5 Tax Refunds that Parents Can Take Advantage of

Are you missing out on significant tax refunds? According to Turbo Tax, only seven percent of Canadians take advantage of childcare related tax credits. In fact, some people are missing out on up to $8,000 per year in rebates. To put more money back in your pocket and save thousands every year, here are five tax refunds that parents can take advantage of in Canada.

Canada Child Benefit (CCTB)

Have you applied for the child benefit program? This tax-free monthly payment is given to families who need help with the cost of raising a child under the age of 18. The maximum annual benefit in 2018 was $6496 per child under the age of 6, and $5,481 per child aged 6 through 17, with the average family receiving around $6,800 in payments annually. Best of all, families do not have to pay taxes on the payments they receive when filing their tax returns.

National Child Benefit (NCB)

This benefit helps to support low income families and lower the welfare wall by providing child benefits outside of welfare. It’s a supplement to the CCTB and offers extra support for families with children by topping up the monthly payments of the CCTB system.

Child Disability Benefit

If your child is under 18 and has a severe or prolonged physical or mental impairment, you can also apply for the Child Disability Benefit. To be eligible for the disability benefit, you must first qualify for the CCTB, and your child must be eligible for the disability tax credit.

Child-Care Expense Deduction

Parents who hire caregivers or have their kids in nursery schools, childcare services, day camps, overnight camps, or boarding schools, could also apply for this deduction. Taxpayers can claim up to $8,000 per child for children under 7, $5,000 for children aged 7 to 16 years old, $11,000 for disabled, dependent children of any age, and $5,000 for a disabled child over 16 who is not eligible for the disability tax credit. There are, however, limits on the amount you can claim for boarding school and night camps.  


Your child’s tuition for post secondary education in or outside of Canada can be claimed for a return. Residents at least 16 years of age and who are enrolled in an educational institution to obtain skills, or improve their skills in an occupation, are also eligible. Examination fees for licensing or certification may also be eligible for the tuition tax credit.  

If you’re unsure whether you qualify for child related tax benefits, talk to one of our tax advisors to find out how you can maximize your returns. At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we help clients with tax planning to increase their personal wealth. To learn more contact us today!

5 Key Pieces of Effective Tax Optimization

There’s one thing that you can’t avoid no matter how hard you try, and that’s taxes. Tax adherence is a responsibility of every Canadian citizen, no matter how much money you make or what type of work you do. While you can never escape taxes entirely, you can take advantage of methods made to minimize them to reduce the burden on you and your family.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce the amount of tax you pay out to the government throughout your years, review these five components of effective tax optimization and keep them in mind for the future.

Income Optimization

There are a number of income optimization methods that you can utilize to help minimize your taxes. For one, you can engage in income splitting with your spouse to transfer the tax liability from the higher-income earner to the lower one. You can’t legally “split” your income amounts per se, but there are a number of ways to utilize this strategy without penalty such as: creating a spousal loan, contributing to a spousal RRSP, or establishing a family trust.

Tax Efficient Investments

There are a number of registered accounts that you can take advantage of to defer your taxes into the future. If you’ve maxed out on your limits, you need to find other places to shelter your money. An expert financial consultant can help you maximize your tax-efficient investments most effectively by strategically distributing your income and investments across your RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, and a number of other tax-sheltered options like your life insurance policy.

Business Management

One tax efficiency strategy that can help you keep as much of your income as possible is expense management. Learning how to claim expenses correctly can increase your tax efficiency and reduce both your personal and corporate tax bill. Corporate clients can also take advantage of optimizing salaries and dividends, estate freezes, and other advanced methods to minimize taxes.

Tax Deductions

Another effective way to reduce taxes is to take advantage of all the possible deductions and credits on your income tax and benefit return. Deductions, such as retirement and CPP contributions, moving expenses, child care expenses, support payments, student loan interest, and tuition expenses can all be claimed for tax credits. In fact, there are over 90 deductions and tax credits that you can claim in Canada that will put more money back into your pocket each year.

Investment Strategies

Higher net worth Canadians that have a lot of money tied up in investments will often find that the tax on the interest can become substantial if they don’t have a proper strategy in place. A professional advisor can provide you with a number of strategies that can reduce your capital gains and lower your investment taxes to optimize your returns.

A professional and experienced financial advisor can work out the most effective strategy for your personal and corporate tax optimization. Their expertise ensures that your finances will adhere to the newest regulations and follow all legal practices to avoid penalties and unlawful misconduct.

Our experts at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. will enjoy crafting the best tax strategy for your particular needs to ensure that the best approach is taken to enhance your success.

Self-Employed? Here Are 5 Tips to Help Nail Your Taxes

Being your own boss has its perks, but it also comes with additional responsibilities. Taxes, being one of them, can be particularly complicated and confusing when you’re self-employed. It’s wise to talk to a professional who can help you plan, organize, and submit your forms to avoid penalties from the CRA. If you’re in need of some financial advice, check out these tips to help you nail down your taxes when you’re self-employed.

Claiming Expenses

To receive the most significant return from your taxes, you need to learn how to keep track of your money, and what you can and cannot deduct. Even if you have an accountant, it’s absolutely necessary to learn tax basics and to properly keep track of all your invoices, contracts and receipts so that you keep your personal and business accounts separate.

To give you an idea of the types of expenses that you can claim, we’ve listed some that the CRA permits: wages, start-up costs, interest on loans, insurance costs, advertising expenses, business meals and entertainment, office supplies and equipment, professional memberships, phone and internet costs, as well as courier fees to be expensed, just as long as it relates to work.

If you work from home, you can also claim a proportion of your deductions for your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance and utility bills. When it comes to filing, even the smallest expenditures should be submitted as you may be able to get a deduction for some of it.

Check the CRA Guidelines

Under the CRA, you can deduct any reasonable current expense that you pay to earn business income. That means if you’re a freelance reporter who frequently appears on TV, you are eligible to write off your new suit, tie, and haircut, just as long as the expenses fit the guidelines. If you’re not sure what type of costs will be considered for your business sector, it’s important to talk to a business advisor or accountant who can help you figure it out in order to avoid penalties.

Don’t Forget About HST

If your gross revenue exceeds $30,000 a year, you need to pay HST. If you’re not there yet, you don’t have to file your HST return with your taxes. If you’re one of the lucky ones whose gross income is more than $1.5 million per year, you’ll need to talk to an accountant about the best ways to file your taxes.

File on Time

You don’t have to wait till the end of the year to pay taxes; you can file every month if you prefer. It’s a great way to avoid the monstrous tax bill that you can expect at the end of the year. All you need to do is create an online vendor account for the CRA through your online banking and pay according to your tax bracket. If you do decide to pay yearly, make sure you meet the June 15th deadline to submit your taxes. Otherwise, you could receive a late-filing penalty, adding more salt to your wounds.

Hire a Professional

To make sure you nail your taxes this year, it’s worth it to put your trust in a professional financial advisor. An expert knows all the ins and outs of the tax system, the new regulations, how to avoid penalties, and how to get you the best return possible. Making a costly mistake on your own or missing out on some line items could prevent you from getting the return you deserve

When you’re ready to speak to an advisor who can help you get the highest return for your business, contact our team at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. Our team of highly trained wealth advisors can help your business get on the right track today and stay there well into the future.

5 Investment Strategies Which Can Lower Your Taxes

Are you tired of paying through the roof in taxes? Let us show you some simple investment strategies which can lower your taxes and put more of your money back in your pocket.

Defer Your Taxes

One way to lower your taxes is to defer them into future years. The reason to do this is it’s smarter to pay taxes when you’re in a lower tax bracket during your retirement years. Deferring also puts the control of when you pay the tax in your hands and not the CRA’s. One way to take advantage of tax deferrals is by investing in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). With an RRSP, you can contribute up to the allowable yearly amount and grow your money tax-free — you’ll only have to pay the taxes when you pull out the money, thereby paying those taxes at a presumably lower tax rate.

Make a Spousal Loan

Another investment strategy designed to lower your taxes is to make a loan to your spouse (who is in a lower tax bracket) to buy investments. The loan has to be issued at the CRA’s prescribed interest rate, but then it can be used to invest in stocks, real estate, etc. You’ll still have to claim it as income and pay taxes on it, but it will be taxed at a much lower rate. Plus, you can also deduct the interest, so it’s a great way to save on your taxes.

Divide Your Taxes

Income splitting can help you spread your income among more than one taxpayer. Although the government has historically been tough on income splitting, making it illicit for couples to pool their income, there are still strategies available to take advantage of dividing your taxes. For example, you can legally participate in pension splitting, invest in your spouse’s lower-income RRSP(s), or engage in CPP retirement savings splitting without being penalized by the CRA. You can also reduce your taxes by creating a corporation or partnership to earn business income or to pay family members through the business.

Buy Stocks with no Income

If you purchase stocks that do not pay a dividend, you won’t have to report investment income each year. The idea here is to hold the stock as long as possible, because once you sell it, you’ll have to pay capital gains on the stock. Luckily, you can defer these too. For instance, you can defer capital gains tax by owning a small business. Anyone who owns a qualified small business is entitled to an $800,000 capital gains exemption upon the sale of the shares. This amount can be claimed by any family member involved as long as they’ve held shares in the company for at least two years.

Invest Where it won’t be Taxed

When you’ve met your RRSP and TFSA contribution limits for the year, you’ll have to find another place to tax shelter your money. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can park your money to experience income growth without being taxed yearly. One of the easiest ways to avoid taxes is to buy a primary residence. As the value of your home appreciates, the money will grow over time, tax-free.  This is just one of the many ways of investing without being taxed.

To find out about more specific investment strategies which can lower your taxes, talk to one of our expert advisors at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. today. We’ll show you exactly how you can save thousands of dollars each year on your taxes through strategic planning and tax optimization.

Long-Term Care: Settle it Before the Time Comes

As you enter your “golden” years, the reality is that it can often be too late to protect your family from unforeseen events as you continue to age. That’s why you need to start planning now for your financial future. If the idea of long-term care is making you lose sleep, it’s time to settle it before the time comes. Let us show you how.

Estate Planning Protects Your Wishes

No one can accurately forecast what will happen in the future. And most people think that having a will is all they need to protect their wishes – but they’re wrong. If you don’t have an estate plan created and something suddenly happens to you, your intentions may not get carried out as you had planned. Only an estate plan can provide clear direction and an accurate representation of your intentions. So take the time now to define what is most important to you and how you wish for your assets to be handled before you can no longer make the decisions for yourself.

Your Assets are Your Retirement

Your more substantial assets are a crucial factor in your overall wealth. If you plan to sell your assets (whatever they may be) or transfer some down to your children, take the time now to make a detailed succession plan. Having a professional financial planner by your side can ensure that you make all the right choices when it comes to obtaining the wealth that you and your family will need during your long-term care.

Tax Planning For Your Future

It’s especially important that you have an effective tax strategy in place that will help minimize the effects of taxation during your long-term care needs. There are a number of strategies that can optimize your tax position such as maximizing government-sponsored programs, creating tax-efficient cash flow, and legacy planning. Tactics like these can help you reduce your taxes and leave you with more money in your pocket for when you need it most.

Insurance Planning Is Your Safety Net

The requirements of long-term care can have a significant impact on your family’s financial future and health. Without a safety net in play, it may be difficult for them to manage all the financial risks associated with any illness or disability. To ensure everyone is protected, it’s crucial to have an insurance plan in place as part of your wealth management strategy. Setting up life insurance coverage will ensure everything is settled before the time comes.

The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we provide a number of services to ensure that your wealth is always protected. We can help you put a meaningful plan in place that will protect you and your family now and in the future.

6 Common Myths About the Canadian Tax System

No one is exempt from paying taxes in Canada! Surprisingly though, many Canadian citizens aren’t’ fully aware of how the tax system work – they have a general knowledge and know how much they are taxed – but they don’t really understand the details. Many people actually believe common myths that have been kept alive for decades. Here are some of them.

If I’m In The Second Tax Bracket, I Pay 20.5% Of My Income

In Canada, the way taxes are calculated is somewhat complicated. If you make less than $46,605, you are taxed at the low rate of 15%. But those in the second tax bracket will be taxed at 15% up until $46,605 and then at 20.5% for the remaining amount up to $93,208.

This incremental approach also applies to the remaining tax brackets. So, for instance if you make over $202,800 you would pay:

  • 15% for the first $46,605
  • 5% between $46,605 up to $93,208,
  • 26% for income between $93,208 and $143,489
  • 29% for income between $143,489 and $205,842
  • 33% for income over $205,842.

If I Pay Federal Tax, I Don’t Have To Pay Provincial Tax

Every Canadian is expected to claim tax for both. In all provinces and territories, except Quebec, the Provincial and Territorial Tax rates for 2018 are calculated in the same way as the Federal Tax Rate. The only difference is that the exact tax rates used will vary by province. You can find the current rates here.

I Can Transfer Termination Pay To My RRSP For Free

Unfortunately, if you lose your job and are issued termination pay, this amount will also count towards your income. Only if you’ve been employed by your company since before 1996, can you be able to transfer any of the termination pay to your RRSP at a tax-free rate.

My Bonuses and Rewards are Not Taxable

The above are considered employee benefits that are indeed taxable and need to be added to your income. This includes any personal bonuses, trips, prizes, and awards. Luckily, most taxable benefits will be included in your statement of employment, but if you’re not sure what exactly qualifies, make sure to talk to a professional who does.

The Employee Stock Options I Purchased are Tax-Free

This is another common myth. If you purchased company shares at a price less than fair market value, the difference should be included in your income. And if this pushes you into a new tax bracket, you will be required to pay taxes at the new rate as well.

All Investment Incomes are Taxed the Same Way

Having a tax strategy is crucial because not all investment incomes are equal and all are taxed differently. It is recommended to allocate assets which generate revenue and are heavily taxed into tax-sheltered investments. Having a professional on your side to help you create a plan that will reduce your taxable investment income, can help put more money in your pocket and keep your tax bracket at an affordable level.

Understanding precisely what contributes to your income and what you can do to reduce your taxes can improve your wealth portfolio. At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we can help you do just that. By creating an effective tax plan, we can help you to increase your personal wealth and provide you with the support you need to achieve your financial goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

How Does Estate Planning Reduce Probate and Taxes?

Do you know what happens to your estate after you pass away? After death, your executor is responsible for securing all your assets, paying your debts, and applying for probate. Although there isn’t an estate tax in Canada, there are other fees that exist to process and probate your will. And like all other debts, income tax has to be paid by the estate first, before people can inherit the assets. Luckily, estate planning can help to reduce the probate and fees associated with your will. Here’s what you need to know.

When is Probate Required?

Your executor will need to apply for probate if you pass away with any outstanding debts. This is also necessary if there’s property not being passed on to a spouse or common-law partner, or if there are any accounts or investments without a beneficiary. Probate is also recommended to prove the executor is the appropriate person to carry out your last testament and to provide institutions with the proof needed in case your will is contested. To apply, the executor will need to visit the province’s probate court and pay the necessary costs. Each province sets their own fees, which is usually a flat rate or a percentage of your assets. For instance, in Ontario, the probate taxes are calculated as $5 per $1000 of estate assets up to $50,000 and $15 per $1000 of estate assets over $50,000.

What Taxes Should Be Paid?

All income that is earned from the beginning of the year to the date of death is to be reported on the final tax return. This will also include any capital gains tax on your assets and taxes on your RRSP or RRIF. When you pass away, the government assumes you have sold everything and regards all of your assets as disposed of for tax purposes.

How Can Estate Planning Reduce Fees?

Implementing estate planning strategies can help to reduce the tax hit that will be left to your estate. For one, if you leave your assets to your spouse or create a joint ownership, you don’t have to pay capital gains taxes or tax on your assets. Moving assets outside of your estate by setting up a trust to hold legal title or a private company to own your assets will also ensure they will not go through probate. However, it’s important to note that each province has different rules and fees, so it’s always best to talk to a professional who can guide you through the process and ensure your state planning goes as intended.

At The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd., we provide strategic wealth planning that is tailored to your individual needs. We can set up an estate plan that will reduce your probate and taxes and provide your family with the assets you had intended to leave behind. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Understanding the Tax Implications of Family Gifts and Loans

It’s not uncommon for parents to financially support their children well into their twenties and sometimes even in their thirties and forties. With the Canadian housing market being increasingly difficult to enter for first time buyers, parents are becoming more involved with helping their children afford a down payment and more. Some even assist their kids with investment money to start businesses and to help with investment instruments. And while all this may seem harmless, difficulties can arise if parents don’t understand the tax implications of family gifts and loans. Let’s take a look at what we mean.


Create Clear Intentions

If you loan your child money or present it as a gift, make sure you get the correct documentation. With a loan, you will need a promissory note, loan document, or registered mortgage on the title of their home. With a gift, you should always collect a deed of gift, or make it in writing. By not having clear documentation about your intentions, your wishes won’t be clear, and you could end up with tax implications, regardless of your intentions.


Giving Cash Gifts

There is no tax in Canada for cash gifts that you give your child. However, if the cash is intended to help them pay for a home or for any other capital like stocks or shares, there will be tax implications for you. This is to prevent people from trying to pass on assets to their children to take advantage of the child’s tax rate as opposed to paying at the higher tax bracket.


Buying Your Child A Home

If you decide to give your child money for a down payment, pay their monthly mortgage bills, or buy a home outright for them, you will have certain tax implications. For one, if you buy a home for your child the law sees it as if you sold it to them at fair market value. You will be expected to pay the capital gains, not your child.


Loaning Money

When you loan money to your child and charge them an interest rate, you will still need to declare any interest you earn on your tax return. If your child is using that money to purchase a home, and they are taking out a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Insurance, they will need to pay a surcharge since the down payment money was borrowed. So be selective on how much interest you plan to charge them.

Family loans and gifts can be very complex to navigate, so talk to us at The Beacon Group at Assante Financial Management Ltd. We can help you get over your financial hurdles and understand all the tax implications in relation to gifts and loans.

Maximizing Tax Deductions as a Parent

As a parent in modern society, it can be difficult to make ends meet given how low the Canadian dollar is and the multitude of expenses related to raising a child. However, there are several ways to minimize tax deductions and make life easier for yourself, your spouse, and your children. Here’s how to do it.

Apply for Benefits

When tax time rolls around, fill out the RC66 Canada Child Benefits Application. This used to enable parents to apply for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which was worth a maximum of $6,400 annually per child 6 years old or under, and $5,400 per year for each child between 6 and 17 (note that these amounts reduced when family net income exceeds $30,000). However, the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS), and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) replaced the CCB in 2016. This means that CCB does not to be applied nor is taxable, but adjustments can be requested. You may also apply for the Child Disability Benefit (CDB) if applicable. Parents have the option of registering online as well, or even upon registering a birth. The biological mother is considered the primary caregiver, so all social benefits are directed to her, but the lower-income parent must report the income on their return regardless. Same-sex parents are permitted to designate a primary caregiver in their application to ensure that they are eligible for benefits, also.

Claim Expenses

Fees and expenses paid for by parents for child care while at work, school, or during research need to be claimed to help create comprehensive and accurate tax-deductible figures so long as the child is under 16 years old sometime during the year (this rule doesn’t apply to children with disabilities, however). The more that you include, the likelier it will be that these deductions will decrease in size. Then, attach Form T778 Child Care Expenses Deduction to your return, bearing in mind that the lower-income partner is required to claim expenses unless if enrolled in studies, suffering a long-term illness, imprisoned, or separated.

Claim Credits

While adding expenses to your forms, be sure to include those that could be credited upon your return. Children’s Fitness, Disability, and Family Caregiver amounts are examples of creditable expenditures. For sports (refundable) and arts (non-refundable) program fees, up to $500 and $250 per child under 16 (18 if disabled) can be claimed, respectively. To transfer a child’s Disability Amount to your return, use line 316 of the federal worksheet to ensure accurate calculation, followed by line 318 to calculate how much can be transferred to you, followed by entering the total on line 318 of Schedule 1. To claim the Family Caregiver Amount if your child has a long-term illness or is infirm but not necessarily disabled, include a signed doctor’s statement that details when the illness or impairment began, its expected duration, and that it makes the child depend more on personal assistance than children of their age group. Enter the number of children you are claiming for in box 352 and multiply by $2,121, then claim the calculated result on line 367.

With these adjustments applied to yours and your spouse’s return (if applicable), you can expect a decrease in tax payments and a higher payout than usual from the CRA. If you require detailed information or guidance or would like to discuss further tax planning strategies, The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. is ready to lend a helping hand.

Salary vs. Dividends – Which is Right for You?

Many business owners are unsure of whether to opt for salary-based earnings or payments in dividends. There are various advantages and disadvantages between the two, and it is important to research whether or not one of these options is suitable for your business. By comparing salaries and dividends, we can clarify the differences between the two.

CPP and RRSP Payments

Being paid a corporate salary means that you will be able to contribute towards an RRSP. This is a result of you having a personal income, and it means that you’ll also be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to secure a financially bolstered retirement. However, take into consideration the fact that as salary is 100% taxable as opposed to dividends (the latter taxed at a lower rate), you’ll need to pay both portions of the CPP as an employer and employee.

With dividends, you won’t be required to make regular CPP payments, which can help to save money, though it may be best to invest anyway as it can increase what you are entitled to upon retirement. Also, the logging of payments is a relatively simplified process compared to that of salary-based earnings that entail setting up payroll accounts with the Canada Revenue Agency and filling out extra paperwork. That being said, by receiving dividends you forfeit the ability to make RRSP contributions as a result of not having any income.

Tax Deductions and Increases

When it comes to taxes, salaries are seen as a burden due to the fact that they are 100% taxable. This means that your personal income is subject to higher rates and a smaller return. Additionally, you may not be able to carry back a business loss in future years when paid via a salary, which is quite the reverse if you were earning in dividends. That being said, owning a corporation that pays in salaries and bonuses enables for greater company tax deductions.

Dividends are taxed at a much lower rate than that of salaries, resulting in lower personal tax rates. This can enable for easier budget management, greater savings, and opportunities for investment in order to bolster income flow. However, it can also remove some personal income tax deductions, such as those for child care expenses.

Limitations for Small Businesses

It is important to bear in mind that the Small Business Limit is $500,000, which relates to income tax deductions available to private controlled Canadian corporations (CCPCs). On many occasions, salaries and bonuses are paid to ensure a corporation’s earnings don’t exceed this amount, with dividends being utilized if further income is required. This is due to the fact that after a business exceeds this figure, it pays much more in taxes.

Depending on cash flow needs, your income level, predicted company income for the year, and RRSP and tax deduction importance, salaries and dividends both offer a wide range of pros and cons. It is highly recommended that you consult with a financial advisor from The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. who can help you determine which option is more suitable for your situation and discuss other tax planning strategies to put more money back in your pocket.