As more Canadians are choosing to spend greater time abroad, it has become increasingly common for estates to include foreign-based assets upon death. From an estate law perspective, foreign-based assets can give rise to estate administration issues that are best addressed as part of an estate plan created in consultation with professional advisors.
Is it collusion, corruption or just plain incompetence? That answer will likely play out over time if there is a public demand for accountability. In the meantime, Canadians need a plan to make sure that our leaders understand what we have known for a while -- the tax system is neither fair nor doing an adequate job.
In the wake of the Panama Papers investigation, federal anti-money laundering agency Fintrac slapped an unnamed Canadian bank with a $1.1-million penalty for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various money transfers. Fintrac hopes the move sends a "strong message" to individuals attempting to short the country's coffers. How's that, exactly?
The first major financial deadline of 2016 is February 29. This is the last day you can make a contribution to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and claim the contribution on your 2015 tax return. You still have the first 60 days to make contributions but with the leap year, the deadline is midnight at the end of the month.
It's February, folks, and you know what that means. Taxes... Yeah, yeah, Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, 2016 leap year and all that. But it's also the time of year when people wake up to the fact that, oh crap, tax deadlines are looming, and that they better get their act together to reduce their tax bill -- not to mention their stress level.
It may be tempting to pay for certain things in cash because we think that saving a few dollars here and there can't hurt; however, we fail to see the larger impact of what happens when we do. The underground economy makes it challenging to protect the country's revenue base and hinders the government's ability to keep taxes low. When people pay in cash, they skip out on paying the taxes that support things like healthcare, education and public transportation -- the very social services we rely on every day.
There is little argument that Canadians deserve a fair tax system. It is unacceptable that there be even the slightest perception that corporations and wealthy individuals can avoid tax investigations by hiring a lobbyist or high-priced tax lawyer. The minister should be demanding answers -- on behalf of all Canadians -- from her senior managers.