It seems like a polar opposite philosophy: “Spend Money to Make Money”, but it’s true. Gone are the days of 8 – 10% deposit interest. Now you’re lucky if you make pennies on a thousand dollars, especially with the penny now obsolete. If you have cash in the bank, there are options for investing beyond RRSPs and GICs. In 2009, the TFSA or Tax-Free Savings Account was introduced. The initial contribution limit was $5000 per annum, growing to $5,500 for a number of years. The inflationary increase in 2018 was high enough to push the maximum annual contribution to $6000. An added feature of the TFSA is that the annual contribution room accumulates so $63,500 can now be contributed overall. There are a number of reasons why a TFSA may be the right choice for you. The first is the fact they truly are tax-free. Any income or gains from the accumulated funds are tax-free for life. Funds can also be withdrawn without penalty or taxes at any time. Because of this status, TFSA withdrawals do not negatively affect any other benefits available to you such as Old Age Security (OAS). If the account is set up correctly, in the tragic event of a loss of the primary account holder, the successor annuitant would receive the full value of the TFSA without going through the estate. Age is not a factor. Other options such as RRSPs require the contributor to be under a certain age and be earning income. Anyone over the age of 18 can contribute to a TFSA. They are a popular choice for those in their Golden Years because they allow for continued tax-sheltering of money even after age 71. There are no forced withdrawals or tax consequences when amounts are withdrawn. The flexibility offered with the TFSA allows for withdrawals to be recontributed in the following year without reducing the contribution amount. Meaning, if you withdrew $1000 in 2018 you are able to contribute the $6000 for 2019 and top it up with the $1000 withdrawn the prior year. If you are an investor with money, maximizing your RRSP and TFSA would make the most sense. For those who don’t have a lot of money to spare but want to save for an event in their life such as a home or car, a TFSA offers a great way to protect, invest and grow your funds. There are many options available when it comes to savings and long-term planning and the information available may become overwhelming. This is why working with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and having the RIGHT plan in place can make all the difference.]]>
Caregivers Are you a caregiver of a family member with a physical or mental impairment? If so you may be eligible for the Canada Caregiver Amount tax credit. The government recognizes the extra financial responsibility being a caregiver can have on your finances. This year determining if you qualify for the credit will be much simpler. Education Until recently, only post-secondary level course tuition qualified for a tax credit. If you took other courses at an educational facility, these fees weren’t eligible. With the recent changes, courses such as second language skills and occupational improvement courses such as computer skills may allow you to benefit in more ways than intellectually. While this option was added, the credit for post-secondary textbooks has been eliminated. This did not affect the tuition tax credit nor the ability to carry forward unused education and textbook amounts from years prior. Parents The Children’s Fitness and Arts Tax Credits were eliminated in 2017. Transportation It appears the tax credit for utilizing public transit was not enough motivation for travellers to change their transport habits. Therefore, the public transit credit was eliminated mid-year 2017. If you used public transportation in 2017, this is your last chance to claim this benefit as amounts purchased for travel between Jan 1 and June 30, 2017 are still eligible. Infertility Treatments Financial help has become reality for those needing medical assistance to conceive. As of 2017, infertility treatments are now included as an eligible medical expense. As an additional benefit, this has been made retroactive. Meaning if you have received fertility treatments within the past ten years, you can request adjustments of past returns. These are just a few of the highlights for the 2017 tax filing, not that taxes are ever a highlight. While it’s great to know how to benefit during the current tax season, maybe it’s time to start planning to benefit next year. Financial Planners are able to look at your current and future finances and create the most beneficial plan for you.
It’s the time of year where the working world is split into those that look forward to tax refunds and those who dread seeing how much they owe. Yes, that’s right, it’s tax time. The buzz has begun with the distribution of T4s, which companies have until the end of February to deliver. Tax returns are one of those things in life that are necessary, but are never really reviewed. It’s a wonder there isn’t a life skills course offered in high school which covers real life lessons such as budgeting, tax requirements and filing, resume writing, interview skills and grocery shopping. Now is the time to gather all the documentation you need to prepare your taxes. These include slips such as T4, T4A, T4E, T5, T5007, receipts and certificates. While most personal tax returns are filed electronically, paper copies or records must be retained and available for CRA by request. One of the tax reduction options still available is RRSP contributions. The deadline for RRSP contributions for the 2017 tax year is March 1, 2018. It’s important to keep track of your RRSP contributions to ensure you don’t go over the limit and incur over-contribution penalties. While you are allowed a lifetime over-contribution of $2000, it’s best to carry any overages into the next tax year. Investments are another unclear area for most people. There are a multitude of qualified RRSP investments available such as segregated or mutual funds, stocks, bonds, ETFs and GICs. It’s important to have a diversified portfolio. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you haven’t before, this would be a great time to talk to a professional financial advisor. Financial Planners understand all the benefits and risks of each of these options and which would be best suit you and your stage in life. Now that we’ve talked about planning for the upcoming tax season, stay tuned for more advice on tax saving opportunities.
For as long as memory serves, Canadians of retirement age have been moving south for the winter to escape the cold. This group of people are lovingly referred to as snowbirds. Despite the state of the dollar, Canadians are still holding to this practice. They are also one of the few groups of “foreigners” who are being welcomed by the United States. Tourism from Canada spurs job growth in the destination towns across the US aiding in their economy. Not to mention that Canadians purchase 6% of all homes sold in Florida, therefore injects nearly half a billion dollars in property taxes per annum.
Most likely due to these factors, the US has tabled a bill to allow Canadians over the age of 55 to stay for up to eight months of the year. While congress wants Canadians to stay longer, the IRS wants to ensure it collects what it can. Currently stays of four months or less have allowed Snowbirds to maintain their US tax exempt status. The new formula is based on this:(more…)