What's New by Month
Some of the personal tax measures in the budget include elimination of the public transit tax credit and the home relocation loans deduction, replacing 3 different caregiver tax credits with a new Canada Caregiver Credit, and implementing for RESPs and RDSPs the anti-avoidance rules that are already in place for other registered accounts, including swap transactions, prohibited investments, and non-qualified investments. Billed-basis accounting for designated professionals is being eliminated. Alcohol and tobacco taxes increase effective March 23, 2017. Check the article for all tax measures.
The new Canada Caregiver Credit proposed by the Federal 2017 Budget would replace the existing Caregiver Tax Credit, Infirm Dependant Tax Credit, and Family Caregiver Tax Credit, for 2017 and later years.
The Federal 2017 Budget proposes to amend the definition of a taxi business to include ride-sharing services, so that these services will be required to register for and collect GST/HST regardless of their annual income level.
The Federal 2017 Budget proposes to extend the "swap transaction" rules to Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) effective for transactions occurring after Budget Day, March 22, 2017. For this purpose, investment income generated after March 22nd on previously acquired investments will be considered to be a "transaction occurring" after March 22, 2017. There are exceptions.
There are separate federal tax credits for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers. Several provinces and one territory also have a tax credit for volunteer firefighters and/or search and rescue volunteers.
It is necessary to include all RRSP contributions made in the first 60 days of the current year on Schedule 7 of the tax return for the past tax year. If you didn't do this for your contributions made at the beginning of 2016, you will have to file an adjustment to your 2015 tax return. Make sure you do this for your 2017 contributions up to March 1st, even if you're not deducting them for 2016!
Whether you own foreign or Canadian ETFs, you should know the tax consequences of the income from them, and how to calculate your adjusted cost base (ACB). With Canadian ETFs, you need to know about reinvested distributions and how they increase your ACB and thus reduce your capital gain on sale.
Alberta's 2017 budget announced changes to the provincial political contribution tax credit, although the amount will remain unchanged. Very few tax changes were announced.
Interest expense incurred to earn investment income can be deducted as carrying charges on your tax return. This could include mortgage, loan, or line of credit interest, margin interest, or interest on your CSB payroll savings plan.
Withdrawals from your RRSP from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2016 will be on a 2016 T4RSP, and must be reported on Schedule 7 of your 2016 tax return, even though they don't affect your income.
If you made repayments to your RRSP for the HBP or LLP from Jan 1/16 to Mar 1/17, make sure you report them properly on your tax return in order to not lose RRSP contribution/deduction room.
We've published the table of 2017 corporate income tax rates. So far, 2017 provincial budgets have brought corporate tax rate changes for BC and New Brunswick. Most provincial budgets have not yet been tabled, so further changes could be coming. Some rates changed effective January 1, 2017 based on last year's budgets.
Unless it is used to generate income, a cottage or second home is normally considered personal-use property. It's important to track the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your principal residence and your cottage, as the principal residence exemption could apply to either one. Even if you don't own a second property, the ACB of your home needs to be tracked, because its status as a principal residence could change in the future.
Non-residents of Canada receiving income from Canada, such as OAS, CPP, or other income, may be able to reduce the withholding tax on that income by filing a NR5 application, and may recover the withholding tax by filing an elective tax return. Depending on their country of residence, recipients of OAS must file a T1136 OAS Return of Income annually in order to continue to receive their OAS payments.
Topics this month: Principal residence exemption, fraud refund scam, mutual fund taxation, investment management fees, Eservices at CRA. If you own a principal residence you'll definitely want to view this video!
We've revised the 2017 tables of non-refundable tax credits to reflect what the education and textbook tax credits will be for 2017 if the amounts on the 2017 TD1 forms are all correct. These credits are cancelled federally for 2017, and most provinces/territories will have to change their legislation to keep them. BC is extending the education tax credit for 2017, and NWT is retaining the education tax credit (no end date was specified).
Deductions from income save tax at your marginal tax rate, while most non-refundable tax credits are at the lowest personal income tax rate, with some exceptions. See our information on many of the deductions and refundable and non-refundable tax credits.
The Nunavut 2017 Budget documents did not mention any tax changes. However, there is no Bill available yet to reflect any changes resulting from the Budget, and it is possible they may enact changes in order to keep the education tax credit.
Bill 17 for the NT 2017 Budget includes elimination of the Overseas Employment Tax Credit (OETC), and retention of the Education Tax Credit. Tobacco taxes were increased.
Do you have a buildup of RRSP contribution room because you've been unable to make regular contributions to your RRSP, or just because you're a procrastinator? If you're considering borrowing to contribute to an RRSP, read our article first, then check out the Borrow for RRSPs Calculator.
Our table shows what a huge difference it makes to start contributing early to RRSPs or TFSAs. March 1, 2017 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2016 tax year.
The Rule of 72 is very simple - divide 72 by your rate of return to find out how many years it would take to double your investment. At a 9% rate of return, it would take 8 years. Our calculator lets you input a rate to determine the number of years to double your investment, or you can input the number of years to determine the approximate rate required to double your investment.
If you have earned income in 2017, this generates RRSP contribution room for 2018. If you are turning 71 in 2017, you can only use this room to contribute to the RRSP of a younger spouse or by making an excess contribution to your own RRSP in 2017, because your RRSP must be converted to a RRIF by the end of the year. The excess contribution should be done in December to minimize the penalty. We're putting this out there now so you can plan ahead.
There are several ways of splitting income, either with a spouse or child. Two methods of splitting income with a spouse, pension splitting and transfer of Canadian dividends to a spouse, are done only on the tax return.
Do you own foreign property with a cost exceeding $100,000 Canadian at any time 2016? If so, you (Canadian resident individual, corporation, certain trusts or partnerships) will have to file the T1135 foreign income verification report. The penalties for not filing are onerous. Types of foreign property include securities, real estate, life insurance policies, and more. Learn what is included and how to complete the T1135. If your foreign real estate had additions/renovations done that were capital in nature, did this increase the adjusted cost base to over $100,000 Canadian?
The maximum lifetime capital gains exemption (LCGE) for the sale of qualified small business corporation shares is $835,714 for 2017. For qualified farming or fishing property the maximum is $1 million. Planning ahead is absolutely necessary if you're hoping to claim this exemption in the future!
You can transfer shares from a non-registered account to your RRSP in order to make your contribution. If you transfer shares on which there is a loss, the loss will not be deductible. If you transfer shares on which there is a gain, you will have a taxable capital gain.
The budget announced major changes to MSP, a reduction in the small business corporate income tax rate, extension to the education tax credit for 2017, reduction of the PST rate on electricity, and many other changes.
Effective January 1, 2018, the premium rates for those with adjusted family net income of $120,000 and less will be reduced by 50%, and the threshold for elimination of premiums is increased from $24,000 to $26,000. However, it will be necessary to apply for the reduction, for those who have not already applied for premium assistance.
Usually, a person files a tax return for the province in which they are residing on December 31 of the tax year, even if they worked in another province.
The Canadian Tax Calculator now includes the Family Caregiver Amount for infirm dependent minor children and spouses, the Infirm Dependant Amount for age 18+, and the Caregiver Amount for either parents/grandparents living with you, or dependent infirm adult relatives living with you.
Barter and Bitcoin transactions can result in taxable income, and in PST and GST/HST payable.
Starting with the 2016 taxation year, the sale of a principal residence must be reported on the tax return, even if it is 100% eligible for the principal residence. When there is more than one owner, each will report their share of the sale.
The table of BC Provincial Debt has been updated to March 31, 2016. It includes debt-to-GDP ratios and debt per person from 1997 to 2016.
The New Brunswick small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced from 3.5% to 3.0% effective April 1, 2017. There were no personal income tax changes announced.
NetFile will be open for transmissions on February 20, 2017 until January 19, 2018 for filing of 2013 to 2016 personal income tax returns. EFile is also available starting February 20, 2017.
You may try to keep your withholding tax rate lower by taking a series of lump sum withdrawals from your RRSP or RRIF, instead of withdrawing one larger amount. However, you may not be successful in keeping the withholding tax rate lower.
The investment return calculator will provide you the % return and the annualized % return on an investment account, a portfolio, or a single investment. It will now retain data for you on your computer so you don't have to re-enter everything the next time you use it.
Expenses that are paid to earn employment income are sometimes deductible, including any GST/HST that was paid on them. This can only be done if your employer requires you to pay the expenses, and either you didn't receive reimbursement for the expenses, or the amount you did receive is included in your income. Form T2200 must be completed by your employer in order to claim employment expenses.
The 2017 sales tax rates have not changed from 2016. That may change, however, when budgets are tabled.
From March 31 to November 30, 2016, Canada's interest-bearing debt increased by $31.95 billion, almost as much as it increased in the 10 years ending March 31, 2016. Unfortunately, it appears that Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is taking us into a spiral of debt, as was done by Pierre Trudeau in the 1970's and 1980's. We are now paying $2 billion per month in interest, at historically low interest rates!
Some types of income are not taxable, and some must be included in the tax return even if they are not taxable.
The Home Buyer's Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow funds from your RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home.
Topics this month: Trump tax proposals may affect Canadians; Director liability; Cell phones - employment expense? taxable benefit?; GST/HST compliance letters; New CRA online services for tax preparers.
Some Canadians may have to file a US estate tax return and possibly pay US estate tax, depending on US assets owned at the time of death, including real estate, stocks, etc.
The US Federal Estate Tax Calculator has been updated for 2017.
The table of factors for 2017 maximum withdrawals from federally-regulated plans is available on the website of the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).
If you have a parent or grandparent over the age of 65 living with you, even if they are not your dependent you could be eligible for the caregiver amount, depending on their net income. This can also be claimed for dependent relatives over the age of 17 who are living with you, if they are dependent on you due to mental or physical impairment. Each province and territory also has a caregiver tax credit.
It was an exceptional year for the S&P/TSX, and a good year for the S&P 500. However, the S&P 500 return in Canadian dollars was less than in US dollars because the Canadian dollar increased in value against the US dollar. See the historical returns for 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 years, and how much $1,000 invested at the beginning of the period in various investment types are worth at the end of the period. Over the past 10 years one would be losing money after inflation by investing in Canadian 3-month T-bills or Canadian government 1-3 year bonds.
There is no withdrawal necessary in the year a RRIF is set up, but there are minimum amounts that must be withdrawn annually starting in the year after setup.
The prescribed factor for your 2017 withdrawal from a RRIF will depend on your age at the beginning of 2017. This is your age, or the age of a younger spouse, on December 31st, 2016.
Use our RRSP/RRIF calculator to project your earnings and withdrawals from your RRIF for the next 40 years.
It's important to track the adjusted cost base (ACB) for each of your Canadian mutual funds, so you don't pay too much tax when you sell.
Reinvested distributions are not paid in cash, are taxable, but also increase your adjusted cost base so that your capital gain is less when you sell. These distributions may not be identified on your T3 - how to find the information you need!
The BC home owner grant threshold is being increased from $1.2 million to $1.6 million for 2017 property tax payments. The grant amount is $570 ($845 for seniors) for residents of the CRD, GVRD and FVRD, and $770 ($1,045 for seniors) for residents of other areas. A low income grant supplement can reduce property taxes further for seniors, people with disabilities, and surviving spouses of veterans who received war veterans allowance, if adjusted net income is $32,000 or less.
The RRSP vs Mortgage (or other loan) calculator, which now uses 2017 tax rates, helps you to decide whether to increase your monthly loan payment, or contribute the extra monthly amount to an RRSP. When in doubt, pay down your debt!
See our articles on filing your tax return and how this can be done, as well as articles about different types of taxable income, deductions and tax credits, and many other topics.
The 2016 tax return forms are available on the Canada Revenue Agency website. Software packages for filing 2016 tax returns are also available, although they may have further updates to come. If you are using a professional tax preparer, make sure you provide them with all the necessary information as early as possible.
This calculator, which now includes 2017 tax rates and TFSA/RRSP limits, may be able to help you decide which type of account is better for you.
Before borrowing, you should read our article. Novice investors should not borrow to invest. Borrowing to invest can convert regular income into tax-efficient dividend income and capital gains.
The Borrow to Invest Calculator has been updated to use 2017 income tax rates.
Most 2016 personal income tax returns have a due date of May 1, 2017, because April 30th falls on a Sunday. Self-employed individuals have until June 15th to file their personal tax returns, but any amounts owing must still be paid by May 1st.
All income and expenses must be reported on your tax return in Canadian dollars, converted either at the transaction date exchange rate, or the average exchange rate for the year. The average US exchange rate for 2016 is 1.32480640.
If you want to make an in-kind contribution of shares to your RRSP, TFSA or another registered account, make sure they are not shares on which you have a loss, because the loss will not be deductible. Also be careful if you are going to sell them and then repurchase them in your registered account - read our article!
See also Prior Years:
Revised: March 22, 2017
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