Yesterday I completed another item on my Bucket list!

Yesterday , I’ve visited Juno Beach in Normandy to honor our courageous Canadian soldiers and our country’s tremendous role in liberating Europe. I was pleasantly surprised & honored ‎to experience  the love and respect the people of Normandy have for Canadians where many homes fly the Canadian and French flags side by side to remind new generation what Canada & Canadians did for them.

Rock from a TUFF Recycling Inc. Truck cracked my windshield & they are not paying for it

 

On Friday June 3rd at 9:27AM, I’m driving North on 427 highway in Toronto, Ontario,  a big green recycling truck with Initials TUFF spat out a piece of rock, it hit my windshield & shattered it.  Later, I found out the truck is belong to Tuff Recycling Inc. a recycling company based in Brampton Ontario. I found their Telephone # and called them and asked them to pay for my insurance deductible. The response I’ve got from them was that I have no way of proving the rock came from the TUFF truck, therefore they have no liabilities for the damages to my windshield.

I completely disagree with their position & I think it is irresponsible & careless of them to jeopardize public and commuters safety on such busy highways by not properly shielding their loads. I think they should be held responsible for my damages….

How can we convince Ontarians that this is simply bad and scary economics?

Being a business person, accountant, father and pragmatist, I must say that I have become very concerned for my children’s future in this province.  I truly try not to be dramatic, I simply look at facts and human nature to see where trend lines extrapolate to and then come to a conclusion and my conclusion is Ontario is a fiscal mess.    Under the last 12 years of liberal party rule, Ontario is now the number one province in Canada – for accumulated debt!  Not only that but the Fraser Institute reports that Ontario’s debt is growing faster than any other province in Canada!  A friend sent me an article published in Pinterest (author unknown) with the following facts:

Since 2003, the Liberals have added $160 billion to Ontario’s debt, more than doubling it to almost $300 billion – That’s more debt accumulation than Canada’s nine other provinces combined, which added $126 billion in total to their debt loads.

When the Liberals took power in 2003, Ontario was the seventh most indebted province with a net debt-to-GDP ratio of 27.3%, a key indicator of economic health.

After 12 years of Liberal rule, Ontario is now the second most indebted province, surpassed only by Quebec, with a net debt-to-GDP ratio of 39.6%.

This represents a 45% increase in Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio, the largest increase among all the provinces.

In 2003, Ontario held 45.1% of all provincial net debt in Canada. In 2015, it was 50.3%.

Between 2003 and 2015, Ontario’s net debt rose by $10,292 per person, the largest provincial per capita increase.

The Fraser Institute predicts Ontario’s net debt per person will surpass Quebec’s in 2017/18 reaching $22,659 — about $175 more than Quebec’s.

As the Fraser Institute notes, “this rapid run-up in government debt in Ontario has created significant costs for taxpayers … approximately nine cents out of every dollar collected by the provincial government in revenue (is) spent on interest payments servicing the province’s nearly $300 billion debt.”

This year, according to the Wynne government’s own projections, interest on debt payments will cost Ontario taxpayers $11.2 billion, rising to $11.75 billion next year.

If debt was a government ministry, it would be the fourth largest this year after health care, education and community and social services.

Next year, it will be the third largest, with Ontarians spending $11.75 billion paying interest on debt, more than on all welfare and social service programs combined at $11.46 billion.

How can we convince Ontarians that this is simply bad and scary economics?  It took Ontario approximately 100 years to become the wondrous society that was envied around the world.  However, in only 12 years we have stopped being envied and are now being pitied.  This is what the tax-and-spend philosophy has done to Ontario.  Our society must start considering the “unintended consequences” of current policy and plan accordingly. Our children and their children will be saddled with huge debts resulting in tremendously unfair taxes to pay for both their societal needs of their future and for our sins of today.  It gets even scarier when one thinks it through a little further.  Progressive taxation puts an unreasonable, way over-proportionate share of tax on the top 10 percent of the population.  Does anyone really believe that those few future taxpayers will be willing to pay more and more only to receive less and less without upheaval?  Many taxpayers are already revolting by joining the underground economy.    In the near future, our children will be living in a much challenged society with predictable tax revolts, diminishing health and education services, deteriorating infrastructure and a fading industrial economic base.  They deserve better yet we keep drinking the same Kook Aid from Ms. Wynne and her Liberal cronies.   Will Ontario become a Detroit???  The thought sends shivers up my spine but I just cannot get rid of the thought because it is far too possible.

 

Employment Insurance premiums for 2016

The Employment Insurance premium rate for 2016 is 1.88%.

Yearly maximum insurable earnings are set at $50,800, making the maximum employee premium $955.04.

As in previous years, employer premiums are 1.4 times the employee contribution. The maximum employer premium for 2016 is therefore $1337.06.

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.

Canada Pension Plan Contributions for 2016

The Canada Pension Plan contribution rate for 2016 is unchanged at 4.95% of pensionable earnings for the year.

The maximum pensionable earnings for the year will be $54,900, and the basic exemption is unchanged at $3,500.

The maximum employer and employee contributions to the plan for 2016 will be $2,544.30 each, and the maximum self-employed contribution will be $5,088.60.

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

Federal Individual tax credits for 2016

Dollar amounts on which individual non-refundable federal tax credits for 2016 are based, and the actual tax credit claimable, will be as follows:

  Credit amount   Tax Credit
Basic personal amount   11,474 1,721
 Spouse or common-law partner amount                                         11,474 1,721
Eligible dependent amount 11,474 1,721
Age amount 7,125 1,069
Net income threshold for erosion of credit 35,927  
Infirm dependent amount (over 18) 6,788 1,018
Net income threshold for erosion of credit 6,807  
Caregiver amount (for parent or grandparents) 4,667 700
Net income threshold for Erosion of credit 15,940  
Disability amount 8,001 1,200
Adoption expenses credit 15,453 2,318
Medical expense tax credit threshold amount 2,237  
Maximum refundable medical threshold amount 2,237  
Maximum refundable medical Expense supplement 1,187  
Old Age Security claw back Income threshold 73,756  

Credit amounts are converted to a non-refundable credit by multiplying the amount by the federal rate applicable to the lowest income bracket, which is 15% for 2016.

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

Federal individual tax and brackets for 2016

The indexing factor for federal tax credits and brackets for 2016 is 1.3%. The following federal tax rates and brackets will be in effect for individuals for the 2016 tax year:

Income level                           Federal tax rate

$11,327–$45,282                            15%

$45,283–$90,563                           20.5%

$90,564–$140,388                          26%

$140,389–$200,000                         29%

Above $200,000                              33%

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

Tax deadlines for the 2016 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 2016 are listed below.

RRSP deduction limit increases to $24,930

The RRSP contribution limit for the 2015 tax year (for which the contribution deadline is Monday, February 29, 2016) will increase to $24,930. In order to make the maximum current year contribution for 2015, it will be necessary to have had earned income for the 2014 taxation year of $138,500.

TFSA contribution limit for 2016 reduced

The TFSA contribution room limit for 2016 is reduced to $5,500. The actual amount which can be contributed by a particular individual includes both the current year limit and any carryover or re-contribution amounts from previous taxation years.

Individual tax instalment deadlines for 2016

Millions of individual taxpayers pay income tax by quarterly instalments, which are will be due on the 15th day of each of March, June, September, and December 2016.

Individual tax filing and payments deadlines for 2016

For all individual taxpayers, including those who are self-employed, the deadline for payment of all income tax owed for the 2015 tax year April 30, 2016.

Taxpayers (other than the self-employed and their spouses) must file an income tax return for 2015 on or before April 30, 2016. As April 30, 2016 falls on a Saturday, payments and returns will actually be due this year on or before Monday, May 2, 2016. Self-employed taxpayers and their spouses must file a 2014 income tax return on or before Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

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.

Early Tax Planning for 2016

Planning for 2016 taxes when the year has barely started and the filing deadline for 2015 returns is still months away may seem more than a little premature. Nonetheless, taking some time to review one’s tax situation—and perhaps putting a few strategies in place—at the beginning of the year can help avoid a cash flow crisis or other financial shock when the RRSP contribution deadline looms or it is tax filing (and tax payment) time in the spring of 2017. And, while many tax planning and tax saving strategies can be implemented throughout the tax year, getting an early start on such planning usually leads to the best results.

One tax planning step that is best taken early in the year is to ensure that the right amount of tax is being paid throughout the year. Most Canadians love getting a tax refund – the bigger the better. Receiving a refund after filing the annual tax return feels like getting “free” money from the federal government. In fact, except in very narrow circumstances, the reality is the opposite—it’s the taxpayer who has provided the federal government with the interest-free use of the taxpayer’s money. Getting a tax refund often indicates a failure to plan one’s tax payments properly at the beginning of the year.

To understand why that is so, it’s necessary to understand how and when the tax authorities collect taxes from individual taxpayers. Canada’s tax system is a self-assessing one, in which individual taxpayers file an annual return at a prescribed time, usually by the end of April in the following year, reporting their income from all sources and calculating the amount of federal and provincial tax which they must pay on that income. Of course, very few taxpayers would be able to pay their entire tax bill for the year at one time and the tax authorities are equally disinclined to wait until past the end of the tax year to receive income taxes owed by Canadians. So, for most Canadians (certainly for the vast majority who receive their income from employment), income tax, along with other statutory deductions like Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance contributions, are paid periodically throughout the year by means of deductions taken from their paycheques, with those deductions then remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on the taxpayer’s behalf by his or her employer.

Of course, each taxpayer’s situation is unique, and so the employer has to have some guidance as to how much to deduct and remit on behalf of each individual taxpayer. That guidance is provided by the employee/taxpayer in the form of TD1 forms which are completed and signed by every employee, sometimes at the start of each tax year but certainly at the time employment commences. Each employee must in fact complete two TD1 forms—one for federal tax purposes and the other for provincial tax imposed by the province in which the taxpayer resides and works. Federal and provincial TD1 forms for 2016 (which are available on the CRA website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu/AFAF_T_TD-e.html#ti) list the most common statutory credits and deductions claimed by taxpayers, including the basic personal credit, the spousal credit amount and the age amount. Adding amounts claimed on each form gives the Total Claim Amounts (one federal, one provincial), which the employer then uses to determine, based on tables issued by the CRA, the amount of income tax which should be deducted (or withheld) from each of the employee’s paycheques and remitted on his or her behalf to the government.

While this system makes fundamental sense, it can go awry when too much tax is withheld from the employee’s paycheque, and then returned to him or her at the end of the tax year in the form of a tax refund. Generally, this happens when the employee does not correctly indicate on the TD1 forms all of the personal tax credit amounts to which he or she is entitled. In other cases, too much tax may be withheld where the employee has deductions or credits which cannot be claimed on the TD1 forms. In either case, the amount withheld from the employee’s paycheque throughout the year will be greater than the amount of tax he or she actually owes—thereby providing the tax authorities with an interest-free loan of what is ultimately the taxpayer’s money.

Where the taxpayer simply isn’t claiming on the TD1 all of the amounts to which he or she is entitled, the solution is a simple one. Only the basic personal tax credit which all Canadian resident taxpayers are entitled is automatically taken into account in determining a taxpayer’s deductions at source—all others must be specified by the taxpayer. So, if a taxpayer is entitled to claim a particular tax credit amount, like the spousal amount or the age amount that should be identified on the TD1. Assuming that employment income is, as is the case for most Canadians, the taxpayer’s only significant source of income, claiming all amounts to which he or she is entitled on the TD1 will mean that the source deductions made will accurately reflect tax liabilities for the year. At the end of the year, the individual will have paid the taxes for which he or she is responsible, without under or overpaying.

Where the taxpayer has available deductions which cannot be recorded on the TD1, it makes things a little more complicated, but it’s still possible to have source deductions adjusted to accurately reflect tax liability. The way to do so is to file a Form T1213, Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source (available on the CRA website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t1213/README.html), with the CRA. Once that form is filed with the CRA, the Agency will authorize the employer to reduce the amount of tax being withheld at source to more accurately reflect the taxpayer’s actual tax owing for the year. In most cases, taxpayers who file a Form T1213 do so because they are incurring expenditures which, while deductible for tax purposes, don’t show up on the TD1. Most commonly, those are expenditures like deductible support payments or contributions to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

Many taxpayers like getting a tax refund because they see it as a kind of forced savings plan, and it’s true that if your money is being held throughout the year by the tax authorities, you can’t spend it. And it’s also true that a reduction in the amount of source deductions, while it can amount to a significant sum over the course of a year, is likely to be a relatively small amount per paycheque. Even the most financially self-disciplined among us find it difficult not to spend what seems like a fairly insignificant amount of money when it’s made available to us, especially when it feels like “found” money. The solution on both counts is to have the “excess” amount represented by reduced source deductions transferred into a TFSA or, even better, an RRSP as soon as it appears in the taxpayer’s bank account.  Even $20 a week will amount, not including interest, to just over $1000 per year. And, if that $1,000 is transferred into an RRSP, then the taxpayer will have a $1,000 deduction to claim on his or her tax return for the year—and will avoid, in whole or in part, that end-of-February scramble to come up with funds for an RRSP contribution. For a taxpayer who has a marginal tax rate of 40%, a $1,000 RRSP contribution and deduction will reduce the tax bill for the year by $400.

As with all things bureaucratic, having one’s source deductions reduced by filing a T1213 takes some time—the CRA’s estimate is four to six weeks. Consequently, a T1213 filed in early January should take effect, at the latest, by the middle of February—well in time to have the required effect on one’s source deductions for 2016.

Finally, even where the employer already has a TD1 on file for the employee, it’s easy and often advisable to provide the employer with a new one at the beginning of the tax year. Everyone’s circumstances change over time—a son or daughter starts post-secondary education, or an elderly parent comes to live with his or her children—and it’s likely that many individuals become entitled to make tax credit claims which aren’t reflected on a TD1 completed years previously. And, where the employee will have deductions in 2016 which can’t be recorded on the TD1, this would be a good time to prepare and file a T1213 for the year. Doing either, or both, as the case may be, will ensure that source deductions made during 2016 accurately reflect the employee’s current circumstances and consequently his or her actual tax liability for the year.

 

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

My Trade Delegation Mission to India January 4-18, 2016

Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce

Trade Delegation to India 2016

I have been invited by Patrick Brown leader of The PC party of Ontario to join his upcoming trade mission to India in January 2016. This invitation is only being extended to a select group of innovative business thinkers that are interested in tapping into one of the world’s largest economies.

Patrick is co-leading this mission with the President of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), Sanjay Makkar. ICCC has a long history of facilitating business and trade opportunities between Canada and India. Trade missions such as this facilitate important discussions on how we can expand business between Canada & India. The goals for this mission are to make valuable connections that will support work we do and to learn best practices that we may be able to apply to our economy here in Ontario.

On this mission, we plan to visit New Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu meeting with area representatives. With trade representing 60 percent of the Canadian economy, deepening commercial partnerships with Indian business is vital to Canada’s economic growth and offers Indian business a perspective on what Canada has to offer. The ICCC delegation has an important component of … members of municipalities is taking an active approach to create an environment for Life Sciences, Pharmaceuticals, Health Sector, Clean Energy, Education, Agro & Food Processing, ICT, Tourism and Smart Cities and has demonstrated focused leadership on developing India-related strategies.

The delegation will be meeting with India’s largest and most influential trade bodies, including the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India-Canada Business Chamber (ICBC), World Trade Centre (WTC) Mumbai, the All India Association of Industries and other key trade organizations. In addition, the President of ICCC along with delegation will be meeting the key decision makers in the Government of India. Meetings with these organizations will take various formats – including B2B meetings, networking receptions, luncheon, 3 roundtables and briefings – to offer the delegation the most effective opportunities for business connections with Indian companies represented by these organizations.

In addition to business meetings, these forums will also offer delegates an opportunity to have meetings with Canadian and Indian policy-makers. In particular, with Ministers and senior bureaucrats in the Government of India and certain state governments. Additionally, the delegation will meet with the representatives of the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, the Consulate of Canada in Mumbai and Ontario International Marketing Centre Representatives based in Delhi and Mumbai.

I Look forward to embarking on my 1st trip to India to take part in these meetings along with Patrick Brown,  the ICCC & other delegates,

Regards,

Louis Sapi, CPA, CA, MBA