Monthly Archives: March 2012
March 29 2012
Here are the Major Highlights of the March 29, 2012 Federal Budget
– Age of eligibility for Old Age Security gradually rises from 65 to 67 staring in 2023 but does not affect anyone age 54 or older as of March 31, 2012.
– The Government expects a budgetary deficit of $21.1 billion for 2012-13 with a surplus by 2015.
– Savings of $5.2 billion a year by 2015.
– Penny production to end this fall but coin will remain in circulation.
-19,200 federal public sector jobs cut over three years.
– Public servants to pay more into pension plans under a 50/50 formula.
– Retirement age for federal civil servants to rise to 65 from 60 for people hired in 2013.
– Duty free cross border shopping limits rise to $200 for 24 hour trips and to $800 for trips of 48 hours or more.
– No significant tax changes for individuals.
– CBC funding cut by 10% over three years.
– Governor General to pay income taxes.
– Government to sell some official overseas residences.
– Canada to review participation in some international organizations.
Full Details on the Department of Finance Website Here Below:
There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of tax you owe, and keep more money in your pocket at tax time.
- Does someone in your family regularly take the bus, train, subway, or ferry to work? You may be able to get a non-refundable tax credit for the cost of the transit passes by claiming the public transit amount. More info here. Public transit tax credit
- Have you retired and now receive a pension? You can split up to 50% of eligible pension income with your spouse or common-law partner to reduce the overall taxes you pay. See pension income splitting for more information.
- Do you work in the trades? Trades people can deduct part of the cost of eligible tools purchased throughout the year. You need a T2200 from your employer to allow you to deduct these expenses. View the guide here.
- Did you buy your first home in 2011? Check out the info about the Home buyer’s tax credit – If you’re a first-time home buyer you may be eligible to claim $5,000 on the purchase of your new home, which can save you up to $750.
- Child care expenses – If you have children, you may be able to claim child care expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid so that either of you could work, do research, or go to school.
- Students – Are you still in school? Students can claim the tuition, education, and textbook amounts. Have you graduated recently? You may be eligible to claim the interest that you paid on your student loans.
- Families – Save those receipts! All the activities you have been paying for throughout the year (piano, karate, tutoring, hockey, and more) may save you money at tax time.
- Plan ahead – Submitting your income tax and benefit return before the tax-filing deadline means you can avoid having to pay the 5% late-filing penalty! Find out here how to file your return.
Whenever in doubt, we can help. Contact us with your questions or for your tax preparation!
March 23 2012
“Spring Has Returned. The Earth Is Like a Child That Knows Poems” -Rainer Maria Rilke
North American Consumer Confidence Rises
North Americans are feeling more confident about the economy with 26% of Americans and 28% of Canadians believing that their economies will improve next year, the highest levels seen in over a year. This comes from an RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook survey. However, Canadian and American residents also share concerns about their personal financial situations, with only 26% of American consumers expecting their personal financial situation to improve, while 34% of Canadians share that optimism.
“With both economies showing signs of a recovery, consumers need to focus on managing their money and developing a financial plan that includes saving and investing,” said Jason Round, head of financial planning support for RBC financial planning. “Sitting down with a financial planner to discuss your options is a good first step to preparing for unforeseen problems or changes.”
When it comes to employment, worries are greater south of the border. However, only 26% of Americans expressed concerns about job loss, down from 32% in February. In addition, 34% reported that someone in their family or a personal friend had lost their job due to economic conditions, the lowest level in over a year and down from 42% last month.
RBC Economics forecasts that Canada’s GDP will increase by 2.6% in 2012, while U.S. GDP is expected to expand by 2.5%, bolstered by a rise in auto sales and growth in consumer spending. Other highlights from the survey included a look at the major purchases of both Canadians and Americans, which include cars, household appliances and cars, and the discovery that 29% of Americans are uncomfortable with spending in the near future. Rising gas prices are still a concern to both countries, with 88% Americans in particular believing gas prices will rise.
Market Update as of March 23 2012
The TSX closed at 12466, down -31 points or -0.25% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 4.27%.
The DOW closed at 13081, down -151 points or -1.14% over the past week.YTD the DOW is up 7.06%.
The S&P closed at 1397, down -7 points or -0.50% over the past week.YTD the S&P is up 11.05%.
The Nasdaq closed at 3068, up 13 points or 0.43% over the past week.YTD the Nasdaq is up 17.77%.
Gold closed at 1661, up 6.00 points or 0.36% over the past week.YTD gold is up 6.13%.
Oil closed at 106.75, down -0.46 points or -0.43% over the past week.YTD oil is up 7.94%.
The USD/CAD closed at 1.0022, down -0.0060 points or -0.60% over the past week.YTD the CAD/USD is up 2.29%.
Sources: Bloomberg, RBC, advisor.ca
Canada’s banking regulator is looking at instituting new rules to ensure that banks know enough about borrowers before giving them a mortgage.
The draft rules, announced on Monday March 19, are designed to ensure that banks are collecting detailed information about a borrower’s identity, background, and willingness and ability to pay their debts on time before they approve a mortgage.
In addition, the proposed rules deal with due diligence the banks should conduct on the value of the property that the mortgage would be for. This is a great initiative to help people make sound financial decisions and protect our banking system, an integral part of our economy.
Like I always say, before buying a first home or upgrading, contact us to go over your financial plan. Brainstorming before you enter into potentially the biggest financial transaction of your life is prudent. We can help!
Sorry to hear that you owe.
You can pay your income due is 4 ways:
- Mail : make your cheque payable to the Receiver General and mail to Canada Revenue Agency, 875 Heron Road, Ottawa ON K1A 1B1.
- Bank Teller: or pay at a teller at your bank with a remittance voucher we or preparor will provide
- Interact: If you deal with one of the 4 major banks you can also use this interact service http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/mypayment/
- Internet banking or telephone banking: the is the easiest for most. From your bank internet banking website select the payee – CRA income tax 2011. If you don’t like to use internet banking, you can also do it by telephone banking with your bank.
It is only due on April 30, so it make sense to keep earning interests and only pay it at the end of April. We will efile your return. So there is nothing to mail.
- For self-employed tax payor with an HST payment to make, you will have to mail yourHST return with your cheque also payable to the Receiver general. We will have the envelope ready for you.
That is due in June 15. So, again, in a financial planning perspective, don’t send money now…earn interests in the meantime!