Canada and its global partners can't keep relying on whistleblowers, snitch lines and investigative journalists to assure the integrity of our tax system. So far, there is little evidence to show that the government has the political will to end this. It is estimated that Canada loses at least $7.8 billion each year from tax haven schemes. The practice hurts both federal and provincial economies. It also undermines public confidence in our tax system. The world of tax havens is a murky one inhabited by the very wily and the cynical.
While the extension is good news for anybody who might have left their tax filing to the last minute, it demonstrates that mistakes can happen fairly easily. If the almighty taxman can miss updating a date on a memo then it's completely fathomable that we might make a few errors when it comes to our taxes. But tax mistakes can be costly.
People don't like paying their taxes in part because the connection between what we pay and the goods and services we receive has been broken. Add to that a massive shift toward a consumer society in which people derive a lot of social standing from what they consume and it's an uphill battle for taxes.
Contrary to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, introducing a national sales tax, or value-added tax (VAT) creates a real opportunity for the United States. The nation could shift from its heavy reliance on income taxes (both absolute and comparative) to a consumption tax without affecting the budget deficit.
The big spending on the income splitting tax break, combined with the impact of lower oil prices has already left only a razor-thin balance and the Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts the budget will slip back into deficit in the next few years. Since it is no secret that this budget sets the stage for the upcoming federal election it is time for us to take a long hard look at the people we elect. We should not allow ourselves to be tricked by tax cut treats but think about who offers a plan for the future. Legacies take guts.
The Liberal finance minister assumed that taxes were useful but indeed a loss -- not to government, but to the citizens who pay the tax. Taxes are necessary, but we must be judicious about the money sent to politicians and civil servants. That includes understanding the money first belongs to Canadians.
The Vancouver Mayor's Council on Regional Transportation has an ambitious 30-year vision (starting with a 10-year plan) that would dramatically expand mass transit in Vancouver. Yet recent developments in personal transportation raise questions about long-term plans to build fixed point-to-point transit systems.
You have a social insurance number, a job, and even a T4, but you have never filed your taxes. Everyone has been in the exact same position -- you have to start somewhere. Sure, it can be intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. Why? Because it has never been easier to file. Need a little guidance? Here are three tips to make your first time filing a breeze.
I'm here to make the case for doing your taxes, whatever you earn. Every year, many Canadians living on low incomes choose not to file, stating little return -- no pun intended -- on the effort. Are you one of them? You may not realize that whatever bracket you fall in, filing has benefits tailored specifically to your situation. Below, you will find three reasons why filing is essential for those with low incomes.
The Harper Conservatives have done a lot of damage to Canada. It has been the proverbial death by a thousand cuts: health transfers, aboriginal education and health, child care, social and co-op housing. The list goes on. It has increased stress on ordinary Canadians and created a huge social, economic and environmental deficit. And it has increased unemployment and harmed economic growth. The big question will be: Can damage be undone without raising taxes on 90 per cent of middle and lower income Canadians? The answer is yes.
Single parents with custody receive some substantial tax savings and the Canada Revenue Agency will sometimes ask for proof of custody. Even though your children obviously live with you, you need to prove it to the CRA if they ask. They may want a third-party confirmation so be prepared if they come asking.
Taxes are indeed needed to fund important government services, critical both to a well-functioning economy and more generally, civilization. But there is a point when a larger, more interventionist government, combined with a heavier tax burden, can stunt economic growth and social outcomes, or achieve those outcomes only at great additional cost.
Tax compliance is a two way street. We trust that our friends, neighbours and business partners are honest and committed to paying their fair share. Instead, in the spirit of "penny-wise, pound-foolish," the government has cut the CRA more than any other department. The result is that the CRA now lacks the highly trained staff to handle complex cases. Wealthy Canadians know their chances of getting caught are small.
Another option for affluent families like Hugo and Milena is to consider setting up a family trust. It works best when families have a significant amount to settle into the trust or loan the trust. This may be considered for amounts over $1 million due to the costs to set up the trust and its ongoing administration.