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From the Canadian Federal election to the collapse of oil prices to a jump in food prices, 2015 was a year of changes. And your tax return is no exception. But unlike previous years, there are only a few changes. However, even small changes can help you save a few tax dollars.
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Even after mastering the basics of tax preparation and filing, a lot of filers will often find out new things about their tax returns that end up delivering a few more benefits along the way. I call these tax "aha!" moments.
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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.
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has rules for tax preparers and which ones can contact them on behalf of a client. It means if you want your tax preparer to handle anything with the IRS on your behalf, they need to have specific qualifications.
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Did you recently marry or have a child? Did you go through a divorce or the death of a spouse? Family status changes like these directly affect your tax return. Start now and make sure you understand how you will be affected and what credits or deductions may now be accessible to you.
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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.
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Businesses have disrupted their respective industries by embracing the sharing platform, which creates new opportunities for those willing to get involved. Each day, there are new apps or programs popping up in cities across the country that make the sharing economy that much easier to operate in.
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.
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The time-consuming audit program prompted critics to accuse the government of launching a politically motivated witch hunt.
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If you are a U.S. citizen living in Canada or you are a Canadian with U.S. tax filing obligations, make sure you understand how your TFSA and RESP will be impacted. You may want to look at different investments to help minimize your U.S. tax reporting requirements.
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.
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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.
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First, what does each acronym mean? An RRSP is a Registered Retirement Saving Plan, and a TFSA is a Tax-Free Savings Account. Both are provided by the Canadian government as incentives for Canadians to save, primarily for retirement.
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.