Does Paying My Taxes Late Affect My Credit Score?

It’s no secret that paying your taxes late comes with consequences including interest and penalties that could negatively affect your finances.

But will these consequences affect your credit score?

It’s easy to assume that any money owing and debts will be held against your credit score. However, when it comes to late taxes, it works a little differently:

Does the CRA Report to Canada’s Credit Bureaus?

In general, the Canada Revenue Agency will not report to Canada’s Credit Bureaus if you owe a small amount in income taxes, paid your taxes late or received any basic penalties.

Because of the CRA’s privacy policy, they are restricted in the amount of information they are allowed to share with other organizations, including Canada’s Credit Bureaus.

However, there is an exception: If you owe so much in taxes that it results in a court case and a collection agency becomes involved. In this situation, the Canada Revenue Agency is able to put a tax lien on your credit report.

Overall, if your debts owing to the CRA become public information via a court case or collections case, your taxes owing will affect your credit score.

What Should I Do If I Owe Taxes?

An individual will usually end up late paying back owed taxes because they are not in a financial position to do so.

To avoid any late taxes affecting your credit, it is best to deal with it immediately before the debt becomes too large. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

In fact, ignoring owing taxes could result in ruined credit and even bankruptcy.

Even a small amount owing needs to be taken care of as soon as possible before interest charges inflate the original debt.

If you do owe taxes, here are some steps you can take to deal with the debt:

  • Contact the CRA immediately. The Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t want to drag you through court cases, so they are often willing to work out a payment plan. If you can prove that you absolutely do not have the means to pay your owing taxes in a short amount of time, you may be able to work out a multi-year payment plan.
  • The Taxpayer Relief Provision. If your tax situation meets certain criteria, your case may be forwarded to the Minister of National Revenue. Should your case be approved, you could receive tax penalty and interest relief.
  • Save and spend responsibly. You should consider establishing a savings account for tax purposes and other emergencies. Being able to pay a portion of your tax bill is better than not paying anything.

What Does Affect My Credit Score?

Knowing what actions affects your credit score is important in keeping your credit score high.

While your taxes only affect your credit if they become a substantial debt, many other elements come into play when determining your credit score:

  1. Payment History. The largest part of your credit score is based on how well you pay your bills and owing amounts on credit products. It takes into consideration late, short and missed payments – which can negatively affect your credit score.
  2. Utilization. Credit bureaus look at how much debt you have versus how much available credit you have. If you continually run your credit cards to their limits, this will lower your credit score.
  3. Credit History. How long you’ve possessed your credit products also impacts your credit score. Debts that you’ve carried, and maintain good payments on, for many years look better than newer debts.
  4. Credit Product Variety. The credit bureaus also like to see a variety of cresot products, not just credit cards. This includes loans, mortgages and lines of credit.

Why Take the Chance?

Any amount owing in late taxes, whether it be a large amount or small one, can spell trouble for your finances.

Contact Liu & Associates today for more information on how you can avoid interest and penalties when you owe money on your taxes.

What Do I Do After Declaring Personal Bankruptcy?

Did you know that the average Canadian household owes close to $1.78 for every dollar earned?

It’s no wonder debt is a financial issue for Canadians, with many of them facing owing amounts so high that there is no hope of paying it off.

If you find yourself in this type of financial crisis, bankruptcy is an option for clearing your debts. However, it comes with certain obligations you are expected to fulfill.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process for individuals who seek relief from some or all debts when they cannot repay these debts to creditors.

Filing for bankruptcy requires a licensed insolvency trustee, who files the bankruptcy and sends a notice of bankruptcy to the creditors.

The creditors then cannot proceed with any lawsuits, garnishes or payment requests.

After filing for bankruptcy, you are eligible for discharge from the trustees after 9 months. However, the bankruptcy itself remains on your credit report for at least 6 years.

What Happens After My Bankruptcy is Filed?

Once the bankruptcy is filed, you are required to fulfill a few obligations with the trustee.

Your responsibility during the bankruptcy includes:

  • Sending your trustee proof of your income and a monthly budget once a month.
  • Notifying your trustee of any changes with your work or income.
  • Attending 2 credit counselling sessions. During these sessions, a credit counsellor will guide you through budgeting and money management techniques.
  • Making monthly bankruptcy payments to the trustee.

During this time, you can expect to no longer have to deal with creditor calls. When your bankruptcy is filed by the trustee, an “automatic stay” is forwarded to the creditors.

An automatic stay indicates to the creditors that they are not allowed to take collection action against you.

What Should I Do After I File Bankruptcy?

Once your bankruptcy is discharged, you will no longer be required to deal with the trustees.

However, although your obligations to the trustee are compete, there are measures you can take to protect yourself from future bankruptcy and rebuild credit.

1. Check Your Credit Reports

Even though filing for bankruptcy clears your debts, you want to make sure nothing was missed on your credit report before beginning to reestablish credit.

About 3 to 6 months after your discharge from bankruptcy, you should check your credit report.

This is not the same as checking your credit score, which you can do for free now through most bank’s websites and apps.

According to Canada.ca, you can order a copy of your credit report through Equifax Canada and Transunion Canada without affecting your credit score.

2. Start a Budget

The reason bankruptcy proceedings require you to attend credit counseling is to try to prevent a bankruptcy from happening in the future.

You should continue what you learned from the credit counseling even after your bankruptcy is discharged.

Additionally, before you begin to build credit again, you want to make sure you can afford payments on a credit card.

Healthy financial habits will help you avoid a future bankruptcy as well as help you rebuild your credit quickly.

3. Build New Credit

Although the bankruptcy remains on your credit report for a minimum of 6 years, you can begin to build credit again immediately after your discharge.

While some financial institutions will deny you credit due to your bankruptcy, many lenders will look at you as if you have never had credit before, since bankruptcy essentially clears your credit status.

In order to reestablish credit, you should begin with a low limit secured credit card. Secured credit cards, as opposed to prepaid cards, offers you revolving credit.

This means that you can borrow against the card as long as you keep the balanced paid. Secured credit cards require a security deposit.

Be sure to use the card responsibly and only spend what you can afford to pay off each month.

Is Bankruptcy the Right Option For You?

Whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you or there is another viable option to help with your debt, you should speak with a professional accountant to ensure you are heading down the right financial path.

Contact our experts at Liu & Associates for more information about bankruptcy and other debt-solving options.

 

When Do I Need to Report Rental Income?

Renting property seems like a lucrative entrepreneurial opportunity as more and more individuals are renting out portions of their home and even offering space through popular accommodation services such as Airbnb.

Acquiring rental income is a great way to offset the cost of a mortgage or justify an investment in a secondary property.

However, if you are renting your property to a third party, you are required to report your rental income on your tax return.

While it may be tempting to not disclose this income to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), not doing so can lead not only to penalties but also missed opportunities for some tax savings.

What is Rental Income?

When it comes to claiming rental income on your taxes, rental income is considered to be any earned income from a rental property you own. This includes houses, apartments, rooms, office space and other real or movable property.

Rental income from Airbnb, income suits and any short term rentals must be claimed as well.

The duration of the rental, whether it be for one night, a week or a month, does not exempt the income from having to be claimed on your income taxes.

Exceptions to Claiming Rental Income

There is one exception to having to claim rental income on your income taxes – if you are renting a space below fair market value.

Renting below fair market value means that you are charging a rent significantly lower than rents charged for other properties that are similar to your property in your area.

Typically, home owners will charge family members below fair market value rent for allowing them to stay in their home.

If this is the case, you do not need to claim the income. However, you cannot claim any rental expenses or rental loss on your taxes.

The government considers this situation to be a “cost-sharing arrangement”.

Claiming Rental Income at Tax Time

If you are in a situation where you rent a property, or a portion of your property, at or above fair market value, the CRA requires that you pay taxes on the income earned.

In order to claim rental income on your tax return, you must declare the net income on line 160 of form T1. From there, you can subtract any qualifying expenses as well as capital expenditure depreciation expenses. The difference is your reported rental income.

Here are some common rental expenses that can be deducted against your rental income:

  • Advertising
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage interest
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Property management
  • Utilities

To ensure that you are claiming the appropriate expenses for your rental property, contact the expert accountants at Liu & Associates for more information.

What Happens If I Don’t Claim Rental Income?

When the CRA expects you to claim any sort of income on your tax return, not doing so can lead to unpleasant consequences:

  • Interest accrual. If you owe taxes on rental income, and fail to report it, the amount can be subject to interest.
  • Penalties and fines. The CRA is within their rights to implement penalties for filing your taxes late. This amount is backdated to the time when the rental income should have been reported. Interest is also charged on the penalty amount.

Withholding your rental income from the CRA not only leads to financial consequences, but it also means that you miss out on the valuable deductions listed above.

Avoid the Confusion of Claiming Your Rental Income

Get in touch with the professional accountants at Liu & Associates to find out more information about how to properly claim your rental income as well as all of the tax benefits you can reap by renting out your property.

 

 

 

8 New Year’s Resolutions to Save You Money in 2020

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When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, there seems to be two goals everyone tries to commit to: get in shape and save money.

While our professional accountants at Liu & Associates may not be able to help you tone up your beach body, we can definitely address the goal of saving money.

The idea is to start small and to not overwhelm yourself with financial goals. Consider the following 8 resolutions you can try this year to begin saving money and brightening your financial future:

1. Create a Budget

The best way to keep your spending and saving on track is to create a budget.

Budgets don’t have to be elaborate plans that are difficult to follow.

Begin By tracking your spending for a month or two to see where your money is going. Calculate your income and expenses. From there, adjust your spending habits to free up some saveable money.

2. Set Small Savings Goals

Saving money can be a daunting task – but most people think too big and bite off more than they can chew. When the savings plan isn’t working out, they tend to throw in the towel.

Start with smaller savings goals. You can even begin a savings challenge where you save $1 the first week and add a dollar each following week.

3. Start an Emergency Fund

Did you know that 75% of Canadians do not have any money set aside in case of an emergency?

Medical issues, loss of employment, household damage and car repairs can come out of nowhere. You want to avoid relying on credit or loans to deal with these issues.

For 2020, look into opening a TFSA. This is a tax free savings account available for Canadians over the age of 18. Although there are caps on how much you can place in the account per year, these accounts are flexible, great for emergency funds and withdrawals are tax free.

4. Consolidate Your Debts

If you carry multiple balances across different debts, you are likely paying varying interest rates.

To save money on interest payments, consider moving all of your debts to one place. You can apply for a line of credit, personal loan or credit card to cover all your debts.

5. Plan Trips and Vacations in Advance

The earlier you book a flight or hotel, the better rate you can receive. Try to plan your vacations and trips as early as possible.

This also gives you an opportunity to save money instead of making all of your purchases on a credit card and having to pay it all back later.

6. Switch Service Providers

There’s always a better deal out there – shop around for cable, internet and cell phone rates.

Most companies will offer you an introductory rate for signing up. Just be aware of the expiration dates of these deals and what you will expect to pay once the promotion ends.

Also consider bundling services to save money each month.

7. Create Meal Plans

Meal planning is a great way to cut down on your grocery bills and avoid the temptation to eat out.

(And, if you’re looking to get in shape, it can help with that too!)

To create a meal plan, simply decide what meals you are going to prepare for your family for the week, taking into consideration any leftovers that can be used again or served as lunch. Make your grocery list in accordance with your plan and stick with it.

8. Learn About Money

This could be the year for you to improve your financial literacy. Take time to learn more about money management, budgeting, investing and paying off debts.

 

If you have any questions about making changes to your personal finances, or learning more about financial literacy, feel free to contact us at Liu & Associates for more information!

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will and Estate

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When creating a will, there is more to consider than simply what goes to whom. After you are gone and passed, someone will be responsible for executing your will.

Although you will not be around for the aftermath of dealing with your estate, you want to make sure you appoint the right person for the job – and choosing that individual can be a stressful and confusing endeavor.

What is an Executor?

An executor is the person responsible for following through on your will after you have died. This individual is in charge of sorting out your finances,  making sure your debts and taxes are paid and distributing the remainder of your estate to your beneficiaries and heirs.

It is also the job of the executor to identify everything in your estate, including bank accounts, pension payments and life insurance payouts.

The executor does not control the estate – they are legally obligated to fulfill your requests faithfully and fairly.

Choosing an Executor

When choosing someone to be the executor of your will, it’s important to put feelings aside and look at the situation objectively.

Being an executor is not a position of merit or perceived importance – it’s  a large responsibility and you want to make sure that the individual chosen can fulfill it.

When choosing an executor for your will and estate, consider the following:

  • Someone you can trust. You want to be sure to choose an individual who can execute your will fairly and objectively.
  • Someone who lives close by. An executor who lives out of town, province or even the country is going to face the long distance struggles of dealing with your family and assets. They will also face logistical challenges if a house needs to be sold or if local laws differ from where they reside.
  • Someone who has a flexible schedule. Sorting out an estate takes time and there are many deadlines that must be met. You want to ensure that the individual has the time to properly execute the will and meet the deadlines.
  • Someone who has some knowledge of taxes and finances. The majority of a will’s execution involves finances and having a basic knowledge of these things will make it easier for the executor of the will. For more complex estates, or foreseeable family conflicts, you may want to consider appointing an estate professional to plan your will and estates.

Professional Wills and Estates Planning

Wills and estates planning is recommended if you own a business or a large and complex estate. You may also want to consider hiring a professional to plan your will if you suspect that family conflict will make executing the will difficult.

Financial experts, such as the professional accountants at Lui & Associates, can ensure that your financial wishes are carried out correctly and legally.

We can tailor a plan to meet your specific needs, paying close attention to aspects of wills and estate planning such as:

  • Estate valuation
  • Tax elections
  • Tax planning
  • Estate freeze
  • Family trusts
  • Asset transfers

Having a professional prepare your will and estates ensures that your beneficiaries are protected legally and financially.

Our experts at Liu & Associates can handle any issue in regards to will or estate planning. Contact us today for more information about having your will and estates planning done proficiently and professionally.

The Benefits Of Having A TFSA

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In 2009, Canada introduced a unique way for Canadians to invest and save money – tax free!

Known as a TFSA, the Tax Free Savings Account is a flexible and simple way to grow a savings account.

What can you save for? Basically, anything you can think of:

What is a TFSA?

A TFSA is a tax free savings account available to Canadians who are 18 years of age or older.

As its name suggests, TFSAs are completely tax free. This means that savings are placed into an eligible investment and grow tax free. All interests, dividends and capital gains are tax free. Even withdrawing from a TFSA is considered non-taxable income.

TFSAs can be used for anything – tuition, down payments, retirement income, emergency funds. They are suitable for both long term and short term savings goals.

The Benefits of a TFSA

1. Draw Income During Retirement

Most retirement incomes are taxable, meaning that you have to pay taxes on any amount you withdraw. Withdraws from a tax free savings account, on the other hand, are not considered income and are not taxed.

If you can establish a healthy TFSA, you can draw on that account for your retirement income before having to touch your taxable RRSPs.

2. Flexibility of Savings

A TFSA gives you the flexibility to save for short term goals such as a vacation, long term goals such as retirement or to have an emergency fund.

You can use a TFSA in so many different ways in so many different stages of your life. Here are some ideas as to how a TFSA can be used:

  • Savings for Education. You may already have a registered education savings plan (RESP) set up for your child – and you probably have already accessed the maximum government grants. If that is the case, you can use a TFSA to save more for your children’s education.
  • Rainy Day Savings. In this uncertain world, you never know when you may need money for good times or bad times. You can use a TFSA in case you lose your job, incur uncovered health care costs or if your home or car require unplanned repairs.
  • Care for Elderly Parents. If you’re responsible for caring for aging parents, a TFSA can help with the cost of healthcare at home or in a long-term care facility.

With a TFSA, you can invest or save – the choice is yours!

3. Reduce Tax on Investments

You can use a tax free savings account to shelter investments that would usually be taxed at a higher rate.

Tax shelters are legal investment vehicles that aim to reduce or eliminate your tax liability. Some are risky and should be avoided, but TFSAs are a safe way to shelter your investments and reduce your bill.

4. No Income Required

In order to open a TFSA, you do not require any proof of income.

As soon as a Canadian turns 18, they only need to prove they are a resident of Canada and provide a social insurance number to begin a tax free savings account.

Once an individual turns 18, they start accumulating contribution room on a TFSA, regardless of employment status.

The contribution room is the maximum amount you can contribute to a TFSA per year. If you do not take advantage of the contribution room, the remainder carried forward to the next year.

5. Does Not Affect Government Benefits

Because withdrawals from a tax free savings account are not considered to be taxable income, taking money from a TFSA does not affect government benefits such as the child tax benefit or retirement supplements like the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Ready to Start Saving – Tax Free?

Our expert accountants at Liu & Associates are ready to answer any questions you may have about opening a Tax Free Savings Account! Contact us today for more information.

Taxes After 65

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Turning 65 is a significant milestone in every Canadian’s life. With the changes in health and lifestyle also comes changes in financial income and taxes.

Understanding what these changes are and how to prepare for them is important in ensuring your taxes are done properly and without error.

Liu & Associates is here to help you understand exactly what changes tax-wise when you reach the age of 65.

What Changes After 65?

Once you turn 65, you are eligible for more tax benefits than younger taxpayers. These include a claimable age amount, pension income amount, medical expenses and other federal credits.

Because you will be receiving age-specific incomes, these payments must be in your yearly tax return.

The following payments are considered taxable income:

  • OAS (Old Age Security)
  • Retiring Allowance
  • Other pensions and superannuation
  • RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)
  • Annuity payments
  • PPRP (Pooled Registered Pension Plan)
  • Retroactive lump sum payments
  • Income from trust or a retirement compensation agreement
  • RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund)
  • CPP (Canada Pension Plan)
  • QPP (Quebec Pension Plan)

Income Sources for Seniors

Being 65 years old and being retired are not mutually exclusive. Many senior Canadians work beyond the age of 65 and, in doing so, can still take advantage of supplemented incomes based on their age.

There are income programs, however, that focus specifically on retired individuals. That being said, income supplements such as OAS can be affected if additional income is made through part-time work.

These are various income sources for Canadian seniors that consider age as well as retirement:

Old Age Security (OAS)

OAS is an income supplement financed by Canadian tax dollars for individuals over the age of 65. It provided benefits to individuals over 65 and is considered taxable income.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

CCP is an income funded by payroll deductions and is available as early as 60 years of age. CPP is also taxed income source.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

The GIS is available to low-income Canadians and is a non-taxed income.

Annuity Payments

Annuities are a financial product sold by an annuity provider, usually a life insurance company. They will pay a guaranteed regular income during retirement but the money received is taxable.

Superannuation

A superannuation is a company plan created by a company for the benefit of its employers to use during retirement. The funds deposited will grow until retirement is reached or the funds are withdrawn. This is a taxable income.

PPRP (Pooled Registered Pension Plan)

This retirement income option is geared toward individuals and self-employed individuals. This plan will move with you from job to job and is considered taxable income. However, it is only considered a “pension income” when you are 65 or older.

RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund)

RRIF’s are arranged between an individual and a carrier such as an insurance company, trust or bank. The fund is registered with the federal government and is taxable income.

Tax Benefits for Seniors

As mentioned above, there are tax benefits once you reach the age of 65. To take full advantage of potential tax benefits, speak to a full-service accounting practice such as Liu & Associates LLP to seek out all qualifying tax credits.

Age Amount

Once you reach the age of 65, you may be eligible to claim an age amount on your taxes. If your net income is less than $83,353, you are able to claim this tax credit.

Pension Income Amount

With the pension income amount, you can claim up to $2000 in credit on eligible pension income. These incomes include a pension or annuity income received as payment for a pension or superannuation plan or payments from an RRSP.

Medical Expenses

If you have any medical expenses that are not reimbursed and equal more than 3% of your income, you can claim them on your taxes.

These include more than prescription medication. As long as the medical necessities you are claiming are prescribed, you can claim items such as:

  • Air conditioners
  • Bathroom aids
  • Chairs
  • Hospital bed
  • Orthopedic shoes, boots, and inserts
  • Page-turner devices
  • Walking aids

In order to claim these expenses, you need to keep your receipts.

Other Federal Credits

The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) offers a Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC). This non-refundable tax credit is available for any home improvements that help to better your quality of life such as walk-in tubs, wheelchair ramps, and hands-free faucets.

Because this is a non-refundable tax credit, it can only be applied to reduce any tax owing and not put toward any refunded taxes.

Tax Tips for Seniors

While not much changes when it comes to filing taxes after the age of 65, there are some considerations worth noting to ensure the procedure is done properly and without error.

For more information regarding any changes to your tax return, please contact our accountants.

1. Stay Organized

Keep track of all your expenses on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Try to keep all your paperwork, including receipts, in one place.

2. OAS and Part-time Income

If you work part-time while claiming OAS, the government will reduce your OAS payment if you make over $75,910 a year. This is called the “OAS clawback” and typically reduces your OAS by 15 cents for every dollar you earn over that amount.

3. Pension Splitting

When you are married or common law, the higher-earning partner can split up to half their pension income with the lower-earning partner. This spreads taxable income so that one partner is not taxed in a higher tax bracket.

4. RRSP’s

Your RRSP contributions provide tax breaks but any money withdrawn is considered taxable income. By the end of the year that your turn 71 you will have to withdraw the funds, convert the funds to a RRIF or use them to purchase an annuity.

Have Questions About Filing Taxes?

If you’re confused about how to file your taxes after the age of 65, please do not hesitate to contact our professional and experienced accountants today.

Maximizing Your Charitable Donation Credits

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The Canadian government encourages its population to give generously by offering a Charitable Donations Tax Credit (CDTC). This tax credit is in existence for those who donate to registered charities.

A donation is anything considered to be a gift in which nothing is given in return. These include money, assets or objects of value.

The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) allows all Canadians to claim up to 29% of all donated amounts. Depending on your province of residence, you may be eligible for up to an additional 24% of all donated amounts.

The CDTC is a non-refundable tax credit. This means that you can only apply any claimable amounts to taxes owing, not taxes refunded.

Qualifying for the Charitable Donations Tax Credit

In order to qualify for the CDTC, you must donate to a registered charity or any public organization that can issue a tax receipt.

The Canadian government’s website offers a searchable online database of registered charities. You can always check with the database to ensure that your donations qualify for the CDTC.

If you donate to a charity or organization that gives you something in return, such an event ticket, you must deduct the value from the donation. The difference can then be claimed.

Claiming Donations on Your Tax Return

Claiming donations on your tax return is one of the least complicated form procedures. Yet, it is still important to understand what information you need and where it goes.

Calculating Charitable Tax Credits

The first step in calculating your charitable tax credit is to determine your eligible amount.

This amount can be claimed for the current applicable tax year but can also be claimed from the previous 5 years (as long as those amounts have never been claimed).

You can calculate your CDTC rate by using the CRA’s charitable donation tax credit calculator.

Necessary Documents

In order to properly file your charitable donations, you need an accurate record of the donations made. Be sure to keep all receipts from your charitable donations.

Just to be safe, you should hang on to additional documentation in case of a review or audit. These documents include pledge forms, cancelled cheques, credit card statements, stubs and/or bank statements.

Once you have the necessary documents, you will need to fill out a Schedule 9 when you file your taxes.

Filling Out the Schedule 9 Form

Filling out the Schedule 9 form is an easy and straightforward process.

Simply claim your eligible donation amount on line 340 of the Schedule 9 form. Work down through the rest of the form in order to calculate your claimable amount on line 34.

You will then transfer the amount of line 34 to line 349 of your Schedule 1 form.

If you’re confused about tax filing and forms, contact Liu & Associates. We can help you make sense of your filing needs.

Maximizing Your Charitable Donation Credits

We know the spirit of giving donations is to support the causes that need them and we know that those who donate do so out of care and kindness.

However, there’s no denying that there are tax benefits for donating and there’s no reason that those who give should not maximize their charitable donation credits.

Set Up Pre-authorized Donations or Payroll Deductions

Setting up pre-authorized donations or payroll deductions is a quick and easy way to make regular donations. It also helps to make donations trackable.

If you set up a payroll deduction to donate toward a registered charity, you will be provided your total donation amount in box 46 of your T4 slip. That way, there is no need to add up receipts or records of donations.

Combine Your Donations With Your Spouse or Partner

When the total of donations claimed on your taxes exceeds $200, they are eligible for bigger deduction benefits.

You can take advantage of those benefits by combining your donations with your spouse or partner. Claim those pooled donations under the spouse or partner who will receive the larger tax benefit.

Because the CDTC is a non-refundable tax credit, it would be beneficial to claim donations under the spouse who will be owing on their taxes. The donation tax credit can reduce that amount.

Carry Forward Your Donations

You can hold onto unclaimed donation receipts for up to 5 years. It may be worth your while to hang on to them and claim them in a single tax year.

You may want to do this if you are claiming other tax credits, such as tuition or education credits, that will contribute to a refund.

Much like the benefits of pooling donations with your spouse or partner, carrying forward your donations is beneficial if you are expecting to owe on your taxes.

Again, the CDTC will not apply to any refunded amounts.

Consider Giving “Gifts in Kind”

Not all claimable donations have to be monetary.

Donations eligible for the CDTC can also be in the form of physical items. These are “Gifts in Kind” and can include items such as artwork or jewelry and even real estate.

When it comes to claiming Gifts in Kind on your taxes, the objects or property value is at fair market value and are used as the tax credit amount.

Take Advantage of the Charitable Donations Tax Credit

If you regularly make donations, or are looking to start, we can help you organize your CDTC tax information. Contact one of our experienced accountants for more information.

Are Vehicle Expenses Tax Deductible?

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If you use your vehicle for any reason related to employment and work, you may be missing out on vehicle expense deductions you can claim when you file your taxes.

While it may not be possible to claim the entirety of your vehicle, there are certain factors you can consider to see if your vehicle expenses are eligible for tax deductions.

Are my vehicle expenses tax deductible?

Some vehicle expenses are tax deductible in Canada as long as you meet certain requirements. Either you must use your own personal vehicle for employment-related purposes or be responsible for expenses related to a company vehicle.

Employment-related purposes may include visiting and/or transporting clients and customers, attending business meeting off-site or traveling from your main job location to a temporary location.

If you use for vehicle for work-related purposes, then your vehicle expenses are tax deductible under the following circumstances:

  • You are normally required to work away from your place of business or in different locations.
  • You are required to pay for expenses under a contract with your employer. Exceptions to this would be if your employer pays for expenses, if you are reimbursed for expenses or if you refuse reimbursement.
  • You did not receive a non-taxable allowance for expenses. This would be an amount given directly to you from the employer for vehicle expenses.
  • You have a T2200 form (Declaration of Conditions of Employment) completed and signed by your employer.

If you receive a non-taxable vehicle allowance from your employer, yet the cost exceeds the allowance, you can claim the difference by voluntarily providing the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) with the amount of allowance you received. You can then claim the difference.

What kind of vehicle expenses can I deduct?

If you meet the requirements for claiming your vehicle expenses on your tax return, you may be able to deduct:

  • Fuel
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Insurance
  • License and registration fees
  • Eligible interest on the vehicle loan
  • Eligible leasing costs of the vehicle

You can also deduct what is called “capital cost allowance” (CCA). This means that, because you cannot deduct the total cost of your vehicle, you can claim part of the cost caused by depreciation.

How much of my vehicle expenses can I claim?

The amount you can claim depends entirely on whether or not the vehicle is used strictly for business purposes or if you use it personally as well. If the vehicle is used for employment and personal use, you can only claim the percentage of expenses related to your job.

This will all be calculated on your tax return but you should track your total kilometers driven and the kilometers driven for work purposes. On your return, you will need to know these amounts for the entire tax year.

Also keep in mind that driving from home to work and from work to home is considered to be personal use. These kilometers are not claimable.

How do I claim my vehicle expenses on my tax return?

The first thing you’ll fill out is Form T777 (Statement of Employment Expenses), specifically lines 5-16 (Calculation of Allowable Motor Vehicle Expenses).

Enter the make, model and year of your car ad well as the total kilometers driven and the total kilometers driven for work during the last tax year.

You’ll end up with a total on line 16 which you can then enter in on line 9281 of the form. Complete the rest of Form T777 – line 9368 is the total you will enter on line 229 of your return.

 

Not sure if your vehicle expenses are tax deductible? We can help! Contact us today for more information.

Are There Any Tax Implications for an Inheritance in Canada?

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In some countries, inheritance taxes are imposed upon an amount inherited by a person from someone who has died. That person is responsible for paying tax on whatever they receive. Fortunately for us in Canada, inheritance taxes do not exist when it comes to receiving an inheritance from a loved one.

Instead, the estate of the deceased pays the taxes before any money or value is transferred to the beneficiary. This means that, in the end, the beneficiary should not have to worry about taxes.

While this may reduce the initial value of the estate, it certainly provides peace of mind to beneficiaries and loved ones who would otherwise shoulder the burden of any owing taxes, interests or penalties.

Who Inherits the Estate?

Who inherits the estates all depends on whether or not the deceased left a valid will. An estate is considered to be everything that a person owns when they die, including their property and their debts. A will is a legal document that describes who will inherit the estate after the owner of the will passes away.

With a will, the estate is distributed as per the directions of the will after taxes and expenses are paid and settled. If, however, the deceased did not have a valid will, then government-imposed rules are applied:

  • If there is a surviving spouse but no surviving descendants, then the spouse receives the estate.
  • If there are surviving descendants, and no surviving spouse, then the descendants receive the estate.
  • If there are both surviving descendants and a spouse, the spouse receives the household furnishing and the spousal preferential share (a specified amount from the estate before other distributions are made). The spouse then receives half the remainder of the estate, with the other half split between descendants.
  • If there are no descendants or spouse, the estate goes to other relatives based on a government-imposed distribution schedule.

Filing the Deceased’s Final Tax Return

After a person passes away, their tax return is filed and any owing taxes are paid by the estate. This is done by the deceased’s legal representative, which is usually an executor or estate administrator. This individual also notifies the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and Service Canada of the date of death and forwards any necessary documents.

The final tax return and owing taxes are due on April 30th if the deceased passed away between January 1st and October 31st. Otherwise, they are due six months after the date of death.

Any owing income tax is paid by the estate first.

Clearance Certificate

After the deceased’s taxes are filed and settled, a Clearance Certificate needs to be requested from the CRA to confirm that all taxes have been paid. A Clearance Certificate confirms that the estate has paid any taxes, interest and penalties owed.

A Clearance Certificate is necessary because it allows the legal representative to distribute the inheritance to any receivers without the risk of being personally responsible for any amounts owing.

Distribution of Inheritance

After the Clearance Certificate is obtained, the executor distributes what remains of the estate in accordance to the will. The entire process from death to receiving inheritance can be a lengthy process, as wills have to be verified, items appraised and taxes filed.

Ultimately, the beneficiary will never have to worry about paying taxes on any amounts received.