Personal Tax

The T2200 form is a document for those who work from home and wish to claim home office expenses on their taxes. This form, also known as the “Declaration of Conditions of Employment”, allows employees to detail their work-from-home situation and claim expenses such as utilities, internet, office supplies, and home office furniture.

Breaking down Tax Form T2200

With the rise of remote work and the increasing number of employees working from home, the T2200 form has become more relevant than ever. It is important for individuals to accurately fill out this form to ensure that they are claiming the appropriate expenses and complying with government regulations.

Richardson Miller LLC is here to share the specifics of the T2200 form for the 2023 tax season, what expenses can be claimed, and how to properly fill it out to maximize your tax return Understanding this form is vital for anyone who works from home and wants to make the most of their tax deductions.

What is the T2200 tax form used for?

Employees use the T2200 tax form to claim deductions for expenses that their employer did not reimburse. This form is required for individuals who incur expenses related to conditions of employment for working, such as vehicle expenses, supplies, and home office expenses.

By completing the T2200 form for the 2023 tax year, employees can deduct these expenses from their taxable income, ultimately reducing the amount of income tax they owe to the government.

One important thing to note is that not all employees are eligible to claim deductions using the T2200 form. Only employees who are required to work from home or use their own vehicle for work-related purposes can claim these deductions. Employees must keep detailed records of their expenses in order to accurately complete the T2200 form and support their deductions if requested by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Employers are also required to complete certain sections of the T2200 form, confirming that the expenses claimed by the employee are valid and were not reimbursed. This form helps to ensure that employees are claiming legitimate expenses and prevents any potential abuse of the tax system.

Content of Form T2200

In order to complete T2200s accurately, there are several pieces of information are needed to complete it:

  1. The form requires the name and address of the employee for whom the form is being completed. This information helps to identify the individual to whom the form pertains.
  2. The employer’s business number must be provided on the form. This number is used to link the form to the specific employer.
  3. Details about the employment arrangement are also included, such as whether the employee was required to work from home or incur expenses related to their job, Which are necessary for the completion of the form.
  4. A breakdown of the expenses incurred by the employee, including details about the nature of the expenses and the amounts that were paid out of pocket are required.

Here’s an example of how expenses can be claimed:

Andrew works for a company that sells video equipment and meets the employment conditions. During 2023, he recorded the following information:

Income

Salary received: $45,000
Commissions received: $5,000
Total employment income: $50,000

Expenses

Advertising and promotion: $1,000
Travelling expenses: $6,000
Capital cost allowance: $1,500
Interest on car loan: $5000
Total expenses: $9,000

Andrew’s total expenses of $9,000 are more than his commissions of $5,000. Therefore, his claim for expenses is limited to $5,000 plus the CCA of $1,500 and interest of $500, for a total claim of $7,000. However, he could choose to claim expenses as a salaried employee, in which case he could claim the travelling expenses of $6,000, but not the advertising and promotion expenses. Using this method, Andrew also claims the CCA of $1,500 and interest of $500, for a total claim of $8,000.

source: canada.ca

‍What Can I Deduct with the T2200 Form?

With the T2200s, individuals can deduct expenses such as office supplies, cell phone bills, internet expenses, and home office expenses. To be eligible for these deductions, employees must have incurred these expenses as a requirement of their employment for working at home and have a completed and signed T2200 document from their employer.

  • Office supplies such as pens, paper, and folders can be deducted if they are purchased for work purposes.
  • Cell phone bills can be partially deductible if the phone is used for work-related calls.
  • Internet expenses can also be deducted if the internet is used for work purposes.
  • Home expenses such as utilities, rent, and home office furniture can be deducted if a portion of the home is used exclusively for work.

What’s the difference between T2200 and T777?

When it comes to tax forms in Canada, it’s important to understand the differences between T2200 and T777. The T2200 form is a Declaration of Conditions of Employment, which is completed by employees who need to claim employment expenses.

On the other hand, the T777 form is used by individuals who need to claim deductions for work space-in-the-home expenses. Both forms play are important in determining the amount of tax deductions an individual is eligible for, but they serve different purposes and require different information to be filled out accurately.

The T2200 form, usually given by employers, verifies that an employee must work from home or cover other job-related costs. The T777 form is completed by the employee to outline the expenses incurred while working from home.

Individuals must distinguish between these forms to claim deductions accurately and prevent any complications with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Resources for employers in completing Form T2200

To help employers with this process, there are several resources available. These resources may include online guides provided by the government, tax preparation software that can assist with filling out the form, or even consulting with a tax professional for guidance. Employers need to familiarize themselves with the requirements of Form T2200 and gather all the necessary information before completing the form.

Employers should ensure that all the information provided on the form is accurate and up to date. Any mistakes or incorrect information could result in delays in processing the employee’s claim or even potential audits by the Canada Revenue Agency. By utilizing available resources and taking the time to properly complete Form T2200, employers can help their employees take advantage of available deductions and avoid any issues with their tax filings.

The Canadian First Home Savings Account will soon be available to Canadians looking to buy a home and we have a breakdown of what it is for you. Don’t worry, it’s not another useless bank account. If you’re a first-time homebuyer in Canada, you may want to consider opening a First Home Savings Account (FHSA). This registered account allows you to save for a down payment on your first home on a tax-free basis and can be used together with your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). In this article, we’ll help you understand the key things you need to know about an FHSA.

These accounts can be used together, experts say.

Money in a TFSA can be put towards any savings goal, as mentioned, while the RRSP and FHSA can specifically be used in tandem to fund a home purchase. source: Global News

What is the Canadian First Home Savings Account (FHSA)?

How does an FHSA work?

An FHSA is a new registered plan that lets you save for your first home on a tax-free basis. You can contribute up to $5,000 per year and any investment income earned in the account will not be taxed. Once you’re ready to purchase a qualifying home, you can withdraw the funds and use them towards your down payment.

FHSA vs other registered plans

An FHSA is similar to a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) in that any investment income earned within the plan is tax-free. However, the main difference is that an FHSA is specifically designed to help Canadians save for their first home.

How do you open an FHSA?

To open an FHSA, you must be a Canadian citizen or resident and have reached the age of majority in your province. You must also be a first-time homebuyer, meaning you have not owned a home in Canada in the four years preceding the opening of the account. You can open an account at a financial institution that offers FHSA products, such as a bank or credit union.

How do you save for your first home with an FHSA?

What is a qualifying home?

A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada that you intend to occupy as your principal place of residence no later than one year after the home is acquired. It can be an existing home or a home that you plan to build.

Can you use your RRSP for a first-time home purchase as well?

Yes, you can use your RRSP to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), which allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free from your RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home. However, keep in mind that you will have to pay back the withdrawn amount to your RRSP over a period of up to 15 years.

Can multiple people contribute to one FHSA?

No, an FHSA is an individual account, so only one person can contribute to it. However, you and your spouse or common-law partner can each open an FHSA and combine your savings towards the purchase of a qualifying home.

What are the tax benefits of an FHSA?

What is a tax-free first home savings account?

An FHSA is a tax-free savings account that lets you save for your first home on a tax-free basis. Any investment income earned in the account is not taxable, and withdrawals made from the account for the purpose of a qualifying home purchase are also not taxable.

What is the contribution limit for an FHSA?

The annual contribution limit for an FHSA is $5,000, and any unused contribution room can be carried forward to future years. However, keep in mind that the contribution limit is per individual, not per account. So, if you and your spouse or common-law partner both have an FHSA, your total combined contributions cannot exceed $5,000 per year.

Can you carry forward the unused contribution room?

Yes, any unused contribution room can be carried forward for use in future years. However, keep in mind that the contribution room can only be carried forward for a maximum of 10 years, after which it will expire.

Who is eligible to open an FHSA?

Are there age restrictions for opening an FHSA?

Yes, you must have reached the age of majority in your province to open an FHSA. The age of majority is 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory in which you reside.

Are there any restrictions on the type of home you can buy or build?

The home must be a qualifying home as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This means that it must be a housing unit located in Canada that you intend to occupy as your principal place of residence no later than one year after the home is acquired.

Is an FHSA right for you?

What are the advantages of opening an FHSA?

The main advantage of opening an FHSA is the ability to save for your first home on a tax-free basis. This can be an attractive option for young Canadians who are just starting to save for a down payment on their first home.

What are the disadvantages of opening an FHSA?

The main disadvantage of opening an FHSA is the relatively low annual contribution limit of $5,000. This may not be enough for some Canadians to save for a down payment, especially in expensive housing markets. Additionally, if you do not end up using the funds in your FHSA for the purpose of a qualifying home purchase, you will not be able to access the funds without paying tax on the investment income earned in the account.

How do you decide if an FHSA is right for you?

Whether or not an FHSA is right for you will depend on your individual financial situation and goals. If you are a first-time homebuyer and have a relatively short-term goal of saving for a down payment, an FHSA may be a good option for you. However, if you are planning to save for a longer period of time, or if you require a higher annual contribution limit, you may want to consider other investment options such as a TFSA or RRSP.

Does this all sound overwhelming, don’t worry – Richardson Miller LLP is in your corner. Give us a call and we can help you get set up.

We’re happy to answer your questions, clear up any confusion and get you on the right path. Having clean, up-to-date books will make tax time so much easier for you!

Richardson Miller LLP is here to keep you on track and ensure that your taxes and accounting needs are met. Contact us today!

Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Hire a CPA in Edmonton

Running a business involves various decisions and responsibilities, including finances and taxes. As a business owner, it can be challenging to keep up with the complicated rules and regulations surrounding financial and tax processes. To manage these important aspects of your business, you may want to consider hiring a professional, such as a chartered professional accountant (CPA). Let us explore why your business needs to hire a CPA.

Why should you hire a CPA?

Reason 1: CPA’s are accounting experts

CPA’s are highly trained professionals who have expert knowledge in accounting and tax. They undergo rigorous training and have practical experience, which makes them the perfect advisor for any business. By hiring a CPA, you can rest assured that you are hiring an expert in this field.

Reason 2: CPA’s can help you save money on taxes

A certified public accountant can assist you in identifying tax deductions and credits that you may have overlooked. They can also help you develop a tax strategy that is aligned with your business goals. With their help, you can maximize your tax savings and keep more of your hard-earned money.

Reason 3: CPA’s can assist with tax planning

A CPA can help you with tax planning to ensure that your company’s tax situation is optimized, minimizing your tax liability, and ensuring that all tax obligations are being met. They also provide guidance on important financial decisions that may have tax implications, such as investments and acquisitions.

Did you know that our Founders, Angela Richardson, CPA, CGA and Bobi-Rae Miller, CPA, CGA have over 20 years of experience working in public practice with small to medium-sized businesses?

What services can be provided when you hire a CPA?

Service 1: Preparation and filing of tax returns

A CPA can help you prepare and file your tax returns, ensuring thorough compliance with the tax laws of your jurisdiction. They also help you coordinate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on your behalf, minimizing potential disputes over your tax documents.

Service 2: Bookkeeping and financial statement analysis

Before a standard numbering system was developed, ancient accountants used clay tokens to keep track of animals and grain to do their analysis. Now, CPAs provide bookkeeping services and financial statement analysis, which is essential to how you operate your business, make decisions and track performance. These services include the preparation of financial statements, general ledger entry, and complex business transactions.

Service 3: Audits and reviews

CPAs can also conduct audits and reviews. Audits involve a comprehensive analysis of your financial data, ensuring that your business is working according to the laws and regulations that govern you. Reviews are less extensive, but they provide a high level of assurance for potential business partners and lenders.

How do you choose the right CPA for your business?

Tip 1: Look for a CPA with experience in your industry

It is best to hire a CPA with experience in your industry, as this will make them more familiar with the unique factors affecting your business. They can also provide more relevant insights and guidance that can help you achieve your business goals.

Tip 2: Consider the cost of hiring a CPA

The cost of hiring a CPA is an essential factor to consider. You should weigh the cost of hiring a CPA against the business benefits they provide. Some CPAs charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate. Ensure you choose a CPA whose rates you can afford.

Tip 3: Meet with potential CPA’s to discuss your business needs

You need to meet with potential CPAs before choosing to work with them. These interviews are an opportunity to ask questions and get to know the CPA, ensuring they have the right experience and understanding of your business. It’s crucial to feel comfortable working with your CPA, so don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and credentials.

What are the benefits of hiring a CPA for small business owners?

Benefit 1: CPA’s can help you stay compliant with tax laws

A significant advantage when you hire a CPA is that they keep you up to date with tax laws. They ensure that your business tax returns are prepared and filed accurately and on time, avoiding legal and financial penalties that arise due to non-compliance.

Benefit 2: CPA’s can provide valuable financial advice

A CPA can also provide valuable advice on financial decisions that will advance your business goals. They can help you manage your financial data, perform cost analysis, and develop financial strategies that will benefit your company in the long run.

Benefit 3: CPA’s can save you time and hassle during tax season

Finally, when you hire a CPA it can ease the stress and burden of tax season with their expertise. They perform time-consuming tasks such as gathering and organising tax documents, preparing and filing your tax returns, and responding to any issues that arise during the process, freeing up time that you can use to focus on running your business.

These are some of the reasons it is important to have a professional accountant on your team. It is important to be proactive as a business owner so you do not find yourself in hot water with CRA. At Richardson Miller LLP, we have decades of experience working with business owners and corresponding with CRA.

If you have questions about what your next steps are, contact us today!

It happens every year; Tax Season!

People always hope that they get a tax return as opposed to a tax bill. But what happens when you get a tax bill? How do you pay it? There are a number of ways to pay when it comes time to pay your personal or business taxes. Whether you decide to pay in person or utilize the CRA My Payment online option (which allows individuals and businesses to pay taxes via the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website), the choice is yours. Below we’ve done a brief walkthrough of the different payment methods when it comes time to pay your CRA tax bill.

This a quick reminder of some of the important due dates including:

  • filing and payment due dates
  • and dates for receiving credits and benefit payments from the CRA.

Filing dates for 2022 taxes

Mar 1, 2023: Deadline to contribute to an RRSP, a PRPP, or an SPP
Apr 30, 2023 (May 1, 2022 since April 30 is a Sunday): Deadline to file your taxes
Jun 15, 2023: Deadline to file your taxes if you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed

Payment date for 2022 taxes

Apr 30, 2023 (May 1, 2022 since April 30 is a Sunday): Deadline to pay your taxes

How to pay taxes to the CRA

Pay In-Person

Did you know that you can pay your taxes in person at any Canada Post outlet? It’s true, head to your local Canada Post outlet and you can pay your taxes with cash or debit card. You can also go to your local bank branch and pay taxes to the CRA there.

How to pay taxes owing to CRA online via debit card?

In order to pay taxes to the CRA online, you can access it via CRA sign-in services or with CRA My Payment. This is to pay with a debit card only aka Interac Debit, Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard, you cannot pay using credit cards with My Payment. To make a payment:

  1. Go to CRA my payment and click pay now
  2. Select payment type
  3. Select payment allocation
  4. Enter your account number, period date, and amount]
  5. Keep your transaction receipt with a payment confirmation number

Please note that payment usually takes 1 to 3 business days to be processed by the CRA. To avoid further fees and interest charges, make sure to pay on time.

Taxes that can be paid online – Individuals

  • Individual Income tax
  • Balance Owing/ Arrear payments, Installment and Payments on Filing
  • Child and Family Benefits Payment

How to pay taxes owing to CRA via online banking?

You can set up an online payment to electronically transfer the funds to the CRA. This can be done via your Canadian financial institution’s website or online banking app. In order to set up this type of payment:

  1. Sign in to your online banking
  2. If you are an individual, under “Add a payee” look for a relevant payee depending on the type of your payment.
    • CRA (revenue) – current-year tax return
      • Use this option to make a payment for your current tax return. You can use this option only once per return.
    • CRA (revenue) – tax amount owing
      • Use this option to pay any amount owing.
    • CRA (revenue) – tax instalment
      • Use this option to make payments toward the future tax year.
    • CRA (revenue) – Canada emergency benefit repayment
      • Use this option to repay a Canada emergency response benefit, Canada emergency student benefit, Canada recovery benefit, Canada recovery sickness benefit, or a Canada recovery caregiving benefit.
  3. If you are a business, under “Add a payee” look for a relevant payee depending on the type of your payment.
    • Federal – Corporation Tax Payments – TXINS
    • Federal – GST/HST Payment – GST-P (GST-P)
    • Federal Payroll Deductions – Regular/Quarterly – EMPTX – (PD7A)
    • Federal Payroll Deductions – Threshold 1 – EMPTX – (PD7A)
    • Federal Payroll Deductions – Threshold 2 – EMPTX – (PD7A)
    • Federal – Canada emergency wage subsidy repayment
  4. Enter your social insurance number (SIN) or business number as your CRA account number.

Payments are typically received by the CRA within 5 business days. In order to avoid fees and interest, Richardson Miller LLP recommends setting up a payment in advance.

How to pay taxes owing to CRA in instalment payments?

You can pay tax in instalments to the CRA but did you know that sometimes, the CRA will request that you pay the current tax year’s taxes in instalments during the current year? What this means is the CRA may ask you to pay in instalments towards your expected 2021 taxes owning in 4 quarterly payments throughout 2021.

Here are some examples of situations where this will be requested:

Personal Income Tax: If you had a balance owing of over $3,000 in any year, you may be required to pay in quarterly instalments towards the following year’s tax bill. Usually, the dates are March 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15.

Corporate Income Tax: Usually, if your last corporate income tax owing is higher than $3,000, you may need to pay in instalments (monthly or quarterly) towards your next year’s tax bill. There are a few options to calculate your monthly and quarterly instalment payments:

Monthly Payments

  1. One-twelfth (1/12) of the estimated tax payable for the current tax year is due each month of the tax year.
  2. One-twelfth (1/12) of the tax payable from the previous tax year is due each month of the current tax year.
  3. One-twelfth (1/12) of the tax payable from the year before the previous tax year is due in each of the first two months of the current tax year. One-tenth (1/10) of the difference between the tax for the previous tax year and the total of the first 2 payments is due in each of the remaining 10 months of the current tax year.

source: canada.ca

Quarterly Payments

  1. One-quarter (1/4) of the estimated tax payable for the current tax year is due each quarter of the tax year.
  2. One-quarter (1/4) of the tax payable from the previous tax year is due each quarter of the current tax year.
  3. One-quarter (1/4) of the tax payable from the year before the previous tax year is due in the first quarter of the current tax year. One-third (1/3) of the difference between the tax for the previous tax year and the first payment is due in each of the remaining three quarters of the current tax year.

source: canada.ca

If you are currently trying to make a payment arrangement with the CRA, the accountants at Richardson Miller LLP are happy to help you navigate through this tax situation. Reach out to the team today!

GST/HST Payments: In Canada, you are able to pay GST / HST owing either annually or quarterly. If your tax owing is more than $3,000 in a year, you could be told to pay quarterly payments in the following year just like personal or corporate tax income. The quarterly payments are equal to one-quarter (1/4) of your tax from the previous year.

Learn more about GST / HST and your business.

Late/ Unpaid Instalments: It can happen to any of us. Sometimes a payment is late or forgotten about. When this happens you may have to pay interest and possible penalty charges that will be applied if you do not pay your required tax instalments or paid insufficient amounts. More information about this can be found here.

We’re happy to answer your questions, clear up any confusion and get you on the right path with your personal or business taxes. Having clean, up-to-date books will make tax time so much easier for you!

Are you looking for a qualified, experienced Chartered Professional Accountant? Give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Last updated on March 15, 2023

The given name of Tax Free Savings Account is a bit of a misleading title. It is a registered tax-advantaged savings account and every year your TFSA contribution opportunity rises. Unlike, a regular investment account where you have to pay tax on the interest/dividends/capital gains you earn, a registered Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), is where any income you earn is non-taxable. Think of it as an investment holding account to store things like exchange-traded funds (ETFs), guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), bonds, stocks and, yes, plain-old cash.

While you do have to follow by the set amount of contribution room each year, any gains you earn on those investments will not affect your contribution room for the current year or years to come. Any resident of Canada, over the age of 18, with a valid social insurance number can open a TFSA.

How much can I contribute to my TFSA?

The TFSA contribution limit for 2022 is $6,000, if you turned 18 before the year 2009, your maximum lifetime TFSA contribution limit will be $81,500. If you take money out of your TFSA, you get that room back on January 1 of the following year. Just don’t go over your limit.

Year Annual TFSA Contribution Limit
2009 $5,000
2010 $5,000
2011 $5,000
2012 $5,000
2013 $5,500
2014 $5,500
2015 $10,000
2016 $5,500
2017 $5,500
2018 $5,500
2019 $6,000
2020 $6,000
2021 $6,000
2022 $6,000
2023 $6,500
Total Contribution Room for 2009-2022:  $88,000

How to check your TFSA contribution room

Here are two ways that you can calculate your annual TFSA dollar limit.

  1. If you turned 18 in a year after 2009, check out the maximum annual contribution limits either above in our chart or on the CRA’s site.
    1.1. Then add together the maximum contributions from the year you turned 18 up to the present.
    1.2. If you made a withdrawal from your TFSA in the previous year, add that amount as well.
    1.3. Subtract the total of all prior years’ contributions from that number.
    1.4. And voila! This total is your current maximum contribution.
  2. Canada Revenue Agency (‘CRA’) tracks your contribution room. You can log on to the CRA’s site or via their app.
    2.1. Go to the CRA My Account login
    2.2. Login with your preferred method. Note: If you’ve set up your bank as a sign-in partner, this is the simplest way to access your CRA account.
    2.3. Under the tabbed header, navigate to “RRSP and TFSA”
    2.4. Click “Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)”
    2.5. Click “Contribution Room”
    2.6. Click “Next” at the disclaimer
    2.7. Look for ‘2021 TFSA contribution room on January 1, 2021’ or ‘2022 TFSA contribution room on January 1, 2022’ This value is your most accurate contribution room since the date. Any contributions or withdrawals for the current year will not be included in this amount.
  3. You can also get your maximum contribution by phoning CRA’s Tax Information Phone Service: 1-800-267-6999. Remember to be patient if you are on hold for a while! Also, keep in mind that this amount may not reflect any contributions you’ve made from January 1 onward.
Unused TFSA contribution room to date + total withdrawal made this year + next year’s TFSA’s contribution limit =TFSA contribution room at the beginning of next year.

Are you one of the individuals who has multiple TFSAs?

Remember that your combined contributions to all of them cannot exceed your available contribution room for the current year.

If you have deposited or withdrawn money from your TFSA, it can take time for the transactions to be reported. If you check in mid to late February, this will allow time for your financial institution to report all your transactions (deposits and withdrawals) from the previous year. Ideally, keep track of those transactions yourself to ensure you don’t over-contribute.

What happens if I can’t max out my contributions?

If you can’t contribute the maximum allowable in a given year, you can catch up in the future. Unused contribution amounts can be carried forward indefinitely and used in subsequent years.
In 2022, you have $6,000 to contribute to your TFSA in addition to any unused contribution room from previous years.

Withdrawals can be re-contributed

Tax Free Savings Accounts are very flexible. If you need money, you can withdraw funds any time and the amounts withdrawn in a given year are added back to your contribution room for the next year.

For example, you can make a withdrawal in December of 2022, then re-contribute that same amount in January 2023.

Over-contribution penalty

Did you know that there is a penalty if you accidentally contribute more than your allowable limit? In that case, a tax equal to 1% of the highest excess TFSA amount in the month will be applied for each month that you are in an excess contribution position.

For example, if you contribute $2000, you pay $20 (1%) per month until you remove the over-contribution amount.

Before you get your pitchfork out against CRA employees, you will receive a letter in the first instance of an over-contribution. This will allow you to withdraw the excess amount prior to receiving a penalty.

If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – Richardson Miller LLP is in your corner. Give us a call and we can help you get set up.

We’re happy to answer your questions, clear up any confusion and get you on the right path. Having clean, up-to-date books will make tax time so much easier for you!

Richardson Miller LLP is here to keep you on track and ensure that your taxes and accounting needs are met. Contact us today!

Last updated January 15, 2023

What is that saying? The only two things certain in life are death and taxes. I cannot say for sure if these are the only two things certain in life but they definitely are certainties.

How to navigate death and taxes

When a taxpayer dies, there is work to be on the personal tax side of things and depending on the situation, there could be a lot of work to be done. It can be quite daunting for the Executor of the estate to deal with these final taxes as often this is not their area of expertise. So where to start?

Communicate with the government and other authorities

In my experience, most funeral homes are very helpful with this step of the process. But, just in case, it is important for the Executor to communicate with the government as soon as possible. You will need to let Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) know that the taxpayer has passed away. CRA has some handy information on their website about What to do following a death.

You may also have to communicate the death with other government departments if the taxpayer was receiving benefits such as: CPP, OAS, GIS, AISH, etc. Now is also the time to communicate with the bank, investment advisors, life insurance companies and pension providers.

And don’t forget to apply for the CPP Death Benefit now.

Retain professional assistance

There are two professionals that can be imperative when dealing with wills and estates: a lawyer and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). These professionals can provide great assistance to you through the process.

Since I am a CPA, not a lawyer, I will only focus on the tax side of things and will leave the legal side to the lawyers. A CPA well versed in dealing with estate files can guide you through the process and alleviate some of the stress and confusion for you.

It is ideal to talk to a CPA in advance of the infamous April 30th personal income tax deadline. (The filing deadline for a deceased taxpayer may not even be April 30th as it depends on when in the year they pass away.) Getting authorization with CRA on a deceased taxpayer’s account takes a bit of time so this is something that you would want to have done in advance. Also, now is a good time for a CPA to get to know the file and can start to guide you on what sort of paperwork they will need.

Be patient

Some final personal income tax returns can be very simple while others can be very complex so patience may often be required. The Executor may have to do a lot of digging to find past income tax returns and to determine where all the assets are even held.

So… what is simple and what is complex?

Simple

The level of complexity will depend on what they owned, their marital status and what is detailed in their will. When a taxpayer dies, they are deemed to have disposed of all capital property they owned on the date of death and some of these dispositions may have tax implications. If the deceased has a surviving spouse that is the sole beneficiary of their estate, then that personal income tax return will be less complex. The Income Tax Act has a spousal roll-over provision which allows for all the deceased taxpayer’s assets to roll-over tax free to their spouse on their death. In cases like these, there is often only a need to file that final personal income tax return.

Not so simple

When a taxpayer has no surviving spouse, this can get more complex and can take a lot longer to settle the estate. There is still the need for that final personal income tax return that may report some taxable income on certain deemed dispositions. Some of the more common items are: RRSPs, pension payouts, real estate holdings and non-registered investments, to list just a few.

Often these assets can take some time after death to be sold or converted into cash. When this happens, there is now an Estate created. An Estate essentially is the mechanism for holding those assets from the time of death until the time they can be paid out to the beneficiaries. Once this happens, there is now an annual filing obligation of a T3 Trust Return with CRA. The year-end for these returns will be the anniversary of the date of death.

Once you have received all Notices of Assessments from CRA for all the returns filed then you can apply for a Clearance Certificate. This Certificate is CRA’s stamp of approval that there are no outstanding tax issues for the taxpayer. This one little piece of paper is very important for an Executor to have before they fully distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries.

If you do not get a clearance certificate and distribute the assets of the estate, you may be personally liable for any tax owed by the deceased, to the extent of the value of the assets distributed. An Executor may not even be a beneficiary of an estate and could still have potential liability for the deceased taxpayer’s taxes if they do not get this Clearance Certificate.

Even more complex

Sometimes terminal income tax returns can have even more levels of complexity. Here are a few other items that add extra layers to these final tax returns:

  • Taxpayer is behind on filing personal tax returns
  • Taxpayer owned farmland or fishing property
  • Taxpayer owned shares of a small business
  • Potential for optional returns
  • Capital losses incurred
  • Estate donations – those donations made by will or designated donations
  • Foreign property owned

As you can see, there can be a lot more involved in the preparation of these final income taxes. At Richardson Miller LLP, we have seen a very wide array of estate files and we would be happy to help you through this process.

Medical benefits can be a great way to provide additional non-taxable compensation to your employees. There are many different plans available to even small and medium businesses. Whether you’ve got a health spending account or a medical insurance plan (or a combination of the two), there is a process to ensure that these medical expenses are deductible for the corporation and non-taxable for your employees.

Here are some of the typical medical benefit mistakes made by Canadian entrepreneurs that I’ve seen:

  1. Paying the medical expense directly from the company bank account.
    • Paying your dentist or chiropractor from your company bank account may seem like an efficient way to create a medical benefit plan. Unfortunately, Canada Revenue Agency would consider these expenses personal in nature and not deductible on your corporate tax return. Your medical expenses need to run through some sort of third-party insurance provider so that you can get that write off.
  2. Paying yourself only a dividend.
    • For many owner-managers, the rising CPP rates have made a dividend only compensation strategy very tempting. But guess what! If you’re not paying yourself some sort of wage, you’re not technically an employee of your company. It’s pretty difficult to access these non-taxable employee benefits when you are NOT an employee. The message here: make sure you’ve got at least SOMETHING to report on a T4 as a wage or your medical benefits will not qualify as a corporate deduction for tax purposes.
  3. Not implementing a medical benefits plan for your employees.
    • A common misconception is that you need several staff in order for a medical plan to be feasible. It is possible to implement a medical plan if there is only one employee… that one employee can even be the owner/manager. A health spending plan can be a great solution to pay for those medical expenses with company dollars.

If you are interested in expensing your medical benefits through your corporation or offering your employees an added tax-free perk, talk to a qualified, experienced benefits consultant. Talk to your trusted Chartered Professional Accountant to further ensure these medical benefits are treated properly for tax purposes.

Are you looking for a qualified, experienced Chartered Professional Accountant? Give us a call. We’re happy to help.

I have often heard from entrepreneurs that it is difficult to obtain a mortgage to buy a home. Business owners can be viewed as a higher risk than the typical employee. As a result, obtaining financing at a preferred mortgage rate is challenging.

Here is a list of my favourite mistakes to avoid:

1. Failing to Plan Ahead

There are many factors to consider when you’re buying a house. You’ll need to coordinate your corporate tax plan, your personal income levels to qualify for a mortgage as well as your personal tax situation. Failing to plan can lead to painful tax bills and less than ideal mortgage arrangements.

2. Not Paying Yourself Enough

Let’s be honest. A huge benefit of being incorporated is having the ability to keep your personal income low and defer that personal tax bill. Many entrepreneurs pay themselves only what they need to live on. If you’re planning a significant purchase of a new home, that previous personal income may not be high enough to qualify for a mortgage on the home that you want. Consider what your income needs to be in order to afford that home you’re hoping to purchase.

3. Paying Yourself Too Much

Perhaps you’ve opted to inflate your personal income because you wanted it to be high enough to qualify for a mortgage. You report a giant dividend from your company that resulted in a large deficit in the equity section of your balance sheet. Sadly, your mortgage broker is going to see that you’ve declared income that you actually didn’t have and you aren’t going to get that mortgage.

4. Giant Spikes in Draws from Your Corporation

You’ve paid yourself a minimal salary and all of a sudden, you need to draw substantially more to be able to pay the down payment for your house. You’ve typically paid yourself $60,000 annually but suddenly need $250,000. This giant spike may put you in the most unfavorable personal tax brackets when you were barely utilizing the pleasant brackets in previous years. For tax purposes, you’re far better off smoothing out the personal draws over a number of years. In this example, take $155,000 each year instead of $60,000 then $250,000.

5. Failing to Pay Yourself Consistently

Dividends or a salary doesn’t really make a huge difference in the mortgage realm as long as you’re relatively consistent about your compensation plan.

6. Not Participating in the Home Buyers Plan

If neither you nor your spouse have lived in a home that you’ve owned in the last four years, you may qualify to use your RRSPs under the Homes Buyers Plan (HBP) as part of your down payment. After March 2019, CRA allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 for your down payment. Be sure to check out the CRA website for the latest criteria and rules around this program. Don’t have $35,000 in your RRSP yet? Bump up your wage from your corporation and make a contribution to your RRSPs. Have this money sit in your RRSP account for at least 90 days before you withdraw it under the HBP in order to get the deduction on your personal tax return.

7. Not Filing your Personal Taxes

Your mortgage broker will need a copy of your personal tax return along with your Notice of Assessment. Not having this paperwork readily available can delay approval of your financing and potentially cost you your dream home.

8. Not Paying Your Personal Taxes

Your mortgage broker will require proof that your personal taxes have been paid as part of your mortgage application. If you’ve paid yourself a giant dividend from your corporation in order to get that income high enough to get the mortgage but now can’t afford the personal taxes on the dividend—you’re still not getting your mortgage.

9. Not Hiring a Qualified and Experienced Mortgage broker

Not all lenders are the same. As an entrepreneur, you have unique circumstances that take a specific skill set to fully understand. Example: My client is an owner of a successful trucking operation. He wanted to buy a vacation property and the mortgage representative at his bank was not cooperating. I supplied my client with a list of my top mortgage brokers and he had his financing arranged within the week.

Do you need help creating a corporate plan with homeownership in mind? We’re happy to help!

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year – Tax Time! This is the time of year where you get to enjoy putting together your documents and filing tax returns! Or if you are a client of Richardson Miller LLP, we do the heavy filling for you. For those who contribute to their RRSPs, the deadline is approaching to make a final RRSP contribution to reduce your 2020 taxes.

RRSP contributions vs TFSA contributions

Registered retirement savings plans (RRSP) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSA) are tax-efficient investment vehicles, and depending on your situation each can have their respective benefits.

How does an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) work?

  1. Pre-tax money is contributed (contributions result in tax deduction).
  2. Income and gains accumulate tax-free until the money is withdrawn.
  3. Withdrawals are taxed at your marginal tax rate.
  4. Maximize tax savings with a high marginal tax rate today when you contribute and a lower marginal tax rate when you withdraw the funds in the future.

NOTE – If you make an early RRSP withdrawal: You pay a withholding tax: The withholding tax varies depending on the amount withdrawn and your province of residence. You pay income tax on early withdrawals. Make sure that they are reported on your tax return as income.

RRSP Deadline Tips:

What is the 2020 contribution deadline?

  • March 1, 2021

What is the 2020 contribution limit?

  • 18% of your 2019 earned income (up to a maximum $27,230). You are also able to contribute any unused contribution room from previous years.

How long can you contribute?

  • You have until the end of the calendar year in which you turn 71.

How does a TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Accounts) work?

  1. No deduction for tax purposes – after-tax money is contributed.
  2. All income and gains earned in a TFSA account accumulate tax-free.
  3. There is no taxation on withdrawals.

Does the TFSA have a contribution deadline?

Unlike the RRSPs annual deadline for tax purposes, the TFSA doesn’t have one. You can contribute throughout the year based on the contribution room that you have accumulated over the years.

What is the contribution limit for 2021?

The limit for 2021 is $6,000. You are also able to contribute any unused contribution room from previous years.
Never contributed to your TFSA? As of this year, the total cumulative contribution room is now $75,500 (since the TFSA first began in 2009)!

Your annual tax return doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Richardson Miller LLP is here to help you determine whether an RRSP or TFSA is more beneficial and ensure that your taxes and accounting needs are met. Contact us today!