Bill C-462 : Protecting Disabled Canadians or a Paper Tiger ?

For those of  you unaware Bill C-462 the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act ,was passed into law and received Royal Assent (2014-05-29) . 

Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restriction Act

Limits are needed for DTC Consultation Firms (link to CBC article on the act)

This Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act  summary

This enactment restricts the amount of fees that can be charged or accepted by persons who, on behalf of a person with a disability, request a determination of disability tax credit eligibility under the Income Tax Act. It establishes a prohibition against charging or accepting more than an established maximum fee and establishes offences and penalties for failure to comply.

The Act was introduced by the Tories when they were in power, was passed, but seems to have disappeared, or simply is not being implemented. If you read the bill it looks like it would be easy to implement however in the summary you read:

“…an established maximum fee and establishes offences and penalties for failure to comply…”

The problem with the Act is that the maximum fee and the penalties for charging over that maximum have never been defined, nor has the act “come into force”, so I guess the act is dead, which is unfortunate. Seeing a maximum charge and penalties for those that try to gouge folks who are trying to get their Disability Tax Credit is needed.

While I have always said you should Do It Yourself, I realize some folks will need help, but not having any way to ensure the customers don’t get gouged, is very important.

Who Should You Contact About This?

If you want to voice your concerns about the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act, contact the sponsor of the bill  , she would like to hear from you as well. I have been in conversation with her, but nothing much seems to be happening with this, and this act is needed to protect folks.

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Alternate Financial Facts, 1984 and #Moneytalk

alternate financial facts

Amazon Link for 1984

This week we were introduced to a new term that I am pretty sure is going to stick around for a while. Arguing a point a Trump advisor used the expression that they had Alternate Facts and from that statement it all exploded. Alternate Facts, now seems to imply falsehoods, so let us bring up some Alternate Financial Facts into the argument:

  1. Would alternate savings really just be debt ?
  2. Alternate credit rehabilitation simply be bankruptcy or getting farther into debt?
  3. With alternate financial facts negative equity would be a very good thing

What would the Ministry of Truth think of that? Speaking of 1984 by George Orwell, surprisingly it is now a best seller. The book is a must read, as is Animal Farm , just to understand how totalitarian worlds evolve from democracy (or how a good idea can be perverted easily). I prefer Animal Farm to 1984, but both are books you must read.

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My Writings for Week Ending January 27th

I guess my alternate fact analytics are showing that millions of readers came over to check out my only writing of the week, Energy Up 4.0 % for 2016 , where we learned that in Ontario electricity costs were up over 11% (year over year), and we all keep asking why?. The Ministry of Truth does need to look into that one.

A Money Thought

What does the Dow at 20,000 mean? I have no bloody idea, and luckily neither do other folks.

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Energy Up 4.0 % for 2016

Stats Canada on Friday published their year-end Consumer Priced Index. These numbers show us what kind of year 2016 was. The most interesting index increase is Canadians paid 4.0% more for Energy in 2016, and Ontarians had a ludicrous price jump for the price of electricity.

Overall the CPI (or inflation) year over year growth ending in December is 1.5%, which is still below the Bank of Canada’s barometer range (starting at 2.0%). This does not mean the B of C won’t raise interest rates, just that inflation won’t be the reason sited.

The Energy index includes Gasoline, Electricity and other essentials,  and as mentioned. For Ontarians Energy was particularly noticeable as Electricity is up 11.2% year over year ending in December. Yes, that is a double digit increase, so Inflation in Ontario year over year is actually 2.0%.

Prices by Category

By Category we can see the monthly changes in this graphic:

energy up

Transportation is big , note Energy is not mentioned here

Special Aggregate Table

This does show Energy, and you can see how Energy and Gasoline prices are up big year over year.

Relative importance December
2015
December
2016
December 2015 to December 2016
% (2002=100) (2002=100) % change
Special aggregates
All-items excluding energy 92.21 125.0 126.6 1.3
Energy 7.79 143.4 149.1 4.0
Gasoline 3.84 142.7 150.6 5.5
All-items excluding food and energy 75.80 121.3 123.5 1.8
Goods 46.68 116.3 117.4 0.9
Services 53.32 136.8 139.5 2.0

Detailed Highlights

From the CPI detailed report we can get a nice set of highlights about what cost more year over year.

 

Main contributors to the 12-month change in the CPI:

Main upward contributors:

  1. Gasoline (+5.5%)
  2. Homeowners’ replacement cost (+4.3%)
  3. Purchase of passenger vehicles (+2.6%)
  4. Food purchased from restaurants (+2.3%)
  5. Electricity (+3.6%)

Main downward contributors:

  1. Food purchased from stores (-2.8%)
  2. Children’s clothing (-4.5%)
  3. Video equipment (-5.8%)
  4. Travel tours (-1.6%)
  5. Mortgage interest cost (-0.3%)

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Fintech is it the Answer ?

What was the Question ?

If Fintech is the answer, are we sure we know what is the question? Fintech started off being about changes to the banking and investing back ends, but not any more. Fintech is now being used to describe new On-line banking and Investing systems, as well as, automated investing systems.  For arguments sake, let us view Fintech, as any new technology in the Banking and Investing world.

Fintech

Fintech, Welcome to the Machine

Savings Passed On ?

With these new technology changes, the main thing will be, will savings realized by financial firms passed on? Some of the savings for financial firms are:

  1. Less employee overhead, which should mean significant savings. If there is less need for tellers, investment advisors, insurance advisors, etc., that will save these firms big money. Less salaries, less benefits to pay, no pensions, these savings could be the biggest Fintech improvement, but will I see savings?.
  2. Less Mortar & Brick locations, this is a follow on to all the on-line services. If Fintech means more services on-line, it could mean less need for as many “regional offices” and the like.
  3. Easier and cheaper transfers between banks and investing firms. These “costs” are hokum any how, but now even harder for the big banks to hide. All of this is comms between computers, no humans involved. Why does it cost $3 to make an Interac Transfer?
  4. Lower Fees for services like costs per trade and such. With on-line trading and banks this was a big promise, that has never really come to fruition (yet).
  5. Faster and better portfolio decisions sound like something that should happen, but that depends on how it is implemented, and faster is a relative statement (same day transactions can be faster than 2 or 3 days lead time, but are worse that within 5 minute trades).
  6. Consolidation of firms might happen in the U.S., but less likely in Canada. Canadians continue are at the mercy of the Big Banks, but maybe Fintech will cause small on-line banks to break through? We can only hope on that one.

Fintech For Everyone ?

Will I be able to take advantage of these great new technologies, or will this simply end up being something that benefits big investors and financial firms? I suspect there will be some advertised Fintech features offered, but my assumption is this will end up being a big money, people and time saver for the big financial firms, but not so much for John Q. Public.

Can I Create a Fintech Edge ?

Can I, as a relatively tech savvy investor, find my own Fintech edge? Not likely is my opinion. That would mean large financial firms would open up their systems to me and other programmers. This will not happen, security concerns would be the biggest issue.

All I can think of is Pink Floyd’s lyrics from Wish You Were Here,

“Welcome my son, welcome to the machine”

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Bungled Mortgages, Friday the 13th and #Moneytalk

It seems some money lenders are not happy with the new Mortgage rules, so they are attempting to bamboozle the system by marketing something called a Bundled Loan (or as I call it bungled mortgages ). The CBC’s explanation of this new poly-morphed debt vehicle is:

bungled mortgages

Mortgage Definition
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Canada’s subprime mortgage providers are increasingly teaming up with unregulated rivals to sidestep rules designed to clamp down on risky lending. … The result of these partnerships are so-called bundled loans, which pair a primary mortgage with a second loan from unregulated groups called Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs).

This sounds suspiciously like the old 1st mortgage, 2nd mortgage, and maybe a 3rd mortgage trickery of days gone by, except the 2nd and 3rd ones are with, interesting loan folk. The CBC also points out that while this isn’t really against the law, the folks who offer the main mortgage are supposed to take into consideration other debt vehicles used by the borrowers, wonder if they look at the other parts of the Loan Bundle? Still sounds like bungled mortgages to me.

It is Friday the 13th today. Is it a bad day to invest? I don’t know call me in a year and I will tell you. Should you sell on Friday the 13th? Depends on what you are selling, and whether what you sell goes up in value after you sell it. I never get tired of giving these kind of testicle busting comments. Did you realize that Friday the 13th, always occurs after a Thursday the 12th ?

 

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My Writings for Week Ending January 13th

Last week the year end employment numbers were published by our friends at Stats Canada, and it showed that 2016 Was the Year of the Part-time job, since that is where most of the job growth in Canada took place. It is good there are more jobs, but it is disturbing to see that many folks careers now consist of a few part-time jobs, quilted together to create enough income to live on. Let us hope they are not also looking for bungled mortgages.

A Money Thought

Well, it costs you money, because in Ottawa it is Pothole season!

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