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.
The Trudeau government seemingly called off the CRA from harassing Canada's charities on January 20. Well, not really, in fact. The Trudeau government's timidity so far in fixing this abuse of power by the previous government will probably result in some of Canada's most popular and important charities heading toward decertification and oblivion.
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.
After weeks of waiting, we finally know how the Liberals are starting to roll out their tax-related election promises. The previous government was notorious for introducing last minute, retroactive tax changes that it was hard to predict if the new government would follow suit. And now we have our answers.
Companies operating in Canada in 2014 held over $199 billion in "assets" -- unpaid taxes -- in havens like Barbados and the Cayman Islands. Canada is one of the biggest "losers" of corporate tax revenue. The "winner" countries are the ones with low-to-none corporate income tax, such as Bermuda, as well as the super-rich.
In Canada, our system is unique to the individual, and tax obligations are based on each person's allowable deductions and credits. Knowing what to include is often difficult for filers because, across Canada, confusion about taxes persists. Knowing how influential taxes were in the election, let's make sure we understand what is out there and available.
Last week, Canadian government plans for keeping better track of people coming and going from the U.S. were revealed. The driving purpose for the increased scrutiny will save the government millions of dollars in social benefits on those who shouldn't receive them because they are out of the country.
As expected, the court challenge to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by two Canadians failed to stop the flow of information between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) happening in the last half of September. Lawyers for the Canadians argued that the agreement was an unlawful use of the tax treaty and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom and was unconstitutional but a Federal Court judge disagreed.
Under the FATCA rules, financial institutions are obligated to provide the IRS with information about accounts and holdings of U.S. citizens. Basically, the IRS is trying to make sure you are not hiding money overseas though Canada is hardly a tax haven. But there is more to this overreaching legislation that just tracking down deadbeat U.S. citizens.