is extended to March 31, 2018.  Business acquiring manufacturing or processing equipment and computer equipment before April 1, 2019 will be eligible for an additional capital cost allowance of 35%.

Capital or Expense

Everyone in business is faced at some point with the decision as to whether an expense is capital or current in nature - in other words, whether the cost should be capitalized or expensed.  There are general guidelines that can be followed to determine the answer.  This article also deals with expense and capital items which are used both for business and personal use.

Provincial Political Contribution Tax Credit Rates and Maximums

Small political contributions are encouraged by the high tax credit rate on the first part of the contribution.

Property Rental Deductible Expenses

If you rent out one or more rooms in your home, or if you own a rental property, there are many expenses that can be deducted in calculating your net rental income.

Why File a Tax Return if no Tax is Payable?

Even if you have no income, it may be to your advantage to file a tax return to qualify for certain benefits or tax credits, and to create RRSP or TFSA contribution room.

Worthless Shares or Debt

Do you have a worthless investment?  Can't sell it because it has been delisted?  There may be a way to claim the capital loss.

First-time Donor's Super Tax Credit (FDSC)

If you made a charitable donation for the first time in 2016, take advantage of the federal First-time Donor's Super Tax Credit, which provides a 40% tax credit for donations of $200 or less, and a 54% credit for donations over $200 and up to $1,000.  This is a temporary tax credit, and 2017 will be the last taxation year it is available.

Optimizing the Donation Tax Credit

It is usually best for the highest income spouse to claim the tax credit for all donations of both spouses.  However, sometimes not all donations are utilized, and can then either be carried forward or split between spouses.  Our tax calculators will help with this.

Principal Residence Exemption Problem Corrected by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

We initially reported that if you had sold your principal residence in 2016 and purchased another one in the same year, if you ticked #1 on Schedule 3 of your tax return you would not be able to use 2016 as a year of principal residence for the new property when you eventually sell it.  CRA has corrected this problem, indicating that if you tick #1 you will still be able to use 2016 as a principal residence year for the new property, without completing Form T2091(IND).

Saskatchewan 2017 Budget - March 22, 2017

The SK 2017 Budget announced a PST increase; personal and corporate income tax rate reductions; elimination of tuition and education tax credits and employee tools tax credit; making PST taxable some previously exempt items including children's clothing, restaurant meals and snack foods; enhanced low-income tax credit; increased tobacco taxes, liquor mark-ups and corporation capital tax; and more.

2017 Federal Budget - March 22, 2017

Some of the personal tax measures in the budget include elimination of the public transit tax credit and the home relocation loans deduction, replacing 3 different caregiver tax credits with a new Canada Caregiver Credit, and implementing for RESPs and RDSPs the anti-avoidance rules that are already in place for other registered accounts, including swap transactions, prohibited investments, and non-qualified investments. Billed-basis accounting for designated professionals is being eliminated.  Alcohol and tobacco taxes increase effective March 23, 2017.  Check the article for all tax measures.

New Canada Caregiver Credit

The new Canada Caregiver Credit proposed by the Federal 2017 Budget would replace the existing Caregiver Tax Credit, Infirm Dependant Tax Credit, and Family Caregiver Tax Credit, for 2017 and later years.

Ride-Sharing Services and Taxis

The Federal 2017 Budget proposes to amend the definition of a taxi business to include ride-sharing services, so that these services will be required to register for and collect GST/HST regardless of their annual income level.

Swap Transactions - RESPs and RDSPs

The Federal 2017 Budget proposes to extend the "swap transaction" rules to Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) effective for transactions occurring after Budget Day, March 22, 2017.  For this purpose, investment income generated after March 22nd on previously acquired investments will be considered to be a "transaction occurring" after March 22, 2017.  There are exceptions.

Volunteer Firefighter and Search and Rescue Tax Credits

There are separate federal tax credits for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers. Several provinces and one territory also have a tax credit for volunteer firefighters and/or search and rescue volunteers.

RRSP Contributions Jan 1 to Mar 1 2017 - Record on 2016 Tax Return

It is necessary to include all RRSP contributions made in the first 60 days of the current year on Schedule 7 of the tax return for the past tax year.  If you didn't do this for your contributions made at the beginning of 2016, you will have to file an adjustment to your 2015 tax return.  Make sure you do this for your 2017 contributions up to March 1st, even if you're not deducting them for 2016!

Tax Treatment of Income From Investments in Exchange- Traded Funds (ETFs)

Whether you own foreign or Canadian ETFs, you should know the tax consequences of the income from them, and how to calculate your adjusted cost base (ACB).  With Canadian ETFs, you need to know about reinvested distributions and how they increase your ACB and thus reduce your capital gain on sale.

Alberta 2017 Budget - March 16, 2017

Alberta's 2017 budget announced changes to the provincial political contribution tax credit, although the amount will remain unchanged.  Very few tax changes were announced.

Interest Expense re Investments

Interest expense incurred to earn investment income can be deducted as carrying charges on your tax return.  This could include mortgage, loan, or line of credit interest, margin interest, or interest on your CSB payroll savings plan.

Withdrawals For Home Buyer's Plan (HBP) or Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

Withdrawals from your RRSP from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2016 will be on a 2016 T4RSP, and must be reported on Schedule 7 of your 2016 tax return, even though they don't affect your income.

Repayments to Home Buyer's Plan (HBP) or Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

If you made repayments to your RRSP for the HBP or LLP from Jan 1/16 to Mar 1/17, make sure you report them properly on your tax return in order to not lose RRSP contribution/deduction room.

2017 Corporate Income Tax Rates

We've published the table of 2017 corporate income tax rates.  So far, 2017 provincial budgets have brought corporate tax rate changes for BC and New Brunswick.  Most provincial budgets have not yet been tabled, so further changes could be coming.  Some rates changed effective January 1, 2017 based on last year's budgets.

Tax Implications of Owning a Second Home or Cottage

Unless it is used to generate income, a cottage or second home is normally considered personal-use property.  It's important to track the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your principal residence and your cottage, as the principal residence exemption could apply to either one.  Even if you don't own a second property, the ACB of your home needs to be tracked, because its status as a principal residence could change in the future.

Non-Residents Receiving Income From Canada

Non-residents of Canada receiving income from Canada, such as OAS, CPP, or other income, may be able to reduce the withholding tax on that income by filing a NR5 application, and may recover the withholding tax by filing an elective tax return.  Depending on their country of residence, recipients of OAS must file a T1136 OAS Return of Income annually in order to continue to receive their OAS payments.

February 2017

Life in the Tax Lane - March 2017 Video

Topics this month: Principal residence exemption, fraud refund scam, mutual fund taxation, investment management fees, Eservices at CRA.  If you own a principal residence you'll definitely want to view this video!

Non-Refundable Tax Credits 2017 - re Education/Textbook Credits

We've revised the 2017 tables of non-refundable tax credits to reflect what the education and textbook tax credits will be for 2017 if the amounts on the 2017 TD1 forms are all correct.  These credits are cancelled federally for 2017, and most provinces/territories will have to change their legislation to keep them.  BC is extending the education tax credit for 2017, and NWT is retaining the education tax credit (no end date was specified).

Your Tax Return - Deductions From Income, Tax Credits

Deductions from income save tax at your marginal tax rate, while most non-refundable tax credits are at the lowest personal income tax rate, with some exceptions.  See our information on many of the deductions and refundable and non-refundable tax credits.

Nunavut 2017 Budget - February 22, 2017

The Nunavut 2017 Budget documents did not mention any tax changes.  However, there is no Bill available yet to reflect any changes resulting from the Budget, and it is possible they may enact changes in order to keep the education tax credit.

Northwest Territories 2017 Budget - February 1, 2017

Bill 17 for the NT 2017 Budget includes elimination of the Overseas Employment Tax Credit (OETC), and retention of the Education Tax Credit.  Tobacco taxes were increased.

Should I Borrow to Contribute to an RRSP?

Do you have a buildup of RRSP contribution room because you've been unable to make regular contributions to your RRSP, or just because you're a procrastinator?  If you're considering borrowing to contribute to an RRSP, read our article first, then check out the Borrow for RRSPs Calculator.

Maximize Your RRSPs or TFSAs, and Start as Young as Possible!

Our table shows what a huge difference it makes to start contributing early to RRSPs or TFSAs.  March 1, 2017 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2016 tax year.

Rule of 72 Calculator

The Rule of 72 is very simple - divide 72 by your rate of return to find out how many years it would take to double your investment.  At a 9% rate of return, it would take 8 years.  Our calculator lets you input a rate to determine the number of years to double your investment, or you can input the number of years to determine the approximate rate required to double your investment.

Final RRSP Excess Contribution to RRSP at age 71

If you have earned income in 2017, this generates RRSP contribution room for 2018. If you are turning 71 in 2017, you can only use this room to contribute to the RRSP of a younger spouse or by making an excess contribution to your own RRSP in 2017, because your RRSP must be converted to a RRIF by the end of the year. The excess contribution should be done in December to minimize the penalty. We're putting this out there now so you can plan ahead.

Income Splitting

There are several ways of splitting income, either with a spouse or child.  Two methods of splitting income with a spouse, pension splitting and transfer of Canadian dividends to a spouse, are done only on the tax return.

Foreign Property Reporting

Do you own foreign property with a cost exceeding $100,000 Canadian at any time 2016?  If so, you (Canadian resident individual, corporation, certain trusts or partnerships) will have to file the T1135 foreign income verification report.  The penalties for not filing are onerous. Types of foreign property include securities, real estate, life insurance policies, and more.  Learn what is included and how to complete the T1135.  If your foreign real estate had additions/renovations done that were capital in nature, did this increase the adjusted cost base to over $100,000 Canadian?

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption / Deduction

The maximum lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE) for the sale of qualified small business corporation shares is $835,714 for 2017.  For qualified farming or fishing property the maximum is $1 million.  Planning ahead is absolutely necessary if you're hoping to claim this exemption in the future!

Transferring Shares to an RRSP

You can transfer shares from a non-registered account to your RRSP in order to make your contribution.  If you transfer shares on which there is a loss, the loss will not be deductible.  If you transfer shares on which there is a gain, you will have a taxable capital gain.

BC 2017 Budget - February 21, 2017

The budget announced major changes to MSP, a reduction in the small business corporate income tax rate, extension to the education tax credit for 2017, reduction of the PST rate on electricity, and many other changes.

BC 2018 MSP Rates

Effective January 1, 2018, the premium rates for those with adjusted family net income of $120,000 and less will be reduced by 50%, and the threshold for elimination of premiums is increased from $24,000 to $26,000.  However, it will be necessary to apply for the reduction, for those who have not already applied for premium assistance.

For Which Province Do I File A Tax Return?

Usually, a person files a tax return for the province in which they are residing on December 31 of the tax year, even if they worked in another province.

Detailed Canadian Income Tax and RRSP Savings Calculator Revisions

The Canadian Tax Calculator now includes the Family Caregiver Amount for infirm dependent minor children and spouses, the Infirm Dependant Amount for age 18+, and the Caregiver Amount for either parents/grandparents living with you, or dependent infirm adult relatives living with you.

Barter and Bitcoin Transactions

Barter and Bitcoin transactions can result in taxable income, and in PST and GST/HST payable.

Reporting the Sale of a Principal Residence

Starting with the 2016 taxation year, the sale of a principal residence must be reported on the tax return, even if it is 100% eligible for the principal residence.  When there is more than one owner, each will report their share of the sale.

BC Provincial Debt

The table of BC Provincial Debt has been updated to March 31, 2016.  It includes debt-to-GDP ratios and debt per person from 1997 to 2016.

New Brunswick 2017 Budget February 7, 2017

The New Brunswick small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced from 3.5% to 3.0% effective April 1, 2017.  There were no personal income tax changes announced.

NetFile of Tax Returns

NetFile will be open for transmissions on February 20, 2017 until January 19, 2018 for filing of 2013 to 2016 personal income tax returns.  EFile is also available starting February 20, 2017.

Multiple Lump-Sum Withdrawals From RRSP or RRIF

You may try to keep your withholding tax rate lower by taking a series of lump sum withdrawals from your RRSP or RRIF, instead of withdrawing one larger amount.  However, you may not be successful in keeping the withholding tax rate lower.

Investment Return Calculator

The investment return calculator will provide you the % return and the annualized % return on an investment account, a portfolio, or a single investment.  It will now retain data for you on your computer so you don't have to re-enter everything the next time you use it.

January 2017

Deductible Employment Expenses

Expenses that are paid to earn employment income are sometimes deductible, including any GST/HST that was paid on them.  This can only be done if your employer requires you to pay the expenses, and either you didn't receive reimbursement for the expenses, or the amount you did receive is included in your income.  Form T2200 must be completed by your employer in order to claim employment expenses.

2017 Sales Tax Rates

The 2017 sales tax rates have not changed from 2016.  That may change, however, when budgets are tabled.

Canada's Debt by Political Party

From March 31 to November 30, 2016, Canada's interest-bearing debt increased by $31.95 billion, almost as much as it increased in the 10 years ending March 31, 2016.  Unfortunately, it appears that Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is taking us into a spiral of debt, as was done by Pierre Trudeau in the 1970's and 1980's.  We are now paying $2 billion per month in interest, at historically low interest rates!

What Types of Income are not Taxable?

Some types of income are not taxable, and some must be included in the tax return even if they are not taxable.

RRSP Home Buyer's Plan

The Home Buyer's Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow funds from your RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home.

Life in the Tax Lane - February 2017 Video

Topics this month: Trump tax proposals may affect Canadians; Director liability; Cell phones - employment expense? taxable benefit?; GST/HST compliance letters; New CRA online services for tax preparers.

US Estate Tax May be Payable by Canadians

Some Canadians may have to file a US estate tax return and possibly pay US estate tax, depending on US assets owned at the time of death, including real estate, stocks, etc.

US Federal Estate Tax Calculator

The US Federal Estate Tax Calculator has been updated for 2017.

Locked-in Funds Maximum Withdrawals for 2017

The table of factors for 2017 maximum withdrawals from federally-regulated plans is available on the website of the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

Caregiver Amount

If you have a parent or grandparent over the age of 65 living with you, even if they are not your dependent you could be eligible for the caregiver amount, depending on their net income. This can also be claimed for dependent relatives over the age of 17 who are living with you, if they are dependent on you due to mental or physical impairment. Each province and territory also has a caregiver tax credit.

Moving Expenses

If you moved at least 40km to be closer to a new job, to run a business, or to attend a post-secondary educational institute full time, then you may deduct moving expenses, up to the amount you earn at the new location, or up to the amount of taxable award or scholarship income received in the year.

Historical Returns on Investments - Stocks, Bonds, T-Bills

It was an exceptional year for the S&P/TSX, and a good year for the S&P 500.  However, the S&P 500 return in Canadian dollars was less than in US dollars because the Canadian dollar increased in value against the US dollar.  See the historical returns for 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 years, and how much $1,000 invested at the beginning of the period in various investment types are worth at the end of the period.  Over the past 10 years one would be losing money after inflation by investing in Canadian 3-month T-bills or Canadian government 1-3 year bonds.

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Minimum Withdrawals

There is no withdrawal necessary in the year a RRIF is set up, but there are minimum amounts that must be withdrawn annually starting in the year after setup.

RRIF Minimum Withdrawal Prescribed Factors

The prescribed factor for your 2017 withdrawal from a RRIF will depend on your age at the beginning of 2017.  This is your age, or the age of a younger spouse, on December 31st, 2016.

RRSP/RRIF Withdrawal Calculator

Use our RRSP/RRIF calculator to project your earnings and withdrawals from your RRIF for the next 40 years.

Tax Treatment of Income from Mutual Funds

It's important to track the adjusted cost base (ACB) for each of your Canadian mutual funds, so you don't pay too much tax when you sell.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) Reinvested Distributions

Reinvested distributions are not paid in cash, are taxable, but also increase your adjusted cost base so that your capital gain is less when you sell.  These distributions may not be identified on your T3 - how to find the information you need!

BC Home Owner Grant Threshold Increased

The BC home owner grant threshold is being increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million for 2017 property tax payments.  The grant amount is $570 ($845 for seniors) for residents of the CRD, GVRD and FVRD, and $770 ($1,045 for seniors) for residents of other areas.  A low income grant supplement can reduce property taxes further for seniors, people with disabilities, and surviving spouses of veterans who received war veterans allowance, if adjusted net income is $32,000 or less.

RRSP vs Mortgage Calculator

The RRSP vs Mortgage (or other loan) calculator, which now uses 2017 tax rates, helps you to decide whether to increase your monthly loan payment, or contribute the extra monthly amount to an RRSP.  When in doubt, pay down your debt!

Filing Your Return - Income, Deductions, Tax Credits

See our articles on filing your tax return and how this can be done, as well as articles about different types of taxable income, deductions and tax credits, and many other topics.

2016 Tax Return

The 2016 tax return forms are available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.  Software packages for filing 2016 tax returns are also available, although they may have further updates to come.  If you are using a professional tax preparer, make sure you provide them with all the necessary information as early as possible.

TFSA vs RRSP Calculator

This calculator, which now includes 2017 tax rates and TFSA/RRSP limits, may be able to help you decide which type of account is better for you.

Borrowing to Invest in Stocks

Before borrowing, you should read our article.  Novice investors should not borrow to invest.  Borrowing to invest can convert regular income into tax-efficient dividend income and capital gains.

Borrow to Invest Calculator

The Borrow to Invest Calculator has been updated to use 2017 income tax rates.

Tax Return Due Date

Most 2016 personal income tax returns have a due date of May 1, 2017, because April 30th falls on a Sunday.  Self-employed individuals have until June 15th to file their personal tax returns, but any amounts owing must still be paid by May 1st

Reporting Foreign Income and Expenses on the Tax Return

All income and expenses must be reported on your tax return in Canadian dollars, converted either at the transaction date exchange rate, or the average exchange rate for the year.  The average US exchange rate for 2016 is 1.32480640.

Transfer Shares to Your Registered Account, but not at a Loss!

If you want to make an in-kind contribution of shares to your RRSP, TFSA or another registered account, make sure they are not shares on which you have a loss, because the loss will not be deductible.  Also be careful if you are going to sell them and then repurchase them in your registered account - read our article!

  See also Prior Years:

What's New 2016

What's New 2015

What's New 2014

What's New 2013

What's New 2012

What's New 2011

What's New 2010

What's New 2009

What's New 2008

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Revised: November 16, 2017

 

 

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