CPA Canada Federal Budget Commentary

The Federal Government’s 2018 Budget touts Canada’s strong economic growth over the past two years, including real GDP growth of 3.2 per cent since the second quarter of 2016, an unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent, and significant improvements in average weekly earnings, consumer confidence, and household consumption. The Finance Minister expects similar growth in the near-term. In addition, federal revenues increased by more than 11 per cent in 2017, largely from personal and corporate income taxes.

Further details are summarized here Federal Budget Commentary

The information presented is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

Posted: Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals.


Changes coming to the Voluntary Disclosure Program

Although it’s doubtful that anyone does so with any great degree of enthusiasm, each spring millions of Canadians sit down to complete their annual tax return for the previous calendar year or, more often, they pay someone else to do it for them. Although the rate of compliance among Canadian taxpayers is very high — for the last filing season, just under 30 million individual income tax returns were filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) — there are, inevitably, those who do not.

Read More »

Posted: Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals, Tax Alerts.


Tax Efficient Retirement Planning

Perhaps you have been diligently saving for your retirement in an RRSP. The benefit you receive now is a useful deduction from your income for tax purposes.  However, have you fully considered what happens from a tax perspective when you retire and start drawing from your retirement funds?  The tax effect of your retirement income should be a consideration so that you are not overpaying income taxes during your retirement years.  Read More »

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018 | Categories: Commentary.


Pension income splitting — getting something for nothing (February 2018)

Any taxpayer hearing of a tax planning opportunity that offered the possibility of saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in tax while at the same time increasing his or her eligibility for government benefits, while requiring no advance planning, no expenditure of funds, and almost no expenditure of time could be forgiven for thinking that what was being proposed was an illegal tax scam. 

Read More »

Posted: Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 | Categories: Tax Alerts.


RRSPs and TFSAs — making the annual choice

If there is one invariable “rule” of financial and retirement planning of which most Canadians are aware, it is the unquestioned wisdom of making regular contributions to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). And it is true that for several decades the RRSP was only tax-sheltered savings and investment vehicle available to most individual Canadians.

Read More »

Posted: Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 | Categories: Tax Alerts.


CRA Online Access

Did you know that the Canada Revenue Agency allows for online access to your personal or business accounts?  There is a wealth of information available on their site which is quite easy to access.  Personal information includes tracking refunds, viewing past returns, checking benefit payments and setting up direct deposits.  Business accounts are even more useful for business owners or employees who need access to information.  Read More »

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018 | Categories: Commentary.


Tax deadlines and limits for the 2018 tax year

Each new tax year brings with it a listing of tax payment and filing deadlines, as well as some changes with respect to tax planning strategies. Some of the more significant dates and changes for individual taxpayers for 2018 are listed below. Read More »

Posted: Friday, January 12th, 2018 | Categories: Individuals, Tax Alerts.


Year-end planning for RRSPs and TFSAs

For most Canadians, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) don’t become top of mind until near the end of February, as the annual contribution deadline approaches. When it comes to tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), most Canadians are aware that there is no contribution deadline for such plans, so that contributions can be made at any time. Consequently, neither RRSPs nor TFSAs tend to be a priority when it comes to year-end tax planning. Read More »

Posted: Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Year-end tax planning – some steps to take before December 31st

As the 2017 calendar year winds down, the window of opportunity to take steps to reduce one’s tax bill for the 2017 tax year is closing. As a general rule, tax planning or tax saving strategies must be undertaken and completed by December 31st, in order to make a difference to one’s tax liability for 2017. (For individual taxpayers, the only significant exception to that rule is registered retirement savings plan contributions. Such contributions can be made any time up to and including March 1, 2018, and claimed on the return for 2017.) Read More »

Posted: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals.


Managing your tax affairs online

Just about any financial or investment transaction can now be carried out online, and many Canadians conduct most or all of their financial affairs in an online environment, whether through their financial institution’s web-based banking and investment services or by using mobile apps. The shift to managing one’s financial matters online has extended to dealing with income tax matters, and that’s a trend which has been both aided and encouraged by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Read More »

Posted: Friday, November 24th, 2017 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals.


Flying south for the winter

As the days shorten and temperatures drop into the single digits, the thoughts of many Canadians turn to the idea of spending at least some part of the upcoming Canadian winter somewhere much warmer — most often, in one of the southern US states. And, while the less than robust state of the Canadian dollar relative to US currency has required Canadians to downsize some of those plans, it is still the case that thousands of Canadian “snowbirds” fly south during the worst of the Canadian winter. Read More »

Posted: Friday, November 10th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Deciding when to start receiving Old Age Security benefits

The baby boom generation, which is now in or near retirement, has always been able to factor receiving Old Age Security benefits, once they turn 65, into their retirement income plans. While receipt of such benefits can be still be assumed by the vast majority of Canadian retirees, the age at which such income will commence is no longer a fixed number. Rather, retirees are now faced with a choice about when they want those benefits to start. For the past four years, Canadians have had the option of deferring receipt of their Old Age Security benefits, for months or for years past the age of 65, and that election to defer continues to be available. The difficulty that can arise is how to determine, on an individual basis, whether it makes sense to defer receipt of OAS benefits and, if so, for how long. It’s a consequential choice and decision, since any election made to defer is irrevocable. Read More »

Posted: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Legal fees — what’s deductible and when?

For most Canadians, having to pay for legal services is an infrequent occurrence, and most Canadians would like to keep it that way. In many instances, the need to seek out and obtain legal services (and to pay for them) is associated with life’s more unwelcome occurrences and experiences — a divorce, a dispute over a family estate, or a job loss. About the only thing that mitigates the pain of paying legal fees (apart, hopefully, from a successful resolution of the problem that created the need for legal advice) would be being able to claim a tax credit or deduction for the fees paid. Read More »

Posted: Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 | Categories: Businesses.


The Liberal Private Corporation Tax Proposals: An Update

Our previous article discussed the new tax proposals issued by Finance Minister Morneau on July 18, 2017. These tax proposals were hinted at during the Liberal party election platform as well as the 2017 Federal budget with the messages of tax fairness for the middle class and closing unfair tax loopholes often used by wealthy Canadians.  The tax proposals that were announced in respect of these main issues focused on three areas: income splitting using private corporations, passive investment income from holding investments in private corporations and the conversion of dividend income into capital gains to achieve a lower tax rate, known as capital gain stripping.  Read More »

Posted: Monday, October 16th, 2017 | Categories: Commentary.


Protecting your personal financial information – the Equifax cyberattack (October 2017)

News about another successful cyberattack, on government or on a private company, in a single country or worldwide, is now almost routine. What such events usually have in common is a desire by the hackers who perpetrate the attacks to profit by it — either by demanding payment from the entity whose systems have been compromised, or by obtaining confidential personal information (especially identifying or financial information) about individuals, which the hackers can then use fraudulently or sell to others who wish to do so. Read More »

Posted: Friday, October 6th, 2017 | Categories: Uncategorized.


When you owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) doesn’t publish information or statistics on the number of individual taxpayers who owe it money in the form of back taxes, interest, or penalties. Nonetheless, it’s a safe assumption that some percentage of the 28 million or so Canadians who filed a tax return this past spring either couldn’t pay their 2016 taxes when due or still owe money from past years, or both. Being unable to pay one’s bills on time and as due obviously isn’t desirable, no matter who the creditor is. There are, however, a number of reasons why owing money to the tax authorities is a particularly bad idea.

Read More »

Posted: Friday, September 15th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


The CRA’s post-assessment review process

While Canadians typically think of taxes only in the spring when the annual return must be filed, taxes are a year-round business for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Read More »

Posted: Friday, August 25th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Getting a mortgage now – what’s a “stress test”?

The Bank of Canada’s recent decision to raise interest rates generated a lot of media attention, for the most part because while the increase itself was only one quarter of a percentage point, it was the first move made by the Bank of Canada to increase rates in the past seven years. Read More »

Posted: Friday, August 11th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Taking Aim at Taxing Private Corporations

If you thought that this was going to be a quiet summer, time to enjoy vacations and not worry about the business for at least a couple of weeks, think again. Our Liberal government has given us an unwelcome surprise as proposed tax changes which target private Canadian corporations and the so‑called ‘wealthy’ Canadians.  There were hints in the 2017 Federal Budget back in the spring that something was coming our way, so now we know.  It is a hard-hitting set of tax provision changes that are meant to target those who are apparently not paying their fair share of taxes.  Read More »

Posted: Saturday, July 15th, 2017 | Categories: Commentary.


When you can’t meet your tax obligations – the CRA’s Taxpayer Relief Program

In recent years, it seems that the arrival of spring has coincided with a natural or man-made disaster somewhere in Canada. Spring is also, of course, tax return preparation and filing season for most Canadian taxpayers, but it’s likely taxes were the last thing on the minds of families and individuals affected by this spring’s floods. And, in most cases, those families and individuals will not be penalised for failing, in such circumstances, to fulfil their tax obligations in a timely way. Read More »

Posted: Friday, June 23rd, 2017 | Categories: Tax Alerts.


Claiming a deduction for moving expenses

If spring is the season for real estate sales in Canada, then summer is the time when all those real estate buyers and sellers pack up their belongings and move to their newly purchased homes. And, while buying a new home and making that move is usually something home buyers are doing by choice, that doesn’t make the actual process of moving any less stressful or costly. Read More »

Posted: Friday, June 16th, 2017 | Categories: Tax Alerts.


Tips to Detect CRA Phone Scams

In the past several years Jones & O’Connell LLP has had an increasing number of clients contact us concerned after receiving phone calls and letters from people claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Upon discussing the situation with clients, it sometimes becomes clear that they were the target of fraud.

For someone who does not regularly interact with the CRA, it can be difficult to detect these scams, particularly the more sophisticated ones. Read More »

Posted: Monday, June 12th, 2017 | Categories: Commentary.


What happens after you file that tax return

Once they’ve completed and filed their 2016 tax return, most Canadians give a sigh of relief that the dreaded annual chore is done, and that income taxes will be out of sight and out of mind until the next filing deadline rolls around.

Read More »

Posted: Friday, June 9th, 2017 | Categories: Tax Alerts.


Making use of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Voluntary Disclosure Program

As just about everyone knows, individual income tax returns for the 2016 tax year must be filed, by most Canadians, and any tax balance owed must be paid by all individual Canadians, on or before May 1, 2017. Read More »

Posted: Friday, May 26th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


IFRS – Change to Lease Accounting

Implementation of new accounting standards can be difficult and may have a major impact to your business. In today’s business world, we have to plan ahead and evaluate the impact of known changes to accounting standards. Read More »

Posted: Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 | Categories: Commentary.


Fixing a mistake on your (already-filed) tax return

For the majority of Canadians, the due date for filing of an individual tax return for the 2016 tax year is May 1, 2017. (Self-employed Canadians and their spouses have until June 15, 2017 to get that return filed.)

Read More »

Posted: Friday, May 12th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Ontario Budget Commentary

Finance Minister Charles Sousa tabled the Ontario Budget on April 27, 2017.

The deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year is projected to be $1.5 billion, with a balanced budget projected for 2017-18,2018-19 and 2019-20.

The Budget does not include any changes to Ontario’s personal or corporate income tax rates.

Provincial Budget Commentary

The information presented is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

Posted: Monday, May 1st, 2017 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals.


Using the CRA’s mobile app

For several years, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been encouraging taxpayers to manage their taxes and benefits online, through the CRA website, and has been largely successful in that effort. More recently, the Agency has taken the next step, by creating mobile apps which taxpayers can use to obtain most of the same information, and carry out many of the same tasks, as can already be done online.

Read More »

Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.


Upcoming changes to the Canada Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP), together with the Old Age Security (OAS) program, forms the cornerstone of Canada’s retirement income system. There are other retirement savings options available to Canadians, but the CPP is unique in that it is Canada’s only compulsory retirement savings program.

Read More »

Posted: Monday, April 10th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals, Tax Alerts.


Authorizing a representative to deal with the CRA

It’s not news that the Canadian tax system is complex and that most Canadians, especially those who only encounter it once a year at tax-filing time, would rather not have to deal with that complexity. Consequently, over the next couple of months, it’s likely that more than 16 million Canadian taxpayers will seek out the services of professional tax return preparers and tax discounters, in order to get their 2016 returns completed and EFILED on time.

Read More »

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017 | Categories: Individuals.



The Federal Government’s 2017–18 Budget gives Canadians a taste of what they might expect over the next couple of years: attempted efficiencies, closed tax loopholes, steady deficits, and a touch of caution. Budget 2017 outlines only $200 million in net new spending, but also an increase to the deficit of more than $5 billion for 2017–18, partly due to commitments from the previous budget, reduced revenues and increased general expenses. Read More »

Posted: Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 | Categories: Businesses, Individuals.


CPA External Monitoring – Headache or Opportunity?

We have all had at one time or another been right in the middle of busy season, smack dab in the middle of February, when all of a sudden that nasty email pops up from our provincial institute. You have just won the lottery! Its Practice Inspection time again. 

Read More »

Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 | Categories: Commentary.


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