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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. 

In April the federal government proposed legislation to legalize marijuana. Each jurisdiction would adopt regulation to license the cultivation, distribution and sale of marijuana.  The unlawful possession of small amounts of marijuana will be reduced from a crime to a misdemeanor but there will be stiffer penalties for driving while impaired.

Claiming charitable donations can be a tricky business and this year, well-heeled donors will be faced with additional tax complexity when they file their 2016 tax returns, due to a new tax bracket and rate for high-income earners.

The federal non-refundable tax credit for charitable donations, in fact, is now a three-tiered credit, with a sweetener added to the mix for first-time donors until 2017. Here’s how it all works:

This credit is for the cost of renovations to a home if someone in your family is at least 65 years of age or eligible for the disability credit. The expenses must allow the disabled individual to improve their safety or mobility in the home. The maximum credit is 15% of $10,000 or $1,500. As well, where more than one taxpayer qualifies for this credit, it can be split between taxpayers as long as the total cost of the renovations claimed does not go over the maximum $10,000 allowed.

Access to the Canada Learning Bond, will be improved, allowing low-income families to get a head start on saving for postsecondary education. Families are able to get an early start in saving for postsecondary education, the benefits are education is more affordable, and reduces student debt loads upon graduation.

The Disability Tax Credit – a non-refundable credit of $8001 for the tax year 2016.  This credit can be claimed by someone markedly restricted in daily living activities – or their care giver.  Individuals with progressive diseases, like Alzheimer’s or cancer may qualify after diagnosis. Survivors can still make the claim for deceased loved ones. A supplemental credit is available for disabled minor children in the amount of $4667, for a total credit of $12,668.