5 Tax Changes for 2016 That May Affect Your Tax Return

27504965 - tax word on money background

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has many new services and changes in-store for us this coming tax season.

Here are 5 of the changes that might affect your 2016 personal tax return:

1. Income Splitting Tax Credit

In prior years the Family Tax Cut was a considerable benefit to spouses when one spouse had earned significantly more money than the other.  For 2016 and future years it has been eliminated.  Thankfully the ability to split pension income with your spouse or common-law partner is still available.

2. Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

The maximum amount of eligible fees in the year has been reduced from $1,000 per child to $500.  The amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit has not changed

3. Children’s Arts Tax Credit

This has also been reduced, this time from $500 to $250 per child.  The amount for children eligible for the disability tax credit has not changed

4. Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC)

Starting in 2016 you can claim a non-refundable tax credit for eligible expenses incurred for work performed or goods acquired for a qualifying renovation.  For an explanation and examples of what is eligible see CRA link here.

5. Principal Residence Rules

Effective January 1, 2016 you are required to report the basic information on your tax return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.  Basic information is; the date purchased, proceeds of the sale and the address. I wrote about this in a previous blog posted October 13th if you would like more details and the reasoning behind this new rule.

The CRA is also expanding its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).  This service helps Canadians with modest income and a simple tax situation complete their tax returns, while ensuring all eligible credits and benefits are received.  CRA is currently still recruiting more organizations and volunteers for participation.  Here is a link to determine if you might be eligible for this free service, and current locations near you.

And if your tax return is complicated, your circumstances have changed from prior years or you started a business, talk to a tax professional.  Contact us for a consultation to help determine eligible expenses to offset your income. You don’t want to give more money than necessary to the CRA!

You can connect with me on Facebook, or by clicking the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Or you can leave your information in the form of a comment right here on the site.

Until next time,

Maureen

Goal Setting – 3 Intention Words for 2016

Maureen Burleson

I was recently consulting with an associate and asked her if she made New Year’s resolutions. Her response was no that she didn’t actually make resolutions but usually came up with 2 or 3 keys words that spoke to her about how she wanted the next year to unfold. During that conversation I thought about my own challenges of keeping New Year’s resolutions and wondered if it was time for a different approach. Once I let go of my pre-conceived thoughts on “resolutions” I easily came up with 3 key intention words which I hope will guide me towards achieving my goals in 2016. Here they are: Read more

QuickBooks® – Education not Training

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I receive numerous calls monthly from prospective customers that want QuickBooks® training. They want to know how to “do a set of books” so they can put it on their resume, or they’ve just started a new job and need to know how to use QuickBooks® , FAST. I don’t do QuickBooks® training, I do QuickBooks® education, for both QuickBooks® Desktop and QuickBooks® Online.

You can train a puppy, muscles in your body and sometimes a spouse but I look at learning and teaching QuickBooks® as educating. That is why I only work with customers that have their own businesses, or their representatives responsible for the bookkeeping. By working with the actual documentation that is managed on a day to day basis, the customer is getting work completed, and leaves knowing they have a reference they can look back on if the process comes up again. I don’t believe in working with sample companies; it’s not the customer’s real world. Read more

CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) – Requests and Expectations

bookkeeping services Newmarket

When do requests from the CRA become demands, and what are our expectations when we do everything possible to comply?

Yesterday I met with Bob (not his real name) regarding a request to complete a statement of Financial Position. The CRA uses the completion of this form to determine what you can or should pay, versus what you say you can afford. Bob owes almost $100,000 to CRA for HST and personal tax. Read more

Buying a Franchise? – 4 Key Financial Considerations

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I currently have two customers that are at different stages in buying a Franchise. They have asked me for my opinion on the purchasing and financing of the businesses. One customer is buying a Franchise that has been in operation for almost two years, so they’re purchasing from the Franchisee. The second customer is buying the Franchise from the Franchisor. This involves determining the location, rental agreement, leasehold improvements, purchasing equipment, computers, software, hiring etc., before the doors are even opened. Despite the differences there are numerous issues in common that they need to consider. Buying a Franchise? Then read on to see these 4 key financial considerations. Read more

CRA Taxes – Know Your Rights

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We’ve filed a large number of personal tax returns in the last few months, and customers for the most part have received their Notices of Assessments. But something else could be coming in one of those brown envelopes in the next few weeks – a request from the CRA for documentation or additional information. So whether the demand relates to personal or business taxes – know your rights.

Usually at this time of year Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is looking for receipts to substantiate deductions and credits. The most common are: Read more

Tenant & Landlord Rent Receipts – What you Need to Know

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I covered this topic briefly a few years ago but all through this past tax season numerous questions and situations continued to arise as to what is acceptable and what to do if audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when it comes to tenant and landlord rent receipts. Here is some information on what you need to know and what you will need to supply if requested.

Since the credit varies by province I will address what the CRA across Canada requires and then for the province of Ontario only. Read more

Lying to Revenue Canada about Foreign Property or Investments?

Revenue Canada and Foreign InvestmentWhether you’re preparing your personal tax return for 2014, or having a tax professional do it for you, there’s a possibility you might be lying to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s so easy to skip, or say ‘No’ to the question on the information page – Did taxpayer own foreign property at any time in 2014 with a total cost of more than CAN $100,000? Foreign property is not limited to real property such a condo in Florida that you use for personal and rental purposes.

Specified Foreign Property (SFP) includes: Read more

3 Questions to Ask a Prospective or Current Bookkeeping Provider

bookkeeping expert NewmarketThis is the time of year when many small and medium size business owners decide they need to get a better handle on their bookkeeping. Perhaps you want to get your 2014 bookkeeping up to date and you don’t want to do it yourself, or you want to start 2015 with a professional taking care of your bookkeeping needs so you can focus on your business. As you move forward into the New Year, here are 3 questions to ask a prospective or current bookkeeping provider:

1.  Do you offer fixed price invoicing?

Fixed pricing is an agreement between you and your provider which details what and when you the customer, will supply your provider with information. It also details what the service provider will do with that information. Whether it’s: Read more

3 Problematic Responses to Probing Bookkeeping Questions

bookkeeper NewmarketIn the last few weeks I’ve had an unusually large number of inquiries about hiring us for our accounting, bookkeeping and tax services. And as much as business owners need to ask numerous questions (which I strongly encourage), I also have a responsibility to ask numerous, sometimes probing questions. This ensures that I can help them make informed decisions and give them a sense of direction if something is not correct. Here are 3 recent questions that I asked and the problematic responses. P = Problematic. Read more