While these digital natives bank and manage credit cards online and through mobile apps, only one third plan to file taxes themselves using tax software. Given that taxes are like the DNA of personal finances, it's only natural that doing it themselves is the next step in managing all aspects of their pocketbook. Here are three tax tips to help Millennials take full control come tax time.
As Albertans approach another provincial budget, the usual fables about Alberta's finances often crop up. To inoculate ourselves in advance, let's ponder two myths. Myth number one: "Alberta's wealth is a result of luck." This tall tale assumes that the existence of natural resources automatically results in wealth creation, jobs, and a higher standard of living. That's hardly the case. Plenty of jurisdictions have little in the way of natural resources but prosper, while others have plentiful natural resources yet flounder. Let's investigate myth number two: "Alberta is undertaxed."
Have you noticed that every holiday season, the pressure builds as everyone rushes around buying too much stuff before the Big Day? Then our festive bubble bursts just after New Year's when they announce how much new debt everyone has incurred. And then just as suddenly, the talk turns to RSPs and taxes. The collective anxiety is enough to give everyone a massive ulcer.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
Recent headlines say that some Canadian executives earn in a few days or weeks what the rest of us might earn in a year or longer. In assessing those stories, it is critical to remember one fact: risk-taking and entrepreneurs are not a burden but a key part of a civilized, opportunity-based, and prosperous country.
According to our monthly Business Barometer survey, B.C. small business confidence grew substantially this year. In February, B.C. ranked in sixth place among Canada's 10 provinces -- but by the end of November, we were sitting solidly in second place. With the New Year almost upon us, it is worthwhile to take a moment to reflect upon 2013's high and low points for small business.
New Year's Eve. Champagne toasts and countdowns. Kisses at midnight and Auld Lang Syne. It's a time to look forward to the year ahead, and reflect on the one just past. Especially your taxes. Sorry to rip you out of the reverie, but taxes never sleep. And on December 31, Canada's tax laws set in stone a number of factors that influence your personal tax return.
I don't like when tax dollars are wasted -- whether at the provincial level by relocating gas plants, or at City Hall by tearing up LRT contracts willy-nilly, or even by the federal government straight up losing $3.1 billion (whatever happened to that scandal, by the way?). And I get that times are tough. Saving pennies matters to a lot of people these days, and it should to our governments, too.
Top income earners with taxable income of over $135,000 are taxed at 29 per cent -- about average for an industrialized country. But because they have a lot more tax loopholes they can take advantage of, the average income tax rate paid by the richest 1 per cent was only 19.7 per cent. How is that fair?
We may be looking at something of a Dickensian, bah-humbug holiday season, according to a recent H&R Block survey of Canadian workers. The survey conducted by Leger showed only 44 per cent of Canadians are expecting an employer-hosted holiday party. But if, in fact, the season does put a scrap of gold or silver in your pocket, there's a chance it may come with tax implications, and many Canadians don't realize that.
In the real world, much of the money the rich and corporations gained from tax cuts is being socked away, often in tax havens. The amount of Canadian money in tax havens is at an all-time high. One of the main reasons corporations are not investing is that demand for products and services is weak because of stagnant incomes of middle and lower income Canadians.
We recently asked Leger to survey Canadians about cheating on taxes, and the results were a little surprising. Turns out that we don't seem to think tax cheats are all that bad. And if you are thinking about cheating on your taxes, the CRA does have several checks in place to make sure you are filing correctly.
In the recent throne speech, the federal government announced a variety of initiatives but the one that drew much attention was its ostensible consumer-friendly tack. To help consumers, especially those with the lowest incomes, the federal government doesn't need to micro-manage airline tickets. It could instead focus on the big picture.
Healthcare in Canada is anything but free. The average Canadian family of two parents with two children (similar to Walt's family in the drama) pays approximately $11,320 in taxes for hospital and physician care through the country's tax system, in addition to the cost of private insurance for things like dental care and outpatient prescription drugs.
Giving TransLink more tax dollars is like giving a pyromaniac a fresh box of matches. Both will eventually run out and keep coming back for more -- unless they change their ways. TransLink's executive vice-president Bob Paddon, he of the $307,857 annual pay, claims his operation is an "efficient and well-run organization." The facts prove otherwise. TransLink is a rat's nest of redundancy and waste.
Cameco is a multi-billion Canadian company that mines Canadian uranium, uses Canadian-developed technology, and relies on Canadian transportation system. Cameco employees use the Canadian education system, the Canadian health system, and they rely on the stability and legal protection that a Canadian democracy provides. So why does Cameco only pay taxes in Switzerland?
Don't hold your breath hoping mayors and councillors will come home from this month's Union of B.C. Municipalities conference with a stack of cost-saving ideas and strategies. In 2011, cities in B.C. combined to bring in $7.87 billion in revenue. Regional districts added another $1.6 billion. Throw in TransLink and its $1.3 billion and you have a combined annual budget of $10.77 billion to run everything from Abbotsford to Zeballos. To put that into perspective, if local government were a provincial government ministry, it would be bigger than anything except health, and more than double the size of education.