Tax Deadline

Tax Deadline is not today (for 2015) thanks to a badly phrased set of instructions, the CRA has extended the deadline for 2015 to May 5th, so you have a whole weekend to finish, and thus many less reasons to not do your taxes (i.e. I don’t have the time).

You need help with your taxes you say? Well, here is a veritable treasure trove of useful articles by me to help you out with your tax preparation this year (don’t say I didn’t try to help):

Hour Glass

Just a Little More Time for Your Taxes

You have the whole weekend to finish this, go get Turbotax, H&R Blocks Software, Ufile or whatever program you wish and get it done!

 

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Best Excuses for NOT Doing Taxes on Time

For all of those who have not finished their taxes (in Canada) yet (April 30th deadline looms large), I would like to give you some of the excellent (what is the font for sarcasm) excuses that I have heard over the past years from friends and co-workers. (maybe you should read Myths About Your Taxes before you read this great list, just to make sure you are sure you don’t want to do your taxes):

Bad Dog eats taxes

Really, that is your excuse?
Photo courtesy Forbes

  • I don’t owe money, so I just couldn’t be bothered.
    Question: How do you know that you don’t owe any tax if you haven’t done your return?
  • My taxes are simple, so I am sure I don’t owe any money, so why bother ?
    Question: What if they owe you money? Don’t care? Want to send money to the “Send Big Cajun Man on Vacation fund”, if money means so little to you?
  • If I owe money, the CRA will tell me, soon enough
    Statement: WTF? Yes, and the CRA will also impose their penalties starting May 1st (or earlier) if you owe them money.
  • I might do it wrong, then the CRA will get mad at me
    Comment: The CRA might get mad at you, but my guess is their penalties won’t come into play, if you submitted your forms on time (although they may make you redo it, correctly)
  • I am on a worldwide cruise and can’t submit my taxes until I get back in September
    Comment: CRA’s answer might be, “Maybe you should have thought about this before you went away?”
  • The CRA always extends the deadline, so I don’t have to rush
    Comment: What if they don’t? (see penalties comment previously)
  • The dog ate my tax receipts!
    Comment: Get a new dog?
  • The dog at my computer?
    Comment: Umm…. next?
  • I didn’t submit my taxes last year, and they didn’t bother me, why should I bother this year? (repeat that excuse for 6 years)
    Question: You enjoy loaning money to the Government? You most likely are owed money, but the CRA doesn’t need to tell you that, do they?

Any other great excuses out there about not doing your taxes on time, that I might have missed? I guess with these great excuses you won’t need to Search For a Good Tax Preparer either?

Disclaimer: This article neither condones, nor espouses any of these lame excuses, do your taxes on time!

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How to Find the Right Tax Preparer

As the tax deadline looms on the horizon, I felt folks might need a few helpful hints on how to choose the right tax preparer for you, or maybe more accurately, which tax preparers not to choose (especially if you are in a rush, the wrong decision here could end up being quite costly for you).

Laughing Accountant

An Accountant with a Sense of Humor?
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If your prospective tax preparer has any of the following problems or character flaws, don’t choose them to prepare your taxes:

  • If they say that they are not very good with numbers, but that doesn’t matter much with taxes, run away from them very quickly
  • Should they mention in passing that it was nice of you to drop by, as they just got out of prison for fraud, you might not want to choose them to prepare your taxes, unless they are a relative. In that case invoke the, “I don’t do business with family”, clause.
  • If they ask you, “Now when is the tax filing deadline this year?”, you might want to rethink hiring them, for your tax preparation needs.
  • If the firm is called H&P Block that might be a dead giveaway they are trying to snare unsuspecting clients, assuming they are getting H&R Block.
  • If their motto is, “Only 1/2 our clients get audit’ed, and we were out of town when that happened“, that shouldn’t give you a lot of confidence in their skills.
  • A laughing accountant always worries me too, but that might just be my own experience going to school with future accountants.
  • If Canadian Tire started offering Tax Preparation services while I waited for my oil change, while convenient, I would avoid that service as well.
  • If they offer you an “Instant Cashback“, doesn’t that make you wonder how much more of a tax rebate they may have found for you? If you need your tax rebate that fast, you may have bigger problems than you think (financially).

Just a few helpful hints on who to avoid as your tax preparer for this year.

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Budget 2015 What’s In It For Me ?

When I say, what is in it for me (the Federal Budget for 2015), I mean ME, the BCM, since you should really read it yourself and figure out what is good (and bad) for you.

What are the things that I (the Big Cajun Man) dislike about this budget? I am not fond of the “sleight of hand” accounting that is going on to claim the “balanced budget”, I am not that worried about it being balanced, and having odd pay outs on programs (and cutting programs without necessarily mentioning it), smacks of “Nortel-ian” accounting practices.

Budget Cuts

Budget Cuts

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’d also like to have all taxes abolished, if you were asking, but given that is not likely to happen in my lifetime, I guess I should get on to the things that I do like about this budget:

  • The TFSA limit is officially doubled to $10,000, I like that, even though I am middle class, and can’t use all this savings room just yet. I am concerned that the Liberals are already threatening to roll this back to $5000, never a good idea to take things away from folks in programs.
  • The “Family tax credit” for families like mine, where I can income share with my spouse is now officially in the budget (although I already have it for the last fiscal year). Wonder whether the Liberals or NDP will try to cut that as well, again, never good form taking money out of folks pockets. The UCCB is nice as well.
  • I am kind of baffled/curious about this statement:

    Making the Canada Student Loans Program work for families by reducing the expected parental contribution under the needs assessment process.

    What does this mean? I don’t know but it sure sounds nice.

  • Reducing EI premiums is nice, as it is a tax, no matter how you define it.
  • Another useful idea, that I think I like is:

    Extending Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits from six weeks to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill family members.

  • Seniors now have a less aggressive withdrawal schedule from their RRIFs as well, seeing as I will be thinking about that soon, I like it.
  • Another useful credit for folks with disabled family members, or seniors who need to add things to their house to make it a bit safer for them

    Introducing a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors and persons with disabilities to help with the costs of ensuring their homes remain safe, secure and accessible.

  • Another interesting and somewhat non-commital statement is:

    Launching a National Strategy to support improved financial literacy.

    but I suspect that means they won’t be giving me a subsidy for this site :-)

  • Some good ideas for veterans, but still not enough, for someone who you asked to go into harm’s way.
  • Another point near and dear to my heart, but again, the wording is a bit odd:

    $2.0 million in 2015–16 to support stakeholder consultations on a Canadian Autism Partnership.

    I am not sure whom they will be consulting with.

There are a bunch of other measures, that you should read about, to see how it affects you. You could read the Tweets about it, if you want a really short version of the important stuff.

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Thanks for the $2000 CRA

I have been slowly getting my Tax Returns together (I do them for most of my direct family), and while doing that I wondered if I was going to receive the announced $2000 tax rebate announced last fall, so I went looking to see whether that was the case.

I am talking about Line 423 of your return:

Under proposed changes, for the 2014 and subsequent tax years, you or your spouse or common law partner may be able to claim a non refundable tax credit of up to $2,000, if your child ordinarily lived with you or your spouse or common-law partner throughout the year.

Luckily, we have young Master C8j, and Mrs. C8j works “full part-time” so she does not earn too much, so we end up not eligible for this credit. Given Mrs. C8j stayed home for most of the time when my daughters were growing up, it would have been nice to have this credit back then, but I suppose I can’t complain about it. Naturally Turbotax Canada 2014 had the credit already calculated.

My only query ends up being, why is this being capped at $2000? I keep reading how it only helps the Rich Middle Class in Canada (I’d like to say “WTF?” to that one), or that somehow it discriminates against women working (yes I did read that, I ain’t making it up), anybody care to comment about how it is such a diabolical Harper Government ploy to take over our minds?

Is this enough to buy my vote? No, since (as usual) the program is half-baked (much like the TFSA and other ideas), and I am not a one issue voter.

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