Category Archives: Who Knew?

Did you know CRA publishes the names of delinquent filers? When is the penny leaving? Do you have money in a forgotten account? This section features different stories that don’t quite fit anywhere else!

Top 10 Personal Tax Season FAQs

We are beginning our 2016 personal tax return preparation season tomorrow.  Although we very much enjoy assisting our clients with the preparation of their personal tax returns, we work long hours at this time of year to do our best to sure everyone’s personal tax return is accurate and filed on time.  If we were super heroes we would be “super-organized” – not as exciting as being invisible, but it enables us to get the job done.

  1. “When are my taxes due?”

Although most Canadians have been required to file their personal tax return on April 30th each year (or the next business day if April 30th falls on a weekend) since as long as I can remember, we understand the confusion here as our neighbours to the south have a April 15th personal tax return filing deadline.

The filing due date for 2016 personal tax returns is May 1, 2017 (since April 30th falls on a Sunday this year) unless one of the following applies:

  • If you or your spouse or common law partner have self-employment business income you have until June 15, 2017 to file your personal tax return.
  • If you died last year between November 1st and December 31st, the due date for your final return is six months after the date of death.
  1. “I am going on vacation until April 25th. Can I bring all of my personal tax information in on April 26th”?

Yes you can bring your information in but we likely won’t have time to complete it until we return from our holidays.  See point 10 below.

  1. “When are my 2016 personal taxes due?”

May 1, 2017, since April 30, 2017 falls on a Sunday, no matter when your filing due date is.

  1. “How do I pay my tax liability?”

I recommend that clients set the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) up as a payee in their online banking, using their social insurance number as the account number, and remit a payment this way.

Not everyone participates in online banking.  One of our clients enjoys going directly to a CRA office each year and standing in what he calls the “crying and paying line”. There are several other ways to pay the Canada Revenue Agency.  Here is a link to other payment options.

  1. “Do you need all of my tax slips?”

Yes

  1. “My printer is broken.”

We email our clients forms during our personal tax return season that require to be printed, signed and returned. To facilitate this process, now is a good time to give your printer a check-up, replace your printer or find an alternative way to print the documents we send to you.  Before you do please see point 8 below.

  1. “I don’t have any toner for my printer.”

Now is a good time to buy some toner.  Before you do please see point 8 below.

  1. “My scanner is broken.”

In this crazy hi-tech world we live in, perhaps the need to purchase a separate machine to scan documents is over.  There are several apps available for your phone that can receive a document, place your signature on the document and return the document. Tiny Scanner and Tiny Scans are two examples of these apps.

  1. “You look tired.  Are you tired?”

Yes

  1. Are you taking a vacation soon?”

Yes on May 2, 2017 and we will be back in the office on May 15, 2017.

Advertisements

Be a Santa and not a Scrooge to your staff

T’is the time of year to thank your employees for their hard work and dedication.  You may do this with gifts and a holiday party.  As you want to be a Santa and not a Scrooge, it is important to plan the gifts and social event so that they are not considered taxable benefits according to the Income Tax Act and consequently included in your employees’ employment income for the year.

Here are some of the main points:
All cash or near-cash gifts (i.e. gift certificates or gift cards) are considered taxable benefits.
If an employee receives non-cash gifts during the year with a value of $500 or less, the non-cash gifts are not considered a taxable benefit. 
If the value of the non-cash gifts received by an employee during the year total $600, then the employee will be deemed to have received a taxable benefit of $100 ($600 less $500).
Holiday parties in which all employees are invited and cost $100 or less per person are not considered a taxable benefit. 
If the holiday party costs $200 per person, the entire cost of the holiday party is considered a taxable benefit.

Canadian Olympic Metal Winners’ Awards Are Considered Taxable Income

The Canadian Olympic Committee awards Olympic athletes $20,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. The Income Tax Act requires these awards to be reported as taxable income – although the athlete may reduce or eliminate his or her tax liability by deducting the expenses associated with earning the award (i.e. training, travel etc.).

The Income Tax Act considers the following to be tax-exempt in most situations:

▪ gifts and inheritances

▪ lottery winnings

▪ post-secondary award and bursaries received while attending a post-secondary school.

▪ a price that is recognized by the general public and that is awarded for meritorious achievement in the arts, the sciences or service to the public – prizes like the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the United States, Olympic athletes receive approximately the same award amounts as Canadian athletes. The IRS not only taxes the awards but also the value of the metal received.

Tax tweets? Follow CRA on Twitter!

Catch the latest updates from CRA though its Twitter account!

Example from April 14, 2014: “…we’re seeing a lot of the that phishing scam recently. The CRA does NOT send refunds via e-mail money transfer.”

  • The CRA’s Twitter accounts were launched in the spring of 2011 and have over 37,000 followers.
  • The CRA has tweeted over 4,400 tweets since 2011, helping Canadians manage their tax affairs.

CanadaRevenueAgency

File your personal tax return yourself online — for free!

There are a number of approved software programs (online) that you can use to prepare and file your 2013 personal tax return.

For the most part, the criteria will be based on what type of return you have and/or income level.

To see if you qualify, check out CRA’s Netfile page.

From CRA’s website:

“NETFILE is one of our electronic tax-filing options. This transmission service allows you to file your personal income tax and benefit return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) using the Internet.

The NETFILE program will be open for transmissions on February 10, 2014, until January 16, 2015, for the electronic filing of your 2013 personal income tax and benefit return. Tax returns filed via NETFILE must first be prepared using a NETFILE-certified product.

There are free certified products available for taxpayers to file their income tax return online.”