TaxTips Jan 2019: BC speculation/vacancy tax; ON LIFT credit; Historical investment returns; Trs to RRSP; Interest expense; BC Pharmacare changes; Foreign income/expenses; GST/HST & invoicing; Calculators.
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Important Dates

RRSP Contribution Deadline for 2018 is Friday, March 1, 2019.

NetFile will reopen February 18, 2019 for filing 2014 to 2018 personal tax returns. EFile will likely be available at the same time - not confirmed.

Canadian Financial & Income Tax Calculators

We have lots of calculators - re income tax, borrowing, investing, RRIF withdrawals, US estate tax for Canadians, CPP retirement pension calculator and more.

Use our Detailed Canadian Income Tax Calculator to help decide how much you should contribute to an RRSP - it will show you the tax savings from your RRSP deduction.  Use it for your 2019 tax planning as well.

Investment Return Calculator

Use our investment return calculator to determine your returns for 2018 or any time period for a particular investment or investment account, or your entire portfolio.

RRSP/RRIF Withdrawal Calculator

Use our RRSP/RRIF calculator to calculate your 2019 minimum annual withdrawal, and to estimate your earnings and withdrawals from your RRIF for the next 40 years.  If you haven't converted to a RRIF yet, or if you only have non-registered investments, this calculator is still useful for you!

BC Property Taxes / Pharmacare

BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Make sure you file a declaration if you're in one of the designated areas, otherwise you'll be billed for this tax even if you shouldn't be paying it.  If you don't receive a notice but are in a designated area, call the BC government! This tax applies to vacant residential land as well as land with a residence on it.  The City of Vancouver Empty Homes Tax is another separate tax.

BC Property Taxes

Besides annual property tax on the assessed value of properties, there is property purchase tax when a property changes hands, as well as a foreign buyers' tax, which is an additional property purchase tax.  There is now an additional school tax for high-value residential properties, as part of the annual property tax bill.

2019 BC Pharmacare Coverage Changes

Changes effective January 1, eliminate family deductibles for family net income of $30,000 or less, reduce deductibles for net income of $41,667 or less, and eliminate or reduce family maximums for net income of $45,000 or less.  Note that you MUST REGISTER for Pharmacare benefits.

Personal Tax

Life in the Tax Lane February 2019

This month's video includes: Principal residence exemption - large lots; 2019 tax-free automobile allowances; Incentive payments for travel to pick-up site; Construction industry T5018 form penalties; Canada Child Benefit and shared custody; CPA Canada - Tax system review needed.

Ontario Low-income Individual and Families (LIFT) Credit

The non-refundable LIFT credit will be in effect for 2019 and subsequent years, and will provide a provincial income tax reduction of up to $850 for an individual and $1,700 for a couple.  There is no LIFT credit if the individual has no employment (T4) income.  This credit is included in the Detailed Canadian Tax Calculator.

Reporting Foreign Income and Expenses on the Tax Return

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 2018 is 1.2957.

Writing Off Interest Expense Related to Investments

If you incur interest expense related to investments, make sure you keep a clear record of it.  Interest expense is claimed on line 221 of the personal income tax return.

Filing Your Return - Income, Deductions, Tax Credits

We have many 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.  Make sure you take advantage of available tax credits!

Financial Planning / Registered Plans / Investing

Historical Returns on Investments - Stocks, Bonds, T-Bills

It was a bad year for the S&P/TSX and for the S&P 500.  However, the S&P 500 return in Canadian dollars was better than in US dollars because the Canadian dollar decreased 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 5+ years one would be losing money after inflation by investing in Canadian 3-month T-bills or Canadian government 1-3 year bonds.

Transfer Shares to a Registered Account, But Not at a Loss!

You can transfer shares from a non-registered account to a registered account such as an RRSP.  However, 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.

Employees / Employers / Business

GST/HST Invoicing Requirements

It's amazing how some large companies who are GST/HST registrants do not provide proper invoices.  Proper invoicing is required so that the customers of the business can properly claim their input tax credits. GST/HST must be shown separately on an invoice. Federal and provincial HST parts are not shown separately. Provincial retail sales tax (PST, RST, etc) is shown separately from the GST.  The seller's business number must be shown if the total sale is $30 or more.

Repeating these with only the links, in case you missed them last month:
T4 Slips - Requirements and Timing

Tax-Free Motor Vehicle Allowances 2019

Automobile Operating Cost Benefit 2019

Automobile Sales People Operating Cost Benefit 2019

Passenger Vehicle Expense Limitations 2019

Legislation / Budgets

2019 Provincial Budgets

So far we know of 2 dates for provincial budgets - BC on February 19th and Manitoba on March 7th.  There are also a few pre-budget consultations still underway.

If you need tax or financial help, check our Directory for links to Accounting, Bookkeeping and Financial Planning organizations in Canada.  Canadian income tax is getting more complicated every year, and getting your tax return prepared or reviewed by a professional may save you money!

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