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To start there is a great deal of talk about modernizing NAFTA, improving the agreement to add provisions on trade in services, digital commerce, intellectual property and even reference to establishing “strong and enforceable environmental obligations” and other things that, subject to careful reading, could be acceptable as a basis for negotiations.

Since the start of May, the dollar has gained nearly 10 per cent through June and July, topping the 80 cent US market on July 24 - buoyed by a series of strong data points about the Canadian economy, including  a strong job market, rising retail sales and increases in manufacturing output.

Bill Morneau – Finance Minister is to unveil a package of proposed reforms - part of an commitment to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion.

“There are signs that our system isn’t working as well as it should, specifically when it comes to private corporations,” writes Morneau. “There is evidence that some may be using corporate structures to avoid paying their fair share, rather than to invest in their business and maintain their competitive advantage.”

The following tax measures were included in this Act Canada Caregiver Credit replaces the Caregiver Amount, Family Caregiver Amount, and the Amount for Infirm Dependants over age 18.  Many taxpayers caring for infirm dependents will see little change, although there will be some differences such as:

Under the program as it stands, taxpayers may come forward voluntarily to tell CRA about omissions or mistakes made in reporting income tax, excise tax and duties, source deductions, GST/HST.  CRA is using some of its close to $1 billion in new funding to crack down on tax cheats and limit the breadth of the VDP.

The government is inviting input from Canadians on proposed new rules up to July 17, 2017, you can submit your thoughts.

The government will be putting steps in place to avoid the possibility of failure or bailouts required to prop up the major banks. Consistent with international standards, Canada has begun implementing measures to safeguard the stability of the financial system and to protect taxpayers.

Debt is the number-one financial issue in Canada today, and it could get more urgent for mortgage holders and business owners who have significant debt.  The concern is that even the slightest increase could hurt those who have depended on low-interest credit.  SMEs represent 97% of the businesses in Canada, contribute 30% of their native province’s GDP and provide 70% of private employment.  This could mean a loss of jobs, a decline in productivity and increased prices for consumers. It also could result in unmanageable debt causing some SMEs to fail completely.

Midnight June 15 is the tax filing deadline for unincorporated business owners and their spouses, and the official end of tax season. Failing to file and pay the taxes due by June 15 results late filing penalties and interest. File by midnight June 15 and avoid the 5% late filing penalty plus 1% per month on the outstanding balance for up to 12 months. If you are delinquent on paying for the second time within three years, that penalty goes up to 10% of the outstanding amount plus 2% per month for up to 20 months.

The government is taking a much strong stance on these issues by enhancing verification activities and hiring specialists focused on detecting these activities. Individuals found guilty of evading tax has to repay the taxes owed and additionally pay interest and penalties. They could face jail up to 5 years and fines that equal 200% of the tax avoided. CRA has a Voluntary Disclosure Program that allows people to amend prior returns – this could allow people to avoid the above mentioned punishments. See your tax advisor or find one for help navigating through this.

Employees have a duty to always be honest with their employer.  This is not limited to simply situations of theft one time or ongoing.  Misleading your employer with respect to missing work in particular claiming to be ill after not being allowed to have requested time off.  This type of action can lead to serious discipline actions including termination of employment.